GABA this!

Anxiety seems like a sort of reoccurring theme of the decade, and has a big presence on portaltopeace.com (a website that I’m working to develop).  Today alone, I received 10 Google alerts related to anxiety: from unforeseen new levels (among U.S. college freshman) and unusually high levels (Cairo and Israeli residents) to a fullblown epidemic in the workforce, according to psychotherapist Jonathan Berent, co-author of Work Makes Me Nervous.  Just thinking about it all really can make you nervous but there was good news today as well!

Many of us already suspected this but science has now found a direct connection between yoga and an increased presence of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. Like me, you may have never heard of GABA but you’ve been seeking it for a really long time. GABA is a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system responsible for reduced anxiety, increased relaxation, and enhanced muscle tone…everything on the short list, right? 

As announced in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, scientists compared the results of two exercise groups: healthy adults, who participated in 60-minute yoga sessions 3 times weekly (for 12 weeks) and a comparison group who did a metabolically matched walking program for the same length of time.  The yoga participants experienced greater improvement in mood, a decrease in anxiety and showed increased levels of GABA (!!) in the brain.  This demonstrated, perhaps for the first time, that long-term behavioral interventions can actually affect GABA levels.  What is really interesting is that pharmacological agents are frequently used to increase GABA activity in order to reduce anxiety and improve mood.  Obviously yoga is less risky and a greener alternative.  So reach for the mat instead of the pill?

 Thank you Brain Blogger for this great information.  Read more at: http://brainblogger.com/2011/02/08/strike-a-pose-to-reduce-anxiety/

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How to launch a dream

About two years ago, I began developing the content for a website that would bring together the wisdom of four ancient faith traditions: Islam, Judaism, Christianity and the Eastern path (which incorporates several Eastern-based faith traditions, like Buddhism).  In some ways I feel underqualified but it’s been a fabulous journey already.   There is so much wisdom and beauty out there, I wanted one place, on the web, where we could access some of it.

Within the site there are five key challenges that we all tend to face (some more than others).  These challenges are: anxiety, work, relationships, happiness and peace.  For each challenge, I’ve located quotations from the ancient text of all four traditions.  In addition, the scientific component has been really exciting.  Nearly daily, I’m finding new studies and discoveries related to the challenges, such as the new data pertaining to happiness and income, which came out in the end of 2010. 

The site isn’t up yet.  A few of the designers couldn’t grasp the notion (go figure LOL) and a few others wanted too much $$.  This blog is my way of expressing, in a separate forum, the path to portaltopeace.com; that is the challenges, the victories, and the story as I eventually reach my goal of creating a unique community where we can talk to each other, seek the latest news, address our challenges and hopefully gain from the insight of experts, ancient wisdom and science.   Talk soon!  Laura

Thoughts?

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