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Mindfulness & Meditation for Stress Relief

Mindfulness and meditation can help build strength and resilience in response to the pressures of life. Through intentional breathing exercises, meditations, music, and soundscapes, mindfulness helps lower cortisol levels and interrupt the stress response. When used regularly, even in just a few minutes a day, these resources are a powerful toolkit for managing stress.

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The more we practice mindfulness, the less we get caught up in stress, and the easier and more meaningful life becomes.

—Melli O'Brien

What is Stress?

Stress is a natural human experience of emotional or physical tension in response to daily pressures, unexpected events, or situations that feel out of our control. Depending on the situation, stress might show up as worry, excited anticipation, anxious thoughts, apprehension, faster heartbeat, sweating, upset stomach, loss of sleep, or a sense of being overwhelmed.

While stress and anxiety share some characteristics, they also have some key differences. Stress has an identifiable external cause (a test, a job interview, a troubled relationship), and its effects tend to dissipate once that event or trigger has passed. Some forms of stress can even be positive — that is, they can motivate or inspire us to give our best effort.

Anxiety, however, tends to emerge internally. It is the emotional response to the uncertainty or worry we might feel in anticipation of stressful situations, and it is marked by a persistent feeling of apprehension or dread that does not subside, even when the stressful trigger has passed or there is no identifiable external threat.

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