Stress is a condition in which the body is alert to signals coming from the outside. This state of alert is what would have saved us in a hostile environment full of ferocious beasts. Although in the modern world the real dangers that put our lives at risk every day are very small, the levels of stress we are subjected to make it one of the greatest health risks in the 21st century.
High levels of stress directly affect the physiology of our organism with complex effects on immune and metabolic processes. These effects are directly linked to a number of diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and psychological disorders such as depression.
In a previous article we dealt with the consequences of stress on hair or body weight. Now, after considering the causes and consequences of stress, we will present the results of a study conducted by researchers at the prestigious Max Plank Institute, on a possible method for relieving stress in the long term. This is scientific evidence that confirms notions already partially empirically consolidated. Here is a useful and effective technique against chronic stress if practiced for at least 6 months.
Bigger because of global warming
If we take the evolutionary point of view into consideration, environmental stress is a formidable force that forces organisms to adapt to continuous external changes. For example, it has recently been discovered that animals are evolving in response to the well-known global warming (Ryding S et al, 2021). The appendages of animals (beaks, ears) in fact play an important role in the internal thermoregulation of their body. According to the “Allen’s rule”, animals living in warm climates have larger appendages to have a more efficient heat exchange. This is precisely what is happening due to global warming: the animals are changing their morphology to have proportionately larger appendages.
Here is a useful and effective technique against chronic stress if practiced for at least 6 months
In a recently published study (Puhlmann L et al, 2021), researchers looked for a way to sustainably reduce stress. Specifically, they evaluated the effect of meditation on stress levels.
To do this, we based on the amount of cortisol present in the hair. In fact, cortisol is a hormone that is produced when you are faced with a challenge and allows you to mobilize additional energy to face it. If the stress continues for a long time, the amount present in our body, especially in the hair, increases.
The study lasted 9 months, during which the subjects trained with meditation sessions. Every 3 months the amount of cortisol in the hair was measured. It was found that after 6 months of training, the amount of cortisol in the subjects’ hair decreased significantly, on average by 25 percent, demonstrating a real effect of meditation in the long run. It would seem that these results are not related to the method used during meditation but only to the duration of the treatment.
Further studies will be needed in order to use the methods described in the study in the medical and therapeutic fields.