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The Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS) is dedicated to improving the physical and mental health of Canadians by empowering individuals with scientifically grounded information on the effects of stress on the brain and body.
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Focusing on the present is more than just a mind exercise. New research by Kirk Brown and colleagues from Virginia Commonwealth University reveal that trait mindfulness – a person’s ability to focus their attention on the present – is related to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in response to a stressor as well as lower indices of anxiety and feelings of negativity. Participants were forty-four undergraduates who were exposed to a mild laboratory stressor and who filled out various questionnaires. Mindfulness techniques are based on Eastern philosophy and meditation practices that are increasingly being taught by mental health professionals to help their clients cope with stress, anxiety, and depression.