Stress is like a ticking time bomb, quietly lurking in the background and waiting to wreak havoc on the body. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s no wonder that stress has become an ever-present companion to many of us. But how exactly does this insidious force manifest itself within our bodies? Let’s take a closer look at the physiological impacts of stress on our health.
It can be tempting to brush off stress as just another part of modern life, but make no mistake: its effects are far from benign. From increased heart rate and blood pressure to changes in hormone levels, prolonged exposure to stress can have serious consequences for our physical well-being. Even beyond these more obvious indicators, there are numerous other ways in which chronic stress may damage the body over time.
Our understanding of the complex relationship between mental and physical health is still evolving, however, one thing remains certain: when left unchecked, stress can lead to long-term problems with both mind and body alike. Through exploring the different ways that stress affects our physiology we can gain insight into why managing it should be a top priority for anyone looking to live their best life possible.
What Is Stress?
Stress is a physical, mental and emotional response to events that cause strain or upset. It can be caused by both positive and negative occurrences in life, such as marriage, childbirth, the death of a loved one, job loss or promotion. Stress affects people differently depending on their individual circumstances; however there are some common reactions which we will explore further.
When experiencing stress, our bodies go into ‘fight or flight’ mode – this triggers a physiological reaction known as the ‘stress response’. This means our blood pressure rises, heart rates increase and muscles tense up. Chronic stress causes long-term effects such as increased risk for certain types of heart disease due to elevated levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).
Therefore it is important to manage your stress level by developing healthy habits like exercising regularly and eating nutritious meals. Taking breaks from work throughout the day also helps you relax physically and emotionally so that you can cope better with stressful situations when they arise. Transitioning into healthier lifestyle choices allows us to reduce our risk for health issues related to chronic stress.
Physiological Reactions To Stress
Stress is like a storm that unleashes an array of physiological reactions in the body. It can be seen as a hurricane, pouring down fear and anxiety on our minds, while thundering through with surges of cortisol and adrenaline coursing through our veins. As this stress-induced tempest rages inside us, it brings with it chest pain, tension headaches, changes in blood pressure and heart rate – all symptoms of how stress affects the body.
The physical effects are triggered by two different hormones: Cortisol and Adrenaline (also known as epinephrine). When we experience acute stress or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), these hormones surge up and cause rapid breathing, increased blood pressure, muscles tensing up and disturbances to digestion; over time they can lead to chronic health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, erectile dysfunction etc. Moreover, when left unchecked for too long they start to interfere with cognitive skills such as decision making capabilities.
It would seem then that the battle against stress needs to be fought both internally & externally – allowing oneself some respite from its intense grip but also being mindful of its potential risks for long-term health conditions. One way we can do this is by understanding why certain activities trigger negative emotions so that we can better manage them before they boil into something more serious. By doing so we take back control over our lives and have a much better chance at living healthier lives free from any form of distressful experiences. Taking effective steps towards managing one’s mental wellbeing will ultimately help reduce the harmful effects caused on the body by stressful situations. Moving onto ‘effects of stress on the brain’…
Effects Of Stress On The Brain
Stress can have direct effects on the brain that can impact our mental health and cognitive functioning. When we experience stress, the body releases hormones such as cortisol which affects various parts of the brain including those responsible for mood swings, spatial memory, and long-term memory. Mental stress also causes changes in how blood flows through your brain, affecting the permeability of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This increased permeability allows more toxins to enter the central nervous system resulting in further negative impacts on your cognition and emotional well-being.
In terms of cognitive processing, when exposed to chronic or acute levels of stress, the hippocampus – a part of the limbic system associated with learning and memory formation – is affected negatively. People experiencing high amounts of stress often find difficulties forming new memories or retrieving old ones due to this effect on their hippocampal activity. Problems with short term recall like remembering names or phone numbers are common among people suffering from psychological distress. Furthermore, research has found that individuals who suffer higher levels of stress have weakened connections between neurons responsible for storing information related to spatial memory tasks which can affect navigation skills over time.
