Find­ing tran­quil­ity within to achieve a stress- free day

Strip your­self of stress the nat­u­ral way

Northern Living - - CONTENTS - TEXT CHING­GAY LABRADOR IL­LUS­TRA­TION MARTIN DIEGOR

Ev­ery­one’s lives can be pep­pered with stress. From busy en­trepreneurs to stay-at-home moms, col­lege stu­dents to cor­po­rate man­agers, points of ten­sion are in­evitable. What mat­ters isn’t the stress it­self, how­ever, but how we deal with it.

Eileen Tu­paz, yoga in­struc­tor and co-founder of White Space Mind and Body Well­ness Stu­dio, gives key point­ers on breath­ing through stress and find­ing re­lax­ation nat­u­rally.

Ex­er­cise

Tu­paz says that ex­er­cise boosts the pro­duc­tion of en­dor­phins, which counter the neg­a­tive ef­fects of stress. She also notes that on a men­tal level, ex­er­cise al­lows us to for­get daily life ir­ri­ta­tions and helps cre­ate a sense of calm and clar­ity.

Med­i­ta­tion

As a yoga in­struc­tor, Tu­paz is used to med­i­ta­tion. “It boosts our phys­i­cal health and im­mu­nity,” she says. The Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion in 2013 con­ducted re­search that shows how tran­scen­den­tal med­i­ta­tion low­ers blood pres­sure, help­ing counter hard­en­ing of the ar­ter­ies and de­vel­op­ment of heart fail­ure. The prac­tice also helps in­crease neu­rons in the brain’s hip­pocam­pus, which is re­lated to learn­ing and mem­ory. Med­i­ta­tion also re­duces the vol­ume of neu­rons in the amyg­dala, the part of the brain as­so­ci­ated with anx­i­ety and stress.

Food

“There are some foods that are nat­u­ral stress-re­liev­ers. Many are widely avail­able here in the Philip­pines,” Tu­paz says. Green and leafy veg­eta­bles pro­duce dopamine, a plea­sure-in­duc­ing brain chem­i­cal that can help you feel calm. Av­o­ca­dos con­tain stress­re­liev­ing B vi­ta­mins, while dark cho­co­late con­tains anan­damide, a neu­ro­trans­mit­ter that blocks feel­ings of pain and de­pres­sion (al­beit tem­po­rar­ily).

Mind­ful­ness prac­tice

“Mind­ful­ness refers to the prac­tice of fo­cus­ing one’s at­ten­tion on the thoughts, feel­ings, and sen­sa­tions aris­ing in the present mo­ment,” says Tu­paz. Re­searchers from Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity tack­led 19,000 med­i­ta­tion stud­ies and gar­nered re­sults sug­gest­ing that mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion can help ease psy­cho­log­i­cal stresses like anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, and pain.

“Be­cause it’s our thoughts and feel­ings about a per­son or a sit­u­a­tion that stress us out for the most part, this mas­tery al­lows us to de­ter­mine whether we ac­tu­ally ex­pe­ri­ence stress or not,” Tu­paz says.

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