Stress Shrinks Your Brain!
Do you find yourself unable to take action to reduce the stress in your life? Do you feel like you have no time to meditate, exercise, or stop the thought tornado spinning in your head? Well, Yale researchers have an answer for you. They've found that your inability to reduce stress (and reduce knee-jerk reactions) is caused by shrinking grey matter that's responsible for self-control. So it stands to reason that the more stress you experience, the more difficult it is to take action to reduce future stress.
Let's face it, you can't afford not to manage your stress level. We all know that prolonged stress increases the cortisol levels in your body. Cortisol is good for short term energy needs such as the fight or flight response that protects us from danger. However, our fight or flight response is typically kicked in all of the time and that will most certainly lead to declining mental and physical health.
One of the most effective ways to reduce your stress levels is to clear your mind of pollution--negative thoughts, worry, long to-do lists just to name a few--that produce feelings of overwhelm. Regular exercise, such as yoga, meditating, and practicing mindfulness, are just a few ways to control the monkey mind.
Tai Chi has been described as "moving meditation" and the practice is especially beneficial for older adults and people who are chronically stressed out. This is great news for those of us who have trouble sitting still, or controlling our monkey mind.