Longer bouts of intense stress can result in damage to areas of your brain associated with executive function such as problem solving and decision making ability. Other symptoms linked to prolonged exposure to elevated levels of cortisol include depression, anxiety disorders, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other forms of neurological impairment that can become harder to treat if left unmanaged. By recognizing early signs and seeking help accordingly one may be able to prevent these negative outcomes before they manifest into serious conditions down the line. Transitioning into our next section about ‘effects of stress on immune system’ it becomes increasingly important for us all to understand how our mind affects our body holistically so that proper steps towards better overall health may be taken by each individual.
Effects Of Stress On The Immune System
The effects of stress on the immune system are closely linked to how it affects the brain. In particular, high levels of stress can weaken our immune system function and lead to reduced immunity responses in both adults and children alike. This can make us more vulnerable to illnesses like colds, flus, and other infections.
Stress hormones such as cortisol also have a profound effect on the functioning of our immune systems. These hormones suppress cell-mediated immunity which is responsible for fighting off bacteria and viruses. High levels of cortisol over time can cause an imbalance in pro-inflammatory cytokines that can increase inflammation in our bodies leading to conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or even disruption of the intestinal barrier.
It’s important to be aware of the potential negative impacts that prolonged periods of stress may have on the body’s ability to fight infection, including weakening our overall immune functioning. Taking steps towards reducing stress with relaxation techniques or seeking help from mental health professionals when needed can be beneficial for maintaining optimal health by keeping our immunities strong and resilient.
Effects Of Stress On The Cardiovascular System
Stress has the potential to wreak havoc on our bodies, particularly when it comes to our cardiovascular health. It’s no surprise that a high-stress lifestyle can have far reaching effects on this important system – so let’s dive in and take a closer look at what stress does to your heart. Yikes!
When under pressure, your body releases chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol which causes an increase of blood flow through your vessels, leading to an increased heart rate. This places you at greater risk for various heart issues including hypertension, coronary artery disease, arrhythmia and even more serious conditions like stroke or heart attacks. Not only that but chronically elevated levels of these hormones can cause long term damage by weakening and hardening of your vascular walls. Ouch!
To keep yourself safe from adverse side effects of stress related Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), make sure to pay special attention to warning signs such as chest pain or tightness, dizziness or difficulty breathing. Practicing mindfulness activities such as journaling or meditation can help lower anxiety levels thus reducing risks associated with CVD. TIP: To maintain optimal cardiovascular health, focus on improving diet/nutrition habits while also getting regular exercise – both are essential components for healthy living!
Effects Of Stress On The Respiratory System
Stress has a significant effect on the respiratory system, causing rapid and shallow breathing or deep breaths taken for extended periods. When under stress, people often take quick, short breaths which can lead to hyperventilation and cause feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness. In some cases, it can even result in chest pain or shortness of breath. To counter this reaction, breathing exercises such as taking slow, deep breaths from the diaphragm can help relax the body and provide relief from these symptoms.
Stress-related respiration issues are also associated with long-term health effects such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People who suffer from anxiety may experience more frequent and severe attacks when exposed to stressful situations due to an increase in rapid breathing and airway constriction caused by their state of mind. The best way to manage these conditions is through regular practice of relaxation techniques that focus on controlled breathing over extended periods.
Regularly engaging in calming activities like yoga or meditation can be beneficial for those dealing with stress-induced respiratory problems. These practices help individuals observe their bodily responses while providing them with tools to better regulate their breathing patterns during times of distress. Transitioning into a calmer state without relying on medications allows people to keep track of how different levels of stress affect their bodies and develop healthier ways to cope with difficult situations.
Effects Of Stress On The Digestive System
Feeling butterflies in your stomach when you’re stressed is more than just a metaphor – it’s the digestive system responding to stress. Stress can cause physical and mental harm, with one of its main effects being on the digestive system. Research shows that high levels of stress increase risk for eck pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, higher cholesterol levels, and dry mouth.
Stress hormones like cortisol affect digestion by slowing down the process or even stopping it completely until the body returns to a state of equilibrium. If prolonged, this disruption can lead to indigestion symptoms such as abdominal pains or cramping caused by an accumulation of gas due to food not passing through quickly enough. The longer stress persists, the stronger these feelings become and they begin to interfere with regular daily activities such as eating or sleeping properly.
