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Brief answers to big questions. 

The oxford dictionary defines stress as “ A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances ”. As such it seems near impossible to avoid stress altogether. We all have different levels of stress tolerance, and stress can affect us in multiple different ways. According to research the most common triggers of stress and emotional strain come from relationships, professional life and change. Living in the fast-paced digital landscape of the 21st century, it has become vital to stay cool, calm and collected in the face of stressful situations.

Being able to deal with stress is important as it can take a serious toll on our mental and physical health. Some of the most common symptoms of stress are:

  • Difficulty falling asleep and episodes of insomnia.

  • Fluctuations in weight.

  • Development of anxiety, anger and irritability

  • Development of painful headaches

  • A general downward spiral in mood and loss of interest in activities that used to bring us joy.

  • Increased levels of blood pressure.

All these factors can have devastating consequences on productivity, efficiency, health, overall happiness and peace of mind.

5 ways to keep your mind at peace during stressful times

1. Relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques are incredibly effective for calming yourself down and combatting stressful times. Yoga, meditation, deep breathing or a combination of all three can relax both the body and mind. In stressful situations we tend to overthink, overanalyze and overreact. Practicing relaxation techniques allows one to become zen, clear the mind and move on with their daily goals and activities. The great thing about relaxation techniques is that they can be done in the comfort of your own home and don't require additional expensive equipment. You also don't need to be an expert since you can easily find free online classes, guides and tutorials to help get you started.

Deep breathing allows a person to enter a state of restfulness and clear their mind, which directly alleviates anxiety, anger and insomnia. In a study in the journal of Teaching and Learning in Medicine deep breathing meditation techniques helped students under enormous stress persevere and strive. This sentiment was also echoed in a study published in the Journal of Neurological Sciences which concluded that just one session of deep breathing exercise a week significantly lowered stress and increased general mood. Additionally a study in hypertension research revealed that deep breathing exercises worked to lower blood pressure levels. The benefits of deep breathing talk for themselves. We can all do it. So why don't we?

Much like deep breathing exercises, yoga is also incredibly effective in the fight against stress. Exercise, movement and stretching all have immense health benefits. Muscle strength. Flexibility. Reduced risk of injury. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind.

2. Sound and Music

Sounds and music are often overlooked when we talk about tools that help keep your mind at peace during stressful times. In fact, sounds and music are probably the very first calming methods we experience in our lives. There is a reason why parents sing and hum to their crying babies. It's simple, it

Music has been researched to lower blood pressure and help a person relax and “zone-out”. Studies also imply that calming music can reduce cortisol, which is a hormone that gets released in the body during a fight or flight reaction. High cortisol levels lead to increased stress, so as one might expect, lower cortisol levels equal lower stress levels. Music, nature sounds, tantric chants and white noise are now more accessible than ever before with the advent of music streaming. Both Youtube and Spotify have expertly curated playlists for sounds and music to help ease your stress, so don't hesitate to try it out, or better yet, start creating your very own personal relaxation playlist!

3. Work Life Balance

Jobs and careers are one of the leading causes of stress. In today's society, working long hours and working hard are worshipped and celebrated. However this isn't sustainable for a long period of time for a human's psyche. Working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week with 0 breaks will not guarantee you that promotion, however it will almost certainly guarantee burn-out, stress and mental health issues. It is crucial to develop a healthy work life balance. Pick up some hobbies, get out of the office, and spend some time with your family and friends. Recharge and reset your mind. This in turn will help increase your productivity and efficiency while keeping work fresh and fun. If you can feel a burn-out or exhaustion creeping up on yourself, try to get out of your routine and try new things, new experiences and make some new memories.

Struggling to find a new hobby? No better time to get into meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, music or even spending time in nature than now.

4. Nature

Spending time outside in nature is one of the best ways to cope with stress. Going for a hike in a forest is incredibly therapeutic. In nature we feel more in tune with ourselves and our surroundings. In nature we are enveloped by the sights and sounds that help us relax. The wind rustling through the leaves of trees, birds chirping, the soft crackle of the forest soil under your shoes after each step. Walking in the woods is a great form of exercise, and much like everything previously discussed, it is accessible and easy for most people. Spending time in nature can essentially help us disconnect from the things that are causing us stress. The sights, sounds and actions that we associate with stress are non-existent in nature. No office buildings, no emails, no phone calls, no computers, no annoying coworkers, no rush hours. Just you and your thoughts and the fresh non polluted air.

