Stress is an inseparable part of life, with the constant flow of work or school keeping us busy, it can get somewhat overwhelming at times. As is known, stress can have very negative effects on the mind and body which can greatly affect the quality of life we live. The key to lowering stress levels isn’t cut-and-dry. There are many methods and tricks that can ease the tension, with some being more effective than others. Of course, there are also medical ways to reduce stress levels. Whether you want to improve your quality of life or just pick up a new healthy hobby, yoga is definitely something that could benefit everyone. Yoga is an ancient practice that focuses on mindfulness and the correct way to breathe in order to calm and center the body. It has many benefits, with countless studies conducted over the years to check how effective it is for various things. One thing it’s known to be great for is managing and reducing stress. How does yoga help with stress, you ask? Well, here we’ve gathered a few main ways yoga can aid in lowering stress levels.
One of the main things yoga focuses on is stretching. This can lead to increased flexibility as well as improve one’s balance. As a result, this can decrease tension in the body that can build up over time. Essentially, yoga can act the same way as a soothing massage and relax the body, reducing stress in the muscles and joints.
Just like any form of exercise, yoga has a positive effect on both the mind and body. It releases endorphins in the brain which improve one’s mood. Endorphins are a type of hormone that has a positive effect on the body and can result in what is called ‘a runner’s high’. What it means is that when you exercise, your mood can be elevated for the rest of the day as a result and even turn to a feeling of euphoria at times. Essentially, this hormone can literally improve your mood through exercise. And a good mood definitely decreases stress.
Another main point of yoga is learning to breathe more effectively. Breathing directly relates to anxiety, as when we get stressed or anxious, our breathing becomes shallow and rapid. Learning to control the breathing and slow it down gradually can help with reducing anxiety. Even when you’re not doing yoga, you will still have the tools to calm yourself down in anxious situations.
Clear The Mind
A significant benefit to yoga is a similar one to meditation. What they both help to do is clear the mind. One thing that can induce high-stress levels is thinking and worrying too much. What yoga does is force someone to be present, to focus on the way their body is moving and how they’re breathing. In turn, this can help clear the mind by paying attention only to the ‘now’. In addition, the stretching helps with letting go of any stress or tension. All of these things can lead to a calmer and more collected mindset, with a deeper understanding of how our own minds work. When we have this understanding, it becomes easier to cope with stress.
Lower Cortisol Levels
Yoga can help decrease the level of the stress hormone, cortisol. This can help prevent stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Having lower cortisol levels is immensely beneficial to one’s health, as high cortisol levels can lead to both physical and mental health problems.
Improve Sleep Quality
A great effect of lowering stress is a very basic thing: better sleep quality. Not sleeping enough or well can lead to health problems and have a negative effect on one’s quality of life overall. Aside from fatigue, sleep problems can result in high blood pressure, depression, and even obesity. The body needs sleep to gain energy and without it, it has trouble to function at all. Since yoga relaxes the mind and body and reduces stress, the body has an easier time producing melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps the body fall asleep and sleep better.