According to the National Institute of Mental Health, we define stress as the brain’s response to a demand. While there are many reasons why the body triggers this response, it is often because of change, positive or negative. Severe problems can occur if stress goes on for too long and it can take a toll on your body mentally and physically.
That’s why relaxation is so incredibly important. Practicing meditation and yoga are two terrific ways to beat stress and stay relaxed. And even the simple acts of breathing deeply or getting a good night’s rest can bring you to a relaxed state that prevents stress.
To discuss the major health benefits of relaxation, I chatted with Dr. Jennifer Weinberg, MD, MPH, MBE. She is a preventive and lifestyle medicine physician, yoga instructor and the Founder of the Simple|Pure|Whole Wellness Method. Dr. Weinberg promotes relaxation on a daily basis, and knows just how important it can be to your health.
It balances your nervous system.
Managing your stress levels and relaxing can help balance the nervous system and hormones. This in turn leads to a healthier mind and body.
It promotes weight loss.
Regular relaxation practices can benefit those who are overweight. “Chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol stimulate the appetite and also encourage more calories to be converted into fat in the body, “ explains Dr. Weinberg. “In a stressed out body, fat tends to become deposited preferentially around the abdomen, which is a metabolically unfavorable situation. Belly fat secretes and alters hormones like insulin, which contributes to a dangerous spiral to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.”