Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Brain Coach Answers: I’m a mother of 2, with a career. Are there any quick ways to reduce stress?

Ques­tion: I enjoyed your last post on good stress vs. bad stress.  I’m a moth­er of 2, with a career. Are there any quick ways to reduce stress?

Brain Coach: First of all, con­grats on man­ag­ing two full time jobs — moth­er­hood and a career! While the time man­age­ment can be stress­ful, it is essen­tial that you find a moment to just catch your breath from time to time. Even just 10 min­utes a day should help.

The Cen­ter for Mind­ful­ness in Med­i­cine, Health Care, and Soci­ety at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mass­a­chu­setts Med­ical School sug­gests:

Mind­ful­ness is a way of learn­ing to relate direct­ly to what­ev­er is hap­pen­ing in your life, a way of tak­ing charge of your life, a way of doing some­thing for your­self that no one else can do for you  con­scious­ly and sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly work­ing with your own stress, pain, ill­ness, and the chal­lenges and demands of every­day life.

In con­trast, you’ve prob­a­bly encoun­tered moments of “mind­less­ness” a loss of aware­ness result­ing in for­get­ful­ness, sep­a­ra­tion from self, and a sense of liv­ing mechan­i­cal­ly. Restor­ing with­in your­self a bal­anced sense of health and well being requires increased aware­ness of all aspects of self, includ­ing body and mind, heart and soul. Mind­ful­ness-based stress reduc­tion is intend­ed to ignite this inner capac­i­ty and infuse your life with aware­ness.

Hansgrohe Downpour Air Royale Spa ShowerStill… how to find time for mind­ful­ness or med­i­ta­tion when life is run­ning at full speed? Blog­ging Baby rec­om­mends turn­ing your dai­ly show­er into a mini-spa expe­ri­ence. Try it! Turn on the water and face the spray, move into it so you feel it rain­ing on you and take a few deep breaths. Try to focus on noth­ing but the feel and sound of the water, the smell of your sham­poo or soap. Feel your stress and wor­ries come to your skin’s sur­face and then wash away with the water. If you can give your­self just ten min­utes, you should feel calmer and renewed.

Why is this impor­tant?
While the phys­i­cal effects of stress are quite well known, not as many peo­ple know that chron­ic stress kills neu­rons too. While thou­sands of new neu­rons may be cre­at­ed every day, most die if they aren’t nur­tured with phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­cise, nutri­ents from your diet, and nerve growth fac­tor (NGF). Chron­ic stress impedes your abil­i­ty to focus and pay atten­tion, rob­bing you of men­tal exer­cise, and reduces NGF in the frontal lobes and lim­bic path­ways. Mind­ful­ness-based stress reduc­tion, med­i­ta­tion, phys­i­cal exer­cise, and oth­er tech­niques all help you return to a nor­mal state through the relax­ation response.

Cop­ing with Stress: Man­age­ment and Reduc­tion Tech­niques
Good Stress and Bad Stress
Main­tain­ing Healthy Habits-In Five Sim­ple Steps
Stress and Wom­en’s Health: Reduce Stress and Stay Healthy

Leave a Reply...

Loading Facebook Comments ...

13 Responses

  1. This is great advise. Down­time (find­ing time to enter your own mind) is incred­i­bly impor­tant for stress reduc­tion.

    Equal­ly impor­tant is phys­i­cal activ­i­ty. They are like the Yin and Yang of stress man­age­ment. The arti­cle has already done a good job of describ­ing the impor­tance of down­time so I won’t go into that.

    But exer­cise reduces stress as well. This works by actu­al­ly cre­at­ing neu­ronal growth in a part of the brain that deals with stress, called the hip­pocam­pus. Peo­ple that exer­cise under­stand its ben­e­fit for stress man­age­ment.

    It may seem dif­fi­cult to find the time when you have kids and a full time job, but even 10–20 min­utes, a few days a week can be ben­e­fi­cial. Find some­thing you enjoy that gets your heart rate up and you will notice a dif­fer­ence in your stress lev­els.

    For a more com­plete arti­cle you can vis­it -

  2. Caroline says:

    Dr. Evans,

    Thanks for your great response! To add it to it, I would sug­gest that busy moth­ers can also look for ways to exer­cise with the kids (social inter­ac­tion is anoth­er way to reduce stress). Try putting small kids in a back­pack or stroller when you go for a walk or run. Or try danc­ing — turn on the music in your liv­ing room and let loose! For more on this check out: How­ev­er you can do it, it is impor­tant to com­mit your­self to it. Good luck!

  3. Cindy says:

    Very fun­ny to see the show­er sug­ges­tion since I am sit­ting here with wet hair after soak­ing sev­er­al extra min­utes under the show­er to de-stress!

    I had nev­er read that sug­ges­tion before…as far as I can remem­ber any­way.

    It works for me.

  4. Caroline says:

    Cindy, I hope you are feel­ing renewed and restored! If you find oth­er easy ways to reduce stress, do share!

  5. Alvin says:

    I love tak­ing a hot show­er to de-stress, works won­ders for me 🙂

    Dr Evans, inter­est­ing point about how exer­cise stim­u­lates the phys­i­cal part of the brain that deals with stress!

  6. Alvin says:

    P.S. I love the new look!

  7. Mike Logan says:

    I like doing Heart­Math. I can feel the change around my heart and down through my tor­so almost imme­di­ate­ly, then some deep breathes.

Leave a Reply

Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness, Peak Performance, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

Search in our archives

Follow us and Engage via…

RSS Feed

Watch All Recordings Now (40+ Speakers, 12+ Hours)