December 7, 2022
Over the last few weeks we introduced the topic of stress management and what stress does on our bodies, and how it impacts our pain. We discussed journaling to note what and how you are feeling and utilizing gratitude to balance and focus on positivity, and the power of breathing to help with stress management and pain.
This week we will be discussing how mindfulness practice can be helpful in stress management. Mindfulness Practice is paying attention, in the present moment, without judgement.
Mindfulness practice can be still or moving, alone or grouped, formal or informal, last for a few minutes or last days. The key is to elicit a relaxation response – state of deep rest that change the short and long-term physical and emotional response to stress. This results in decreased heart rate, decrease in blood pressure, decrease in rate of breathing, and decrease in muscle tension. It has been proven helpful in treating low back pain, has positive effects on metabolic syndrome (particularly blood pressure, insulin resistance and heart rate variability), improves immune function and can be key in combatting work-related exhaustion.
Excellent ways to elicit relaxation: meditation, mindfulness, tai chi, yoga, physical activity, prayer, socializing, music, art, group visits, team sports, reading, etc.
The American Academy of Family Physicians report that two-thirds of appointments are for stress-related causes or symptoms. Stress reduction techniques (especially amongst the elderly) are proven to boost immune function and performance. The mind-body connection is a real thing – they are not separate – one directly impacts the other. Self-care, improved health and overall improved wellbeing are benefits of mindfulness practice.