Going through periods of stress can be a trying time, both physically and emotionally, so anything we can do for ourselves to ease the pressure is a good thing.

Jillian Lavender, director and co-founder of the London Meditation Centre, said finding natural ways to relax can make us healthier in the long run.

"Meditation is one of the most effective ways to release deep-rooted stress from the body," she explained.

"Whilst we often think of stress as being all in the mind, it actually resides in the body. Stress comes about through excitation and overload. If the body is not able to recover and get back to a point of equilibrium then we store that stress in our system."

Ms Lavender noted that over time stress will start to manifest in emotional imbalance, bad behaviour or disease in the body, which is why many of us tend to overreact to little things when we feel stressed.

"Meditation changes all this by giving us a daily release valve. By de-exciting the system we can allow the body to heal and the deep stresses and fatigue to dissolve smoothly without us having to involve others in the process," she added.

Using quality Yoga mats, you could try meditating for 20 minutes a day - or whenever you feel particularly stressed - by finding a quiet place, closing your eyes and concentrating on your breathing.

Research from the University of California, San Francisco found that schoolteachers who completed a short, intensive meditation programme felt less depressed, anxious and stressed, and more compassionate and aware of other people’s feelings as a result.

Lead author Margaret Kemeny commented: “The findings suggest that increased awareness of mental processes can influence emotional behaviour. The study is particularly important because opportunities for reflection and contemplation seem to be fading in our fast-paced, technology-driven culture.”

Posted by Sam Wallace