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Meditation and Stress Elimination

Prevention and Wellness Clinic
Prevention and Wellness Clinic
21 Sep 2022

      Current affairs, the economy, and the pandemic may contribute to stress for many people. Your body responds to stress by releasing cortisol, the stress hormone, as well as various inflammatory mediators. A long period of chronic stress will affect your health, weakening your immune system, making you susceptible to illness, and latent viruses such as herpes simplex and varicella-zoster viruses may be reactivated with symptoms. Furthermore, stress also increases the risk of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, diabetes, atherosclerosis, obesity, cancer, and osteoporosis etc.1

      Stress management is, therefore, a crucial skill. In addition to various ways to cope with stress such as traveling, exercise or hobbies; an effective method in dealing with stress is mindfulness in the present, being aware of your emotions, thoughts, and feelings that are occurring in the moment.


How does meditation help in reducing stress?

      In the Western world, meditation and willpower are popular approaches to reduce stress, known as kammatthana in Buddhism. Training mindfulness is not limited to meditation, but also by focusing your mind on your thoughts, breathing or your body, as well as walking meditation, yoga, qigong, or tai chi.

      Meditation affects the activity of brain waves, making them slower and calmer.2 Researchers found that as you start to meditate, the brain releases alpha waves, an indication of relaxed body. During deeper stages of concentration, theta and delta waves are predominant in the brain. Those are the same frequencies found in deep sleep.

      Alpha waves affect your wakefulness, while delta waves are linked to consciousness, and theta waves help reduce anxiety. When monitoring magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in people who meditate regularly, improvements in the brain’s grey matter and parts that are associated with attention, interoception, and sensory process are detected.3

      The changes in the brain show that meditation helps increase one’s awareness of thoughts, and emotions that occur in present state. The more you meditate, the more mentally resilient you become, which helps increase your ability to manage stressful situations, develop awareness.

Mindfulness Meditation

      Mindfulness meditation is the most popular type of meditation. It is a training to think slowly, to let go of negative thoughts, and to calm down your body and mind. In other words, to train your mind to fully focus on 'the present'. Mindfulness meditation is divided into two main parts.

  1. Attention - focus your attention on what is happening, as well as be aware of your breath, your thoughts, as well as physical and emotional responses to what is happening.
  2. Acceptance - perceive the emotions and feelings that are occurring without judging or interpreting them. Instead of responding or retaliating to those thoughts or feelings, accepting them will teach you to simply recognize and let go.

      Clinical research conducted on 12,145 healthy people who practice mindful meditation has shown that mindfulness-based therapy helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.4 Also, those who train in mindfulness are less likely to respond to negative ideas or pointless emotional reactions during stress.5


Start meditation in daily life.

Most people meditate in sitting or walking positions. However, if you are are starting out, you can train mindfulness from daily activities.6

  1. Brushing teeth – feel your feet on the floor, the toothbrush in your hand, and your arm moving back and forth.
  2. Washing dishes – feel the water flowing through your hands, the properties of the bubbles, and the sound the dishes make hitting the sink.
  3. Driving – turn off the radio or play music that helps lifting the mood. Imagine your upright spine against the seat, feel your hands on the steering wheel, your feet on the accelerator. No matter where your mind has wandered off to, focus your attention back to yourself and your car.
  4. Working out – instead of watching television while on the treadmill, try focusing on your breathing and your moving feet.
  5. Putting children to bed – bend down to the eye level of your children to meet their eyes. Listen to what they say and feel their touch. When you calm down, your children will feel relaxed as well.


  1. Morey JN, Boggero IA, Scott AB, Segerstrom SC. Current directions in stress and human immune function. Current opinion in psychology. 2015;5:13-7.
  2. De A, Mondal S. Yoga and brain wave coherence: A systematic review for brain function improvement. Heart and Mind. 2020;4(2):33.
  3. Epel E, Daubenmier J, Moskowitz J, Folkman S, Blackburn E. Can Meditation Slow Rate of Cellular Aging? Cognitive Stress, Mindfulness, and Telomeres. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2009;1172(1):34-53.
  4. Khoury B, Lecomte T, Fortin G, Masse M, Therien P, Bouchard V, et al. Mindfulness-based therapy: a comprehensive meta-analysis. Clinical psychology review. 2013;33(6):763-71.
  5. Gu J, Strauss C, Bond R, Cavanagh K. How do mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction improve mental health and wellbeing? A systematic review and meta-analysis of mediation studies. Clinical psychology review. 2015;37:1-12.
  6. Wong C. What Is Mindfulness Meditation? [Internet]. Verywell Mind. 2021 [cited 16 November 2021]. Available from:

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