Why is controlling stress important?
“Anxiety and chronic stress are associated with impaired functioning of the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which may account for the increased risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders, including Alzheimer’s ” says Psychiatrist Dr Linda Mah.
Stress is an integral part of life. However, stress is harmful when it persists due to the strain of everyday life.
Minimizing chronic stress with therapy, exercise or mindfulness are some of the ways of lowering stress and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’ s. A variety of different techniques can regulate your nervous system by creating the relaxation response.
How can stress be minimized?
Here are two simple techniques that can be incorporated into your daily life:
Alternate Nostril Breathing
This calming technique is said to bring serenity and balance, and unites the right and left sides of the brain. It effectively switches your nervous system from a stressed response, into a relaxed state.
Sit in a comfortable pose, press your right thumb gently on the right side of your nose and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring pinky finger, and then exhale smoothly through your right nostril. Continue the pattern a few times, inhaling through the right nostril, closing it off with the right thumb and exhaling through the left nostril. Repeat 10 times.
Benefit: Rejuvenates the mind and enhances concentration. Alternate nostril breathing is said to “clear the channels” and makes people feel more awake.
The “Hong-Sau” breathing technique
The benefits of “Hong-Sau” breathing technique include lower blood pressure and reduced stress response.
Sit in a comfortable position and as you inhale, mentally say Hong (rhymes with song). Then, as you exhale, mentally say Sau (sounds like saw). Make no attempt to control your breathing, just let it flow naturally while focusing at the point where the breath enters the nostrils. Try to feel that your breath itself is silently making the sounds of Hong and Sau. Practice Hong-Sau for 10 minutes in the morning and evening.
Benefit: Blood pressure reading shows significant drop in both systolic and diastolic pressure.
The body reaches a state of total relaxation.