According to a study conducted by Cornell University in 2020, just 10 minutes of spending time in nature is enough to boost happiness, and reduce levels of both physical and mental stress. The American Institute of Stress also claims that venturing outdoors reduces anxiety as well as stress.

5. Sleep

Last but definitely not least is proper sleep and rest.

The average healthy person needs anywhere between 7 - 9 hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately the more stressed we are, the harder it is to fall asleep. It almost feels like a paradox. In order to rid myself of stress and anxiety I need to sleep better, but what can I do when I'm too stressed to sleep. Ironically, worrying about getting enough sleep can easily add to the existing stress a person is already under. Fortunately there are several methods that can help us fall asleep better. Reading before going to bed, not using any electronic devices a few hours before going to bed, meditating and exercising all play a big part in the quest for peaceful sleep.

And if all else fails, try not to worry about it. Just rest and close your eyes. Even if you can't fall asleep, find solace in the fact that just resting is half of the battle and can also help reduce stress, and take you that one step closer to complete relaxation.

Sources cited:

Mayo Clinic. 2020. How Stress Affects Your Body And Behavior . [online] Available at: < 20050987> [Accessed 3 June 2020].

Lexico Dictionaries | English. 2020. Stress | Definition Of Stress By Oxford Dictionary On Lexico.Com Also Meaning Of Stress. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 3 June 2020].

Paul, G., Elam, B. and Verhulst, S., 2007. A Longitudinal Study of Students' Perceptions of Using Deep Breathing Meditation to Reduce Testing Stresses. Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 19(3),pp.287-292.

Perciavalle, V., Blandini, M., Fecarotta, P., Buscemi, A., Di Corrado, D., Bertolo, L., Fichera, F. and Coco, M., 2016. The role of deep breathing on stress. Neurological Sciences , 38(3), pp.451-458.

Knight, W. and Rickard, N., 2001. Relaxing Music Prevents Stress-Induced Increases in Subjective Anxiety, Systolic Blood Pressure, and Heart Rate in Healthy Males and Females. JournalofMusicTherapy, 38(4),pp.254-272. 2020. The Role Of Cortisol In The Body . [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 3 June 2020].

Meredith, G., Rakow, D., Eldermire, E., Madsen, C., Shelley, S. and Sachs, N., 2020. Minimum Time Dose in Nature to Positively Impact the Mental Health of College-Aged Students, and How to Measure It: A Scoping Review. Frontiers in Psychology , 10.

Kahn, PH, Friedman B, Gill B, et al. A plasma display window?—The shifting baseline problem in a technologically mediated natural world. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2008; 28: 192-199.

Meditation can cause positive effects on your brain. Anecdotal evidence on the topic has existed for centuries, but in the current era, neuroimaging technologies can help us measure the physiological correlates of various meditation practices.

There are many meditation traditions, but the umbrella term covers various practices with some essential things in common, such as the self-regulation of attention and emotion (Brandmeyer et. al, 2019). The brain can change over time, this is known as neuroplasticity. This re-wiring can occur out of necessity, such as bypassing an area affected by stroke, but it can also be an intentional, such as through practicing a new skill. Here are 5 of the key ways meditation has been shown to change people's brains:

  1. Less mind-wandering People who meditate regularly demonstrate less activity in the "default mode network" than those who don't. This network is activated when attention isn't focused, and is associated with mind-wandering and rumination (Garrison et al., 2015)

  2. Structural changes for a more interconnected brain In a matched study comparing 46 people with a meditation practice, and 46 without one, the meditators had thicker cortical areas including several in the frontal and temporal lobes. They also showed higher fractional anisotropy values, which are a microstructures correlated with strengthened connectivity. All told, the results suggest structural changes to both grey and white matter. (Kang et al., 2012)

  3. Enhanced attention & sensory processing Additional areas with greater thickness in meditators than controls are the prefrontal cortex and right anterior insula, which are regions associated with attention, planning, and sensory processing. (Fox et al., 2014)

  4. More empathy, less stress The stress hormone cortisol is found in large amounts for those who demonstrate high empathy, this has been measured in a lab setting through showing participants video of people in stressful situations. When given these same measures but instructed to generate compassion through meditation, cortisol levels were significantly reduced. (Cosley et al., 2010)

  5. Reverse brain-aging We lose some of our brain density as we age, this is known as "cortical thinning." One remarkable result of meditation is the slowing of this process in those cortical areas that are thickened though meditation. (Lazar et al., 2005)

In summary, practicing meditation can change both the structure and function of the brain. Some of the largest benefits are in plasticity, thickening of certain cortical areas, and improved focus with reduced stress.

