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Find your inner slow lane with meditation and yoga.

Toni-Ann DiSantis

Find your inner slow lane with meditation and yoga.

Life comes at you fast sometimes. Between day-to-day logistics, work deadlines, family time, and information overload from the news and social media, you may struggle to keep up, let alone relax and enjoy. There’s no button you can press to slow down the outside world, but you can slow down your inner world — and change how your body and mind respond to stress. Yoga and meditation are often mentioned as excellent stress-management tools, with good reason. Research shows that people feel better and exhibit more resilience to stress when they do these practices regularly. A new study dug deeper to examine the effects of both practices on the brain’s stress response. Researchers tested participants before and after a three-month retreat in which they practiced yoga, meditated, and ate a vegetarian diet. At the end of the retreat, several markers of chronic stress improved substantially, as did people’s reports of their own well-being. Can’t put your life on hold and do a three-month retreat? Join the club! You don’t have to devote vast stretches of time to mind-body practices to benefit from them. Pick whichever practice is more appealing, or both, and devote 5 or 10 minutes a day to start. Consistency is the key, so do whatever it takes to commit to a regular practice, whether that’s signing up for a yoga or meditation class, or setting your alarm a little earlier in the morning to get up and “just do it.” With a regular practice under your belt, the world may keep whirling full-tilt around you, but you will have a calmer and most likely a happier, healthier future to boot.