Stress is Ruining Our Lives - Can Yoga Be the Answer?

20 November 2017

On a very physical level, practicing yoga soothes the breathing, lowers blood pressure and decreases the heart-rate, not just during the class, but the next time you encounter a stressful situation, your mind and your body becomes better at handling it. It has a potential to do wonders for slowing and calming down our anxious lives.

You know that feeling when you open your eyes in the morning, take one look in the mirror and anxiety starts creeping in your belly? I’ve had that feeling for years while changing various corporate jobs that didn’t suit me, and spending time surrounded by negative people completely drained my energy. And that is only one little piece in an enormous stress-ridden puzzle of our modern lives.

We all have our daily sources of frustration, be it a poor relationship, an unfulfilled dream, dissatisfaction with your looks or unrewarding work. When they start piling up, they impact our wellbeing, sense of self-worth and our appearance, which is perhaps where these signs initially become apparent most often.

But there’s so much more to it than getting rid of the sagging eyebags or worry wrinkles between your eyebrows – it’s a matter of finding your stress-relief to beat the source of the problem. And yoga has become my go-to healing strategy.

 

The self-caring mindset

The main byproduct of stress is that it pushes us into a self-destructive behavioral mode, meaning that our brain chemistry changes, our hormones are out of balance and we are more likely to resort to over-eating, drinking alcohol or other vices like smoking to relieve the discomfort. But these little “pleasures” are only temporary escapes, and they are damaging in the long-run.

The first “side-effect” of doing yoga for me became obvious as I started treating my needs as a