Stand Up to Stress: How Moving and Mindfulness Mend Your Health

Stress has become a prevalent part of modern life for many individuals. However, it’s important to remember that it can have damaging effects on your health, both mentally and physically. In some cases, excessive stress has even been linked to a higher risk of mortality. With that in mind, it’s essential to find ways to manage stress effectively, since many of these tools are free and readily available for use.

The Real-Life Effect of Stress

Undeniably, stress can take a considerable toll on your overall well-being. A study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University measured the stress levels of around 1,000 men over 18 years and discovered that those who experienced consistently high or moderate levels of stress had a 50% higher mortality rate.

The study identified that long-term, constant stress was the most destructive. People can typically handle several major stressors each year; however, prolonged periods of stress, even at moderate levels, can have potentially lethal consequences.

Stress can also cause adverse changes to your immune system. Canadian researchers found that people under significant stress from caring for a relative with cancer showed elevated levels of inflammation in their immune cells. This unnecessary inflammation has been linked to a higher risk of developing chronic health conditions, including arthritis, depression, cancer, and heart disease.

Moreover, if you suffer from allergies, stress may heighten your allergic reactions, as shown in a study by Ohio State University. In addition, the researchers demonstrated that these intensified allergic reactions persisted a day later.

Finding Relief from Stress

Thankfully, there are numerous methods to combat stress effectively. These techniques can help alleviate the anxiety and tension associated with stress while promoting overall health and well-being.


Meditation is one of the most well-known tactics for reducing stress. There are many forms of meditation, such as simply sitting in a quiet space to clear your thoughts or focusing on controlling your breathing. Research indicates that these approaches can lead to physiological changes that counteract the detrimental effects of stress.

A study examining college students who practiced Transcendental Meditation™ for ten weeks reported that the participants adapted more quickly to stressful stimuli and experienced less fatigue. Additionally, a “mindfulness meditation” study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that this method improved people’s immune response, reduced anxiety, and increased positive emotions.


Exercise has long been endorsed as an effective stress-relief mechanism, and research confirms this advantage. A study at the University of Colorado at Boulder demonstrated that regular, moderate exercise can help protect against the negative impact of stress on the immune system.

Another study conducted at Ohio State University found that individuals who engaged in 20 minutes of yoga every day, combined with mindful meditation, noted a significant reduction in perceived stress levels. Participants also reported falling asleep more easily and experiencing less anxiety.

In conclusion, stress affects more than just your mental health – it also has damaging consequences on your body and overall well-being. Thankfully, there are numerous methods available to manage stress effectively, such as meditation and exercise. By implementing these techniques, you can work towards a healthier, less stressful future.