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September 2014

Allostatic Load and Stress-Related Disease

Allostatic load (AL) is a term used to describe the cumulative physiological wear and tear that results from repeated efforts to adapt to stressors over time. Unlike other psychobiological models of stress that focus on a single outcome variable (e.g., cortisol) or physiological system (e.g., the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal –HPA- axis), the AL model emphasizes multi-system dysregulation. By combining multiple biological risk factors into a composite score, risk for a variety of stress-exacerbated diseases can be assessed in healthy individuals prior to signs and symptoms of clinical disease. Also, use of a composite AL may allow for quantification of stress burden across

Easing Anxiety Through Mindful Breathing

I suffer from anxiety. And when I say suffer, I mean suffer. It sucks. I have constant baseline low-level anxiety. When I get spooked or ‘triggered’, I can go into full-on meltdown mode, which quickly progresses to ‘freeze mode’ or getting ‘locked up’. I have a few different methods of trying to steer the ship in another direction when it feels like the situation is escalating. The easiest and most reliable of these methods is something I refer to as mindful breathing; or simply, “my breathing” or “my exercises”. Here’s how it’s done: Close your eyes. Take a breath, and