Inflammation is of two basic types: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is the body's healing response, and chronic is when our healing response goes into overdrive and we have low-grade inflammatory molecules being released into the bloodstream when they are not needed. This is what happens when we are stressed out. Chronic inflammation is associated with many of our world’s preventable, non-communicable diseases, including certain heart and digestive disorders.
The good news is that in some cases chronic inflammation can be slowed down or reversed by making some lifestyle changes. This is what Dr. Dean Ornish showed with his heart-disease reversal programs and what Dr. Deepak Chopra has shown in his studies on meditation and yoga. Simple interventions such as a minute of yoga or a minute of slow breathing throughout the day whenever you feel stressed is one way that you can begin to take the management of your stress levels into your own hands, and through that, keep your levels of inflammation lower as well.
If you can manage to do just a minute of breathing whenever you feel stress coming on, it will become a new habit, and you might find that over time your body’s natural response to stressful situations becomes not the release of adrenaline and cortisol, but the immediate practice of a few, slow, conscious, healing breaths. Try it and see what happens!