Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stress management and brain training

Stress Management And Brain Training

Stress kills. Yes, we have heard health experts say that before. Dr Paul Rosch, a medical scientist and stress expert said that stress is one of the major reasons for heart disease, cancer, lupus and respiratory problems. Experiencing constant stress would wear out your mind and body. Brain training is one of the ways to rejuvenate or worn out disposition.

The American Medical Association, cited that there are 75% of illnesses attributed to stress. World Health Organization (WHO) identifies stress as the leading health problem among Americans. Physical health is not the only thing affected by stress. Stress lead do depression or anxiety attacks, which translates to trips to the doctor to get prescription.

There are studies showing that brain training could actually help people who are suffering from depression and anxiety. Neurofeedback or neurotherapy would determine brainwaves and areas of the brain triggering these problems. Eventually, patients are trained or coached on how to recreate a calm state to overcome symptoms.

However, not only depression and anxiety trigger mental health issues. Chronic stress could also cause neurons or brain cells to die. Chronic and long-term stress could hurt the brain function such as memory and motor skills. Stress could also affect ability to focus and concentrate.

Relaxation techniques, exercise and a healthier lifestyle could actually help in relieving stress. However, brain training could help in achieving longer results. Brain training to reduce stress could be in a form of meditation, visualization, or even self-hypnosis.

In a study led by Michael I. Posner, Psychology professor emeritus from University of Oregon and Yi-Yuan Tang, a professor in the Institute of Neuroinformatics and Laboratory for Body and Mind at Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China, showed that meditation could reduce stress. In their study, a group of people who have performed meditation, a form of brain training, could reduce stress, lessen amount of cortisol released and improve attention within five days of training.

Meditation does not only mean holding a particular position for a long time and chanting. Meditation would also involve relaxing your body, breathing exercises and visual imagery. When meditation is combined with physical exercises, it produces more benefits whether physical or mental. Yoga is a form of combining breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, physical movements and even imagery.

Brain fitness gyms are also great places for brain training with physical exercises. These gyms also combine nutrition and stress management into their program. Whats interesting is that these centers allow children and adults to enjoy brain challenges.

Children, working adults and the elderly could enhance their brain exercises by engaging into memory games, visual and auditory challenges, and other mentally stimulating activities. Those who have been using brain training as a form to relieve stress have reported numerous benefits like an increase in creativity, energy, better sleep and being relaxed.

Stress should not be considered just as a normal condition or situation. There are different ways on how a person can face and reduce it, brain training could be one of the ways. But it is a matter of making choice and taking action of becoming stress-free.


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