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Meditate & Do Yoga to Decrease Stress and Fatigue: Feel Better and Recover Faster
11/8/2016 12:47:05 PM
Did you know that psychological stress can actually be measured in the body by testing markers of inflammation? 
It can, and many of the same inflammatory markers that are acutely elevated after intense training are chronically elevated if you are under a lot of psychological stress.
For example, two inflammatory markers, IL-6 and C-reactive Protein, have been found to be much higher in people who have suffered a natural disaster, live with someone who has a chronic disease, have a lower income, or have higher scores for stress and anxiety on questionnaires. In these people, IL-6 and C-reactive protein are elevated all the time, which affects brain function and the metabolism because they compromise the function of the central nervous system. 
For instance, a recent study from Japan found that following the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 in Japan, patients with diabetes had their blood sugar control worsen as their levels of psychological stress rose due to the difficulties from the earthquake. Researchers suggest a direct relationship between the altered blood sugar and the profound stress that the study subjects experienced.
A simple way to decrease your feelings of psychological stress and help clear inflammation like IL-6 and C-reactive protein is to perform a regular meditation or yoga practice. A study of young men in the navy found that those who performed yoga a few times a week for six months decreased stress levels and increased glutathione, which is an internally produced antioxidant that naturally helps get rid of stress biomarkers like IL-6.
Mediation has been found to be even more effective than yoga at reducing sensations of psychological stress and lowering the markers of inflammation. For example, one study compared IL-6 levels in a group that performed two to three mediation sessions and a group that participated in a health discussion group. Results showed that the mediation group had lower IL-6 levels at the end of the study than the health discussion group.
Researchers think that mediation is so very effective for stress reduction because the yogic breathing that accompanies it helps to clear stress hormones. Plus, mediation provides a planned time for mental stress reduction that can allow you to develop active skills for reducing stress when you encounter it head on in daily life.
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