Whatever its cause, depression and anxiety is on the rise. Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States every year- that’s 19% of the population! It's not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. 1 in 13 globally suffers from anxiety.
Everybody feels stress and anxiety in different ways. But when stress becomes excessive, it can contribute to high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, physical inactivity, and overeating — all of which contribute to heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.
Coventry University conducted a review of decade of studies to conclude that Mind-body interventions reduce cytokines and pro-inflammatory gene expression. According to the researchers, the benefits of MBIs can be interpreted as reversing the molecular signature caused by the effects of chronic stress, which is correlated with a higher risk of inflammation-related diseases, accelerated biological aging, and early mortality.
These mind-body interventions (MBIs) include various types of mindfulness, meditation, yoga, tai chi, and Qigong. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) defines mind-body interventions as practices that "employ a variety of techniques designed to facilitate the mind's capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms.”
Lead investigator of the recent MBI systematic review, Ivana Buric, from the Brain, Belief, and BehaviorLab at Coventry University, said “Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don't realize is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business. These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing."
Some evolutionary experts say that pro-inflammatory gene expressions triggered by fight-or-flight also provided a short-term boost in immune responses and protection for our hunter-gatherer ancestors but this response is perpetuated in modern day by anxiety related stress.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center published a study titled “Neural Correlates of Mindfulness Meditation-Related Anxiety Relief” and concluded that anxiety was significantly reduced in every session that subjects meditated. Brain imaging found that meditation-related anxiety relief was associated with activation of the anterior cingulate cortex, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and anterior insula, areas of the brain are involved with control of worrying.
Dr. Ramani Durvasula, professor of psychology at California State University, Los Angeles said, “Given that anxiety is in fact a ‘head game,’ it would follow that it could also be managed by techniques that focus on distraction, refocusing body sensations, and thinking differently.”
The good news is that utilizing a regular, daily practice you can reverse the effect of stress and anxiety, inflammation and many forms of depression. We do emphasize daily and regular, because this may be the most important criteria of your practice. Choose one that you will use regularly.
Many of us that now use the Art of Ascension tried many practices before we came to it. We found that Art of Ascension is simple and can be used anywhere, anytime and personally, the one that we knew we could do regularly.