Sources cited:

Brandmeyer, Tracy & Delorme, Arnaud & Wahbeh, Helane. (2019). The neuroscience of meditation: classification, phenomenology, correlates, and mechanisms. 10.1016/bs.pbr.2018.10.020.

Cosley, B.J., McCoy, S.K., Saslow, L.R., et al., 2010. Is compassion for others stress buffer- ing? Consequences of compassion and social support for physiological reactivity to stress. J. Exp. Soc. Psychol. 46, 816–823.

Fox, K.C., Nijeboer, S., Dixon, M.L., et al., 2014. Is meditation associated with altered brain

structure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of morphometric neuroimaging in med-

itation practitioners. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 43, 48–73.

Garrison, K.A., Zeffiro, T.A., Scheinost, D., Constable, R.T., Brewer, J.A., 2015. Meditation leads to reduced default mode network activity beyond an active task. Cogn. Affect. Behav. Neurosci. 15 (3), 712–720.

Kang, D.-H., Jo, H.J., Jung, W.H., et al., 2012. The effect of meditation on brain structure: cortical thickness mapping and diffusion tensor imaging. Soc. Cogn. Affect. Neurosci. 8, 27–33.

Lazar, S.W., Kerr, C.E., Wasserman, R.H., et al., 2005. Meditation experience is associated

with increased cortical thickness. Neuroreport 16, 1893.

Raffone, A., Srinivasan, N. The exploration of meditation in the neuroscience of attention and consciousness. Cogn Process11, 1–7 (2010).

  • aumaspace

Since the dawn of industrialization, humanity has been restlessly pursuing ever more growth.

To accomplish this goal, we have been optimizing and rationalizing the world around us, making everything increasingly more powerful, more effective, more connected and much faster than before. We are now reaching a point, where this constant optimization is demanding ourselves to never stop; to never slow down and rest. We need to “live” faster to keep up with the world we have created. Our very own minds are forced to keep processing more at such a rapid rate we have never experienced before.

Over 50% of people feel burnt-out because of work and more than 90% of workers report stress at their workplace. Ironically, to put it in cold hard cash, stress and anxiety cost companies $1 trillion in lost productivity. This is not sustainable and it is the main reason why we started Auma. In fact, it all started when we struggled with immense burn outs several years ago.

The stressed times we had lead us down a never ending rabbit hole of mental problems, suffering and complete exhaustion. Before everything was great, later, everything was not. We had worked non-stop and obsessively in our areas of interest, and continued to perform at the highest level. And it was fine. Hard work was needed. But the problem was that we were not aware of ourselves. We didn’t have control over our minds. We were mindlessly pushing and pursuing until we ran out of energy. Something had to change. Medicine and job centers were out of the question. We needed to cure the root cause and the only solution was to dig deep into ourselves and find positive habits. Ironically, it became self-evident that the act of doing nothing was the answer to everything.

Experiences like sitting in silence, meditating, breathing, walking in the forest and completely

disconnecting became the new normal. Being mindful and noticing the space between thoughts felt liberating and steered us away from the need of filling the deep void in our minds. Accepting who you were at any given moment was the cure and still is an ongoing learning process. And this learning process led us to the path of designing and developing the most advanced space for your

mind - Auma Space 1. It became our mission to make daily private and mindful mini-retreat

moments to each and every individual in urban environments to help to change the way we

behave, act, think, work and live.

What is Auma?

Auma is a new personal meditation and relaxation experience designed for workplaces and companies, who aspire to offer employees and customers a private space for active mental recovery during work.
Auma uses a unique combination of light, sound, low-frequency vibration and spatial design with zero distractions to achieve an unparalleled, immersive experience that redefines how you tap into the power of your mind.

Our high performing lifestyles can be challenging, but we believe anyone can cope with our inner chaos and become better. Every single day. Happier, more creative, more productive, more empathetic and less stressed. And when we as individuals upgrade ourselves, organizations and societies will thrive. One of the best ways to achieve this at any given moment, is to just breathe and observe. To completely accept ourselves.

At the end of the day, you are fully responsible of yourself and nobody else than you can

completely change you. But there are extensive resources and tools that can guide you to start your journey and build positive habits. We truly believe that Auma will support you on that path.

Humanity will continue to pursue growth, to constantly optimize and rationalize, and that is great. But in order to achieve this goal, we need to give our mind the space it needs.

Welcome to Auma.

Kasimir & Niilo

Co-founders of Auma Space

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