We all have goals and aspirations for our lives. Whether it’s earning more money, finding meaningful relationships, building a family, traveling more, or any of the unique things we chase for ourselves, they all have one thing in common: they reflect our desire to be happy.
However, an unfortunate part of being human is that most of us, at one time or another, suffer some sort of stress, trauma or mental ailment. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2014, an estimated 43.6 million American adults, or 18% of the population, suffered from some sort of mental illness or disorder. One study indicated that around 31% of people report that stress has a very strong impact on their physical and mental health.
Classically, Western medicine aims to improve mental health with psychotherapy and pharmaceutical medication. Here at the Stress Management & Prevention Center (SMPC), we believe that adding mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) to the treatment of stress-related disorders can offer another valuable facet to overcoming these hindrances to happiness and enabling those who suffer to live the balanced, joyful lives they deserve.
What Is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction?
What we do here at SMPC is offer sessions in a range of techniques in order to cultivate body and mind awareness within our clients, with a goal of training the mind to change the brain forever. These practices include yoga, yoga nidra, life coaching, mindfulness and body scan meditation, mindful eating, massage, and walking meditation.
Trauma-informed yoga encourages us to stay present in our minds and bodies, helping us hone the skills to feel stable and empowered in both spheres when off the mat. Our classes have roots in Hatha-style yoga, and also include restorative yoga and yoga nidra. A regular practice strengthens both our mental and physical selves in a powerful way.
Yoga nidra is guided meditation that combines body scan and awareness of feelings and emotions. Throughout the practice, students are motivated to tap into the intrinsic peace and positivity that we all possess, to change the way the mind processes trauma. Benefits of yoga nidra include deeper sleep and clarity of mind, because it is considered to be more restful and rejuvenating than even sleep itself.
We provide a safe space for our clients to cultivate these practices that have been shown to reduce stress hormones and produce lifestyle and thinking habits that last a lifetime. Along with the yoga and meditation practices, SMPC offers life coaching sessions, massage, and other holistic approaches to guide people toward calm, clarity, self-love and balance.
Who Can Benefit from These Therapies?
We all experience stress to one degree or another, whether it is from everyday pressures such as being very busy, or stress that stems from a traumatic experience such as abuse or the death of a loved one. Some short-term stress is actually beneficial, and from an evolutionary perspective, serves to keep us out of harm’s way. But chronic stress can be harmful to us in many ways.
Stress manifests not only in our minds, but also in our physical bodies. Too much of it can result in very serious physical or psychological illnesses such as heart disease, depression and anxiety, and gastrointestinal problems, just to name a few. Stress can also exacerbate asthma and diabetes, increase the risk for obesity, and cause depression and anxiety.
However, stress can also produce symptoms that may be overlooked or excused as normal. These include indigestion, insomnia, muscle tension, headaches, difficulty concentrating, and so much more. In other words, just because you don’t think you’re stressed, doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t.
These types of ailments and their symptoms can be greatly reduced or eradicated altogether with a consistent yoga and meditation practice.
A recent study revealed that 30 minutes of mindfulness meditation daily for just 2 weeks changed behavior and brain function in patients. Regular practice of yoga, meditation and mindfulness increases our ability to cope with common as well as not-so-common stressors.
Of course, we believe that yoga and meditation are great tools for anyone working toward mindfulness, health and a balanced life. This type of stress management is especially beneficial for people who suffer from PTSD, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, or who are survivors of chronic abuse.
However, you don’t have to be a victim of trauma in order to experience the rewards of the therapies we offer. In our modern life of fast-paced schedules, constant connectivity, and pressure to perform in many ways, mindfulness-based stress reduction can benefit anyone!
How Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Can Change Your Life
There is a multitude of ways that a regular mindfulness practice can improve your life. The cultivation of awareness in your mind and body during yoga, meditation and coaching sessions may seem simple, but they are powerful.
Yoga and mindfulness practices help to remove the obstacles (such as stress or trauma) that conceal your true self and purpose. It can help transform unhealthy thought patterns and habits into more positive, goal-oriented actions to facilitate real change.
The work we do can assist you in building self-confidence, and improving skills such as setting and achieving goals, organizing your life and identifying priorities to get you closer to your best self.
Whether it’s suffering from serious mental or physical ailments, or simply experiencing the challenges of normal daily life, self-care is crucial to our well-being. We can all use tools to help us live well-balanced, healthy and happy lives.
The Stress Management & Prevention Center has something to offer everyone, regardless of his or her goals.
Visit our website today to learn more about stress-informed yoga and meditation and how it can lead you to the happiest, best version of yourself!