The fight or flight reaction evolved to help us adapt to real, physical threats. When we feel threatened, our brains trigger a flood of hormones and neurotransmitters that prepare our body to fight or run for our lives. However, today most of our threats are psychological, afraid our boss is judging us or angry that a colleague is being unfair. In these situations, the stress reaction does us no good and can actually impair our ability to respond appropriately. When we spend too much time feeling stressed, it can cause a slew of physical and psychological illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, anxiety and depression. Practicing mindfulness helps us hack the stress response by bringing greater awareness to how we feel and using our breath to calm ourselves. Then we can respond thoughtfully, rather than react unconsciously. In this way we build greater resilience resulting in better mental and physical health.
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