Apart from causing direct physical discomfort, persistent stress affects how our bodies absorb nutrients which could eventually lead to nutrient deficiencies over time. It also changes hormone production which could potentially impact our metabolism and lead to weight gain if left unchecked. In short, high-stress levels have serious implications for overall health and quality of life; therefore taking steps towards managing them effectively is essential for maintaining good digestive health.
It’s clear that long term exposure to stress can have detrimental consequences on our digestive systems – but what about other bodily functions? To find out more about how our endocrine system responds under pressure we need look no further…
Effects Of Stress On The Endocrine System
When it comes to the effects of stress on the body, one system that is significantly impacted is the endocrine system. This collection of glands and hormones regulates many bodily functions, including energy production, metabolism, growth and development. When under significant stress, the adrenal glands release a flood of stress hormones into our bloodstream which can have long-term consequences for biochemical functioning.
The amount of these hormones released depend on levels of stress experienced by an individual; higher levels result in more potent responses from the endocrine system. These surges ultimately cause changes in metabolic rate, blood sugar levels, heart rate and other physiological processes associated with fight or flight reactions. Over time, this can lead to fatigue due to exhaustion of hormone reserves as well as potential damage to organs like the liver and kidneys.
These short term impacts often largely go unnoticed until they become chronic over time. Prolonged exposure to high levels of cortisol – a primary hormone involved in stressful experiences – has been linked to conditions such as obesity and diabetes. It’s important to maintain healthy lifestyle practices like exercising regularly and getting enough sleep when managing your stress levels so that you can mitigate any possible long-term effects on your health and wellbeing.
Taking care of our bodies during times of heightened stress helps ensure we don’t experience further complications down the road related to our vision such as dry eye syndrome or blurred vision caused by elevated cortisol levels in our systems.
Effects Of Stress On The Eyes
When it comes to stress and its effects on the body, eyes can be particularly vulnerable. Physical symptoms such as blurred vision, dryness in the eyes, fatigue, and even headaches are common occurrences when we’re under high levels of stress. This is because our bodies release hormones such as cortisol which affect not only our emotional health but also our physical well-being.
“Repeated stress can take a toll on you not only mentally, but physically as well. Stress impacts your eyes with symptoms including sensitivity to light, eye twitching, too dry or too wet eyes, blurry vision, and eye strain. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to stop, take a break from what you are doing, get some rest, and try and take part in any of your favourite relaxation techniques. Stress-related eye issues are most likely temporary but, do be sure to see your optometrist if any of these symptoms persist. If you’re feeling stressed, you might also experience visual disturbances or loss of sight in your periphery. If you begin to experience this make sure to take some time to relax and if the vision issues persist see your optometrist. Finally, whilst it is important to consult your optometrist with any problems related to your vision, it is also crucial to visit your GP and speak through how you are feeling with friends and family to protect your wellbeing”.
The impacts of this heightened level of stress can make daily life a struggle for those experiencing it. Eye strain caused by too much screen time or reduced blinking due to feeling overwhelmed can lead to further discomfort and sharp pains around the eye area. Not only that, muscle tension resulting from increased anxiety or depression can cause body aches throughout the face including around one’s eyes.
It’s clear then that stress has far-reaching consequences for us all – and especially for people who suffer with mental illnesses like depression or anxiety disorders. Taking care of oneself through activities like yoga or mindfulness will help keep our minds healthy and reduce any unwanted side effects from elevated stress levels in the long run.
Effects Of Stress On Reproduction
When it comes to the effects of stress on reproduction, it’s important to understand that all types of physical and mental stress can have a significant impact. Whether it’s acute or chronic stress, times of high anxiety can affect our reproductive systems in many ways.
From hormones to fertility, people who experience prolonged periods of stress often suffer from decreased libido, irregular menstrual cycles and other reproductive issues. Stress affects both men and women differently, but in either case, physical health is impaired when we are under duress.
Additionally, research also suggests that prolonged exposure to stressful environments can lead to infertility problems due to the body’s inability to produce healthy eggs and sperm cells. The negative impacts on reproduction cannot be overlooked; understanding how different types of stressors may influence our bodies is essential for maintaining reproductive health.
It’s clear that stress has a profound effect on the reproductive system – so what about its long-term implications?
