When it comes to managing stress, the Eastern traditions may be especially effective. The Western health model is based on diagnosing the underlying cause of a problem and then finding an active medical or behavioral intervention to remove it. People with chronic illness are often urged to “stay strong,” or to have “a fighting spirit.” Eastern medicine has a more holistic view of disease as indicating a lack of balance or an energy blockage. The solution is to bring the body and mind back into balance using gentle, noninvasive techniques such as herbs, manipulative techniques, movement, or meditation.
How the Brain Processes Emotion
Our lower brain centers, such as the amygdala or hypothalamus, were made to detect and respond to threats, such as a tiger about to eat us. They generate an immediate “fight ot flight” response to increase the odds of survival, but they can become hypersensitive, interfering with our ability to experience the present moment in an open and relaxed way. Daily meditation practice can help to correct this imbalance and allow us to retrain our minds so we are less likely to overreact with intense anger or fear to psychological threats, such as rejection. Being less chronically stressed can also help our immune systems function more efficiently to fight off disease.