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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

How to Decrease the Effects of Stress on Your Health

Dr. Amber Abernathy in her lab

Stress is natural and unavoidable. It is your reaction that you can control. One method of coping with stress is through meditation – and it is easier to introduce into your routine than you may assume. 


Dr. Amber Abernathy, assistant professor in Missouri State University's psychology department and the Mary-Charlotte Bayles Shealy Chair in Conscientious Psychology, explains that the terms mindfulness and meditation are frequently interchanged.


One reason for this ambiguity is that mindfulness has not been properly defined in research. A perfect example is that Jon Kabat-Zinn who is widely attributed as a mindfulness master, writes books that include meditations as a form of raising mindfulness. 


Abernathy has an interest in connecting the dots between psychological factors and physiological responses. Like how mental stress manifests itself in your body, and how this stress affects your overall long-term health.  


She explains how she is using a video game like software to increase participants' mindfulness and show how you can control your physical reactions. This Alive software doesn't teach the user to relax. It teaches self-awareness utilizing biofeedback. 

Nicki received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration from Missouri State in marketing, in 2002 and 2004 respectively. After gaining experience in writing, marketing, special event planning, fundraising and public relations, she returned to the university to work in the office of strategic communication. There she tells the university’s story by sharing the stories of individuals at Missouri State.
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