Why Meditation Can Help Reduce Stress

Every day, people encounter stress, some at work or school and others at home. Despite the fact that people are typically able to cope with stress, there are times when the burden becomes too great and they break down.

The Research on Stress

Hans Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome model identifies three stages that people go through in response to stress. Upon recognizing a threat, the body enters a state of alarm during the first stage. In this phase, the body releases cortisol. In the second stage, the body is unable to withstand the stress and its resources are depleted. Eventually, the body breaks down, which includes immune system exhaustion. This renders the body incapable of fighting off diseases, thereby exposing the individual to illness.

How Meditation Reduces Tension

Meditation is one technique that can help reduce a person's stress levels. By calming the mind and instilling a sense of control in the individual, perceived threats (stress-inducing situations) become easier to manage. However, stress reduction is not the end of the exercise. Since stress can increase susceptibility to illness, reducing stress can aid in maintaining health. Therefore, the practice of meditation can result in improved health and disease resistance.