Cut stress and live a healthier life – at no extra cost

Posted on April 25, 2012

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For most adults, stress is a daily part of life, and it can often feel like days and weeks pass by without truly ever living them. Especially in our culture, this way of living might feel productive for some, but now research shows that rushing through life can actually take away from achieving good health.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is studying an interesting connection between stress, mindfulness and the brain: “Mindfulness practices may reduce anxiety and hostility among urban youth and lead to reduced stress, fewer fights and better relationships,” says News In Health, the Institution’s newsletter.

So, being mindful could possibly help young people live better lives—but it’s not as easy as just slowing down. Mindfulness involves thoughtful attention, which can be hard when a person is used to living the way they normally do.

But, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness doesn’t mean being lazy, it means looking at the way you normally live your life, and asking if there is a more peaceful way to get it done. “As people start to learn how to be more mindful, it’s common and normal to realize how much your mind races and focuses on the past and future,” says the article. 

For example, when we eat the way we normally do, we might assume we’re being healthy. Pausing to ask if we could do it in a better way can help improve our habits, and our health. “With mindful eating, you eat when you’re hungry, focus on each bite, enjoy your food more and stop when you’re full,” says Dr. Margaret Chesney, one of the study’s authors.

For ways that you and your family can practice mindfulness each day, and be on your way to a healthier, calmer life, try taking walks around a green space near you, breathing deeply while you’re at work or in a stressful situation or trying a meditation or yoga class in Boston. Meditation and community classes can sometimes be free, or cheaper than $5.

The Mayor’s Health Line blog is your resource for mental, physical and environmental health. Read How to Fight Heart Disease and Food is meant to be enjoyed, and don’t hesitate to call with question: 617-534-5050.

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