Stress is the reaction of a body to adjust or adapt in light of change. Since change is an element of being alive, we can’t really expect to be stress free. We can explore ways to identify and reduce the stressors in our lives and learn new ways to manage and respond to stress which can’t be avoided. The body reacts to stress by releasing two hormones: adrenaline and cortisol which cause breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise. These physical reactions prepare you to deal with the situation by confronting it or by running away from it — the “fight or flight” response. When stress is prolonged (chronic), your body remains in high gear off and on for days or weeks at a time, we know now that there are many links between stress various chronic illnesses.
Common responses to stress are listed below. Think about how stress affects you.
Aches and Pains
- Neck ache
- Stomach ache
- Tight muscles
- Clenched jaw
Energy Level and Sleep*
- Feeling tired without a good reason
- Trouble sleeping
- Waking up fatigued after a good night sleep
- Out of control
Other Emotional Signs
- Easily irritated
At the B.R.E.A.T.H. Center we offer a series of techniques to help clients reduce stress. For example, mindfulness is about paying attention on purpose, choosing to focus and be fully aware of the present moment. This may sound simple, yet due to the increasingly fast-paced and reactive culture in which we live, it has become a skill less and less available to modern human beings. Feeling scattered, distracted and overwhelmed has become a way of life and many of us can relate to feeling more like a “human doing” than a human being.
We provide instruction and support for those seeking to increase their capacity to live a more grounded and peaceful life. It may not be possible to reduce the stress which comes at us from outside of ourselves but with the tools taught at the B.R.E.A.T.H. Center, we can develop increased resilience and capacity to be aware, observe and respond in new ways to external stressors, thus lessening the degree of internal stress and reactivity which we generally experience.
Meditative practice is a basic component of many world religions. The B.R.E.A.T.H. Center introduces meditation practice from a medical or scientific perspective. These practices can be integrated with any religious or philosophical belief system one might hold.
The Western view of “self” emphasizes individualism and separation. Modern health care systems have become compartmentalized into distinct specialties. However, there is a growing appreciation for the capacity of the “mind-body-spirit” connection to function in a holistic way and an increasing interest in meditation as a vehicle for enhancing the effectiveness of the holistic system to produce healing and healthy change from within. The meditative practices taught in our center are grounded in the context of the emergent field of mind/body medicine are modeled after the courses established by various university medical centers across the world.
There is increasing evidence that natural approaches to stress reductions such as Heart Rate Coherence, Bio-feedback, Guided Imagery, Deep Breathing and Mindfulness, yield positive health benefits for those who practice them regularly. University of Massachusetts Medical Center, the Harvard Institute of Mind, Body Medicine, the Center for Mind and Body Medicine, and many other medical schools and medical centers have used mindfulness and meditation to provide instruction and support for patients with diverse conditions such as cancer, heart disease, anxiety, depression, chronic pain and life transitions. Many of these patients were previously unable to obtain relief through traditional medicine. Links between the development of a regular meditation practice and improved quality of life, are regularly reported by practitioners, as well as through a growing number of peer review medical journal articles, textbooks and reports of scientific studies. This work has been featured on national television, the cover of Time magazine and the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Professional sports teams, corporations and educational institutions are supporting the practice of mindfulness to enhance performance and quality of life for their employees.
At the B.R.E.A.T.H. center our job is to help clients connect with one’s inherent, internal resources, in order to rediscover, remember and experience the depth of our being. These practices strengthen and deepen the human capacity in order to live more meaningful and peaceful lives.