Stress, Mindfulness, and the Power of Breath

“Stress” has become one of the big bubble words American society has contributed to the field of psychology. These days it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have at least one stressful thing happening in their life. NPR recently published a report outlining the nature of how stress has been manifesting in American’s lives. While one’s reactions to stressful events can certainly be a choice, sometimes life gets so heavy and complicated so quickly that it can feel like we’re in way over our heads before we even know what’s happening, which then has a tendency to induce even more stress. As many of you likely know by now, mindfulness and meditation have become the most popular and widely used methods of treatment for relieving stress. Rather than give some long explanation of why that is I thought I’d let Dr. Romila Mushtaq, a traditionally trained neurologist, expert in the field of mind-body medicine, and certified yoga and meditation teacher, do just that in her most recent Ted Talk.



This is not to suggest that yoga and mindfulness mediation are the only means of dealing with stress, but for many it has been a saving grace. I have had clients, friends, and colleagues report, for example, that they need some sort of motor activity (i.e. riding a bicycle, dancing, playing an instrument, etc.) to help them get into some sort of inner rhythm so that they are able to get into some sort of mindful state of being. At the very least, by getting us to simply focus on our breath mindfulness meditation practices have the ability to bring us back to simply being with ourselves when we’re needing it the most. Here is another article with some tips on how to meditate effectively for those new to the practice.

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