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April 26, 2016

Fighting Chronic Stress: Exercise and Meditation

By: Jeanie Chang, MA, LMFTA

Exercise and meditation are key tools in combating chronic stress because it negatively impacts your brain.  That’s according to a TED-Ed video by Madhumita Murgia.  Chronic stress refers to the continuous stress you may experience on a daily basis, such as being overworked at your job or engaging in arguments at home.  It affects the size and structure of the brain, right down to the level of your genes.  In her video, Murgia indicates that exercise and meditation are effective in enhancing your brain in order to diminish your level of chronic stress because it involves taking deep breaths and being aware of your surroundings.  For example, a core concept of mindfulness is deep breathing in order to feel grounded in one’s surroundings.  According to Murgia, both exercise and meditation increase the size of the hippocampus in the brain which improves your memory, enhancing the quality of your life.  However, it’s important to remember that there are times that stress is good for you.  For example, it can provide you the extra boost of energy you need to play a competitive sport or speak in public.  Lastly, Murgia says that chronic stress happens to all of us, so don’t get discouraged by it.  She suggests take control of it by exercising and meditating in order to not let it control you.

Check out  the link to the video:

How Stress Affects Your Brain

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