Stressed US: Try Mindfulness

Years ago, my yoga teacher mused … poverty is rampant in India, but people seem much happier there than in the US.  I remembered these words when reading troubling statistics consistent with her personal observations.  We are a stressed out nation! Disturbing Statistics: many of us aren’t happy A 2017 Gallop poll showed 8 in 10 U.S. adults reported feeling stressed. The U.S. suicide rate is on the rise, opioid abuse has become a crisis and 1 in 6 Americans take a psychiatric drug! According to Monica H. Swahn, professor of epidemiology and public health, “it seems that the majority of our U.S. population is currently under the influence of some form of psychoactive substance or drug, whether prescribed or not, or whether legally used or not, that changes brain function, mood, consciousness and behavior. And, let’s not forget alcohol in this context since 70% of U.S. adults drink alcohol, and more than one in four binge drink.” Mindfulness and yoga can help These ancient practices, validated by modern science, improve well-being A plethora of research shows that mindfulness meditation and yoga can help with many ills that cause stress reactions.  These practices allow us to navigate stressful times as we gain ability to calm our mind, manage emotions and become more in tune with our bodies. By steadying our mind and accepting the present moment, we learn to ride the waves that occur naturally without getting pulled under.  We can better tune into the beauty that surrounds us, while we forego always waiting for something better to come along. It is my hope that as more people engage in these practices, we can shift the culture of busy-ness and seeking happiness where it can’t be found, and come to recognize what's most important … connection, compassion, community and kindness.  In the meantime, may more and more individuals find peace and contentment as these practices gain traction.