Robert’s Newsletter for September 1, 2019
Occasionally I put together a list of the things that caught my attention as I surf the web trying to make sense of the world we live in. I send it out to those who might be interested.
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Stress and stressful events are part of everyone’s life. Learning to cope well with them is therefore a good skill and strategy.
Western Washington University researchers conducted a study to learn if even short-term mindfulness meditation could help deal with stress.
Researchers concluded that indeed mindfulness meditation increases the ability to monitor and modify coping strategies during times of stress, even after only one week of meditation. And that those that meditated more performed better.
Various studies how shown that mindfulness meditation is linked to better coping flexibility. This is the first study showing that as little as one-week of mindfulness intervention can improve coping and reduce perceived stress.
Results further suggested that the gains in coping flexibility that were evident at post-test were not only maintained but increased in the two weeks after the intervention.
Previous research has shown that people who can shift and adapt their responses to stress are more optimistic, and have less depression and anxiety. This latest study shows that meditation may help build long-lasting flexible coping skills that enable us to problem solve effectively in the face of stressful events.
Learn more about this latest study.
It’s important to recognize that balance and self-care are important. There’s nothing fancy about minimizing the effects of stress: daily physical activity, rest and sleep, real social connection with people you care about all go a long way to living a healthy life.
Jenny Rough, Washington Post writes:
Burnout is caused by chronic stress, not stressors, the Nagoskis say in their book. It’s important to differentiate the two. Stressors are external: to-do lists, financial problems or anxiety about the future. Stress, on the other hand, “is the neurological and physiological shift that happens in your body when you encounter [stressors],” the Nagoskis write.
To fix burnout, people need to address the stress itself. They must allow their body to complete its stress response cycle. Instead, people tend to focus on stressors. “They assume their stress will go away if they’re on top of things, if they’re accomplishing things and constantly checking things off their to-do list,” Emily Nagoski says.
There are various ways that physical activity helps mental wellbeing, including:
Improved mood – Studies show that physical activity has a positive impact on our mood. One study asked people to rate their mood after period of exercise (i.e. walking or gardening) and after inactivity (i.e. reading a book). Researchers found that people felt more awake, calmer and more content after physical activity. For more information and a link to the study, go to the Mental Health Foundation website.
Reduced stress – Being regularly active is shown to have a beneficial impact on alleviating stress. It can help manage stressful lifestyles and can help us make better decisions when under pressure. Research on working adults shows that active people tend to have lower stress rates compared to those who are less active.
Better self-esteem – Physical activity has a big impact of our self-esteem – that’s how we feel about ourselves and our perceived self-worth. This is a key indicator of mental wellbeing. Those with improved self-esteem can cope better with stress and improves relationships with others.
Depression and anxiety – Exercise has been described as a “wonder drug” in preventing and managing mental health. Many GPs now prescribe physical activity for depression, either on its own or in conjunction with other treatments. It is effective at both preventing onset of depression and in terms of managing symptoms.
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