Some considerations about "Stress", Mindfulness and Health Promotion
“Stress” is a natural occurrence in life, which comes in response to the physiological and psychological daily challenges, or “stressors”. Our body responds to these challenges through the activation of behavioral, neuroendocrine, immunological and metabolic mechanisms, which are intended to adapt our bodies to these psychological and physical stressors of daily life. However, when the level of such stressors becomes too high and/or last for long periods, or if our "internal" defenses are not working adequately, there may be severe consequences for our health, which we may call a "state of distress" (abnormal or pathological “stress”).
“Distress” or “stress” at high levels is a risk factor for a wide range of diseases and chronic conditions, such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, diabetes, cancer, obesity and hypertension. The physical and emotional symptoms associated with increased levels of stress in the population have been pointed out and highlighted as extremely harmful to health. In addition to the stress generated by recent changes in life style and by experiences of violence and overload in daily life and in work environments, a growing number of people suffer from stress due to endure chronic conditions, such as those aforementioned.
“Mindfulness” and other contemplative practices can help people to deal better with everyday life “stressors” through mechanisms related to emotional adjustment and an incrementing of psychological flexibility, preventing or enhancing the “state of distress”, besides promoting health and a better quality of life.