Long-Term Effects Of Chronic Stress
Chronic stress is an ongoing state of prolonged tension that can have significant negative impacts on the body, mind and relationships. It’s important to understand the relationship between long term stress and physical health so we can manage our well-being in a better way. Constant exposure to severe stress can cause serious damage if it’s not managed properly over time.
From physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension and fatigue to psychological effects like depression, chronic stress takes its toll on both mental and physical health. The long term impact of this kind of stress on your body has been linked to cardiovascular diseases, immune system suppression and even some types of cancer. In addition, it also affects how you interact with others around you by causing anxiety and irritability which can lead to strained relationships.
Therefore, recognizing the signs of chronic stress early helps us take proactive steps towards managing our overall well-being. Understanding the connection between long term stress and physical health is crucial for maintaining positive relationships and improving quality of life in general. With these insights into the damaging effects of constant pressure from work or personal commitments, we are more equipped to develop strategies that reduce its severity before it leads to further complications.
Strategies To Manage Stress
When life throws you a curveball, it is important to have strategies in place for managing stress. Stress relief can be found through various methods and techniques – from regular exercise to mental health therapies. It’s no secret that there is a direct link between stress and our physical wellbeing; thus, learning how to manage one’s stress levels is paramount.
The first step towards reducing the effects of stress on your body is understanding the different stress management techniques available. Exercise has been proven time and time again as an effective method of relieving tension and calming down during times of distress. Regular workouts not only help us stay physically fit but they also trigger endorphins which are responsible for improving mood and helping with relaxation. Other ways to cope with anxiety include meditation, journaling, breathing exercises, yoga or even simply taking some ‘me-time’ each day.
It can also be beneficial to talk about any issues causing worry or anxiousness with friends and family. Additionally, seeking professional help if needed via counselling sessions may provide invaluable insight into better dealing with stressful moments in life. Taking care of yourself both mentally and physically should always be top priority when trying to reduce negative symptoms associated with prolonged periods of anxiety.
Ultimately, finding what works best for you will require experimentation – whether it’s going for a jog or having a good cry – all these activities can contribute positively towards lowering stress levels. As we learn more about the power of self-care practices such as exercising regularly as part of our overall well-being plan, we will gain greater control over managing our daily stresses effectively.
Exercise As A Stress Management Tool
Exercising is a great way to manage stress. It can help alleviate the effects of both acute and chronic stress, allowing you to better cope with stressful situations. For instance, physical exercise can reduce your levels of cortisol, which is a hormone released in response to traumatic events or long-term exposure to high levels of stress. Additionally, regular exercising releases endorphins that provide natural pain relief and improve overall moods, making it easier for people to stay calm when faced with difficult circumstances.
Moreover, exercising helps clear your mind from overwhelming thoughts and worries by refocusing attention on the activity at hand instead. This allows individuals to take their minds off the task at hand momentarily so they can come back refreshed and ready for action. Not only does exercise benefit mental health but also physical since it helps strengthen muscles and bones while reducing risk factors such as obesity associated with too much sitting around throughout the day.
Therefore, whether it’s running outdoors or doing yoga indoors, taking time out a few times a week can be incredibly beneficial in managing stress levels. Moving regularly is essential not just for good physical health but also emotional wellbeing too – something worth investing into even during busy times! With this in mind, let’s explore how diet and nutrition play an important role in managing our stress levels…
Diet And Nutrition For Stress Management
Nutrition and diet for stress management is like a puzzle, with the pieces scattered around us. There are many complex factors to consider when exploring how our diets can affect our stress levels. While exercise is an important tool in managing our stress responses, it’s also essential to look at what foods we consume as part of that equation.
When under intense stress, our bodies produce hormones such as adrenaline which can cause physical effects such as neck pain or even erectile dysfunction if left unchecked over time. To help combat these effects from stress, we should be mindful of the types of food we put into our body on a daily basis. Eating healthy foods high in vitamins and minerals will give us all the nutrients needed for proper functioning – especially during times of increased stress and pressure. Additionally, avoiding processed foods full of unhealthy fats and sugars will enable us to maintain optimal energy levels throughout the day by providing steady fuel sources instead of peaks and troughs.
