stress reduction

What is mindfulness? How do you do it?

What is mindfulness? How do you do it?

What is mindfulness and how do you start practicing? Being aware of the here and now, using all your senses to be present in the moment without judgment. Easy mindfulness exercises to start practicing include noticing everything when you shower or wash dishes, that first drink or bite of food. 

38 Health Benefits of Yoga

38 Health Benefits of Yoga

Still wondering if you should try out yoga? How is it really going to help you anyway? This article discussing 38 scientifically proven reasons why you should get up and strike a yoga pose.


If you’re a passionate yoga practitioner, you’ve probably noticed some yoga benefits—maybe you’re sleeping better or getting fewer colds or just feeling more relaxed and at ease. But if you’ve ever tried telling a newbie about the benefits of yoga, you might find that explanations like “It increases the flow of prana” or “It brings energy up your spine” fall on deaf or skeptical ears.

Why Crafting Is Great For Your Brain: A Neuroscientist Explains

What helps reduce your stress? New research is confirming what crafters have always known intuitively, that when they engage in a creative and repetitive act they go into a calming state. As a psychologist, I often recommend knitting, crocheting or other crafts as a stress reliever. This article discusses new research explaining why this is helpful. BY DR. SARAH MCKAY JUNE 24, 2014 4:39 AM EDT

Knit one. Purl one. Knit one. Purl one. Knit one. Purl one. The rhythmic and repetitive nature of knitting is calming, comforting and contemplative. It’s not a stretch for you to imagine knitting as a mindfulness practice, or perhaps a form of meditation.

I’m delighted to report that neuroscience is finally catching up on brain health aspects of the trend some have called "the new yoga."

Research shows that knitting and other forms of textile crafting such as sewing, weaving and crocheting have quite a lot in common with mindfulness and meditation — all are reported to have a positive impact on mind health and well-being.

Qi Gong Techniques Help Cancer Patients Cope

Practicing a combination of breathing, meditation and movement to achieve a state of relaxation and peace of mind improves quality of life, cancer-related symptoms and treatment side effects and promotes patient longevity. By: Lynette Summerill

Feeling anxious or stressed about a cancer diagnosis is a very normal response. After all, it’s a life changing experience. Patients and their loved ones often feel a whole range of emotions when learning to deal with the disease, treatments and its side effects. It’s not a road easily traveled. So naturally, finding positive coping mechanisms is essential to realizing the best possible outcome.

The mental stress that accompanies a cancer diagnoses not only negatively affects quality of life, it can actually contribute to suppression of the immune system, aggravating the side effects of chemotherapy and slowing the healing process, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Many cancer patients are finding stress-reducing health benefits by incorporating the ancient Chinese system into their treatment protocol. Qi Gong, sometimes called chi kung or vital energy exercises, involves breathing, meditation and movement to achieve a state of relaxation and peace of mind. Translated, qi gong means “breath work” or “energy work”.

While qi gong is typically not considered a “cure” for cancer, it is extremely helpful in coping with the disease. Practitioners say the exercises help manage pain, reduce anxiety, provide increased strength and enhance the quality of life.

The goal of qi gong is to help the flow of energy or “qi” (pronounced chee) through the body. The two forms of qi gong—external and internal— are exercises that people can do on their own or with a skilled master. It can also be used to target specific areas of the body. However, if this makes you feel a little too existential, there is also strong scientific evidence to suggest beneficial health outcomes associated with its practice.

Researchers from the Santa Barbara-based Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi, Arizona State University and the University of North Carolina analyzed data from 66 randomized controlled qi gong trials involving 6,410 participants. The review was published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

The researchers found the strongest and most consistent evidence of health benefits included bone health, cardiopulmonary fitness, balance, mental focus, improved quality of life and self-efficacy (the confidence in and perceived ability to perform a behavior.) The reviewers concluded sufficient evidence exists to suggest qi gong is a viable alternative to conventional forms of exercise.

More recently, a 2008 pilot study of medical qi gong (MQ) for cancer patients, conducted by University of Sydney researchers found MQ to be “an effective therapy for improving quality of life, cancer-related symptoms and treatment side effects and promote patient longevity” compared to non-practicing MQ cancer patients. Qi gong has also been found in medical studies to produce long-term physical benefits by reducing inflammation in some cancer patients.


Link to article