Stress-proof your body
It makes sense that mindfulness exercises help us calm down after a tense day. Now scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., say doing them before stressful situations can also help. When study subjects practiced mindfulness exercises such as meditation for eight weeks, blood tests showed a 24 percent drop in inflammatory proteins and stress hormones when faced with stress; levels rose by 52 percent in those who didn’t do the exercises. Why? The authors explain that mindfulness trains the brain to approach stress calmly and quiets activity in the brain region that turns on the stress response.