Considering nutrition alongside other strategies such as exercise allows us to create comprehensive plans tailored specifically to each individual’s needs. By implementing this approach towards reducing the negative impacts of elevated stress levels, individuals can take steps towards restoring balance and wellbeing within their lives. Exploring mental health therapy options provides another layer in this process by helping identify underlying causes while they work through their emotional reactions with professionals who understand them best.
Mental Health Therapy For Stress Management
Mental health therapy for stress management is an effective way to reduce anxiety and help find balance in life. It’s a type of treatment that can provide long-term relief from the symptoms associated with different types of mental illness, such as panic attacks, mood disorders, and mass shootings. A mental health professional will be able to provide individualized care tailored to your needs and help you identify triggers or situations that cause your stress levels to rise. Here are five ways that mental health therapy may benefit people dealing with high levels of stress: 1. Help you learn relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and mindfulness meditation 2. Assist you in developing healthy coping skills for when stressful situations arise 3. Provide support during major life changes such as divorce, job loss, or death of a loved one 4. Increase self-awareness so you can better understand how your thoughts contribute to feeling stressed out 5. Show you how to manage the physical symptoms caused by prolonged periods of stress Whether it’s due to a traumatic event or everyday pressures, seeking counseling can give individuals the tools they need to cope with their emotions in a constructive way while also helping them recognize potential signs of distress before they become too overwhelming. Mental health professionals have experience effectively treating all kinds of people struggling with feelings of anxiety and depression resulting from chronic stress than cannot be managed on their own anymore. With proper guidance, these individuals can make positive strides towards achieving sustainable emotional wellbeing within themselves without having to resort any drastic measures.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does Stress Typically Last?
Stress can be an all-encompassing force, seemingly taking over our lives and leaving us feeling helpless. It often feels like it will never go away – as if we are stuck in a never-ending cycle of anxiety and tension. But how long does stress typically last?
The answer to this question is complex; the duration of stress can vary from person to person. For some, it may just be a few days or weeks; for others, it could be months or even years. Stress levels tend to depend on the individual’s ability to handle difficult situations and cope with stressors effectively. Furthermore, certain life events such as death, divorce, job loss, major illness or injury can cause lasting effects that need time and care before dissipating completely.
It is important to recognize when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your emotions so that you don’t fall into a state of chronic stress – which can have intense physical consequences including headaches, stomachaches, chest pains and fatigue. Seeking professional help or support from family members or friends during stressful times can help reduce its intensity and length significantly. So although there isn’t one definitive answer to ‘how long does stress typically last?’, understanding how to manage it properly can make all the difference in getting back on track towards living a healthier life!
Is Stress Different For Everyone?
It’s like walking through a minefield: stress is an ever-present, ever-changing companion for many of us. Is it different for everyone? Absolutely. Stress affects each and every one of us in unique ways but we all feel the same pressure to keep going.
Think of stress as water that fills up a glass. If you don’t empty it out regularly, eventually the cup will overflow and cause chaos in your life. Everyone has their own tipping point when it comes to stress levels; some people can handle more than others before they reach boiling point.
When our tanks are full, we experience physical symptoms such as headaches, tightness in our chest or stomach pains. We also have emotional reactions like anxiety or depression. But what happens next depends on how well we manage those feelings:
- In terms of prevention, understanding the triggers that make us anxious can help us avoid stressful situations in future – whether this means taking time off work to rest or creating boundaries around certain topics with friends and family. • On a daily basis, practicing self care through activities like yoga and meditation can help reduce our overall stress load by keeping us grounded and helping us maintain perspective on any given situation.
In short, managing stress requires both foresight and action – two sides of a coin that must be balanced if we want to stay healthy physically and mentally over time.
How Can I Tell If I’m Too Stressed?
It’s estimated that up to 77% of Americans experience physical and psychological symptoms related to stress. So, how can you tell if you are too stressed? It is important to be aware of the signs in order to take action before it becomes a major issue.
First, pay attention to your body’s signals. If you have been feeling fatigued or overwhelmed for an extended period of time, this could be a sign that you need to make some lifestyle changes or seek professional help. Physical symptoms such as headaches, difficulty sleeping, gastrointestinal issues, chest pain, or muscle tension may also indicate excessive stress levels.
In addition to physical manifestations, emotional reactions like irritability or anxiety are often warning signs that something needs to change. You might find yourself having difficulty concentrating at work or school due to intrusive thoughts about all the tasks on your plate. Additionally, unhealthy coping mechanisms like overeating, drinking alcohol excessively, withdrawing from social activities and isolating yourself are behaviors commonly seen with heightened levels of stress.
If any of these signs and symptoms sound familiar then it is important not ignore them but rather take proactive steps towards alleviating the pressure by making healthy choices such as exercising regularly, eating nutritious food and engaging in relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga.
What Are The Most Effective Stress Management Strategies?
Managing stress is an important part of mental and physical health. It can be difficult to tell when we are too stressed, but there are many effective strategies for managing it. In this article, I’ll discuss some of the most effective stress management techniques.
First, a good way to manage stress is by recognizing how your body responds to it. Pay attention to any changes in your emotions and behavior that could indicate you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Keeping a journal where you record your experiences is also a great tool for understanding yourself better and learning ways to reduce stress levels.
Another key strategy for reducing stress involves taking breaks from activities that cause us anxiety or worry. Taking time away allows us to relax, refocus our energy on something else, and gain perspective on whatever was causing us distress in the first place. Additionally, doing things like going out with friends, reading a book, listening to music, or engaging in hobbies have been shown to help relieve stress as well.
Finally, there’s evidence suggesting that mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation can be incredibly beneficial for managing stress levels over time. These techniques allow us to become aware of our thoughts while allowing them to pass without judgment; they also teach valuable skills such as focusing on the present moment and being more mindful of our actions throughout the day.
How Can I Prevent Stress From Happening In The First Place?
Prevention is often better than cure – and that’s especially true when it comes to stress. While there are many strategies for managing the symptoms of stress, taking proactive steps to avoid or minimise its occurrence in the first place is undoubtedly the most effective way to keep your mental health in check. So how can we stop ourselves from feeling stressed?
Firstly, setting realistic expectations of yourself is key. Many people tend to overcommit themselves which leads to greater levels of pressure and an inevitable overload of tasks. Recognising this before it becomes a problem and adjusting our workloads accordingly is essential if we’re going to stay on top of things without getting overwhelmed by them. Additionally, making sure you set aside time for yourself each day gives you space to relax and process any worries or concerns as well as giving your mind and body a much-needed break. Taking regular breaks throughout the day also helps – even something as simple as standing up and stretching every hour can make a world of difference!
Finally, having open conversations with loved ones about what stresses us out allows us to be honest about our feelings while providing emotional support through difficult times. Reaching out for help makes all the difference when it comes to being able to cope with life’s challenges; so don’t hesitate in talking about anything that’s causing you distress. By addressing these root causes head-on rather than waiting until they become too big for us handle, we can take control back into our own hands – not only helping us overcome stressful situations but preventing them from happening altogether.
Stress can have a serious impact on both our physical and mental health. We all experience stress differently, so it’s important to be able to recognize the signs in ourselves and take steps to reduce its effects. Stress management techniques such as deep breathing, exercise and yoga are some of the most effective ways to manage stress levels. Additionally, making small lifestyle changes like eating healthier foods and getting enough rest can help prevent stressful situations from occurring in the first place.
Overall, finding ways to proactively reduce your stress is essential for keeping healthy balance between mind and body. Just like boiling water evaporates into thin air when left unattended, we must do whatever it takes to allow our worries to dissipate before they become overwhelming. By taking control of our own mental well-being through proactive self-care measures, we can better equip ourselves with the tools necessary for managing our daily stresses.
We may never be able to completely eliminate our stressors; however, by recognizing how these events affect us individually and actively engaging in calming activities geared towards reducing tension, we can make sure that our minds remain clear and bodies stay healthy despite life’s challenges.
MindOwl Founder – My own struggles in life have led me to this path of understanding the human condition. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy before completing a master’s degree in psychology at Regent’s University London. I then completed a postgraduate diploma in philosophical counselling before being trained in ACT (Acceptance and commitment therapy).
I’ve spent the last eight years studying the encounter of meditative practices with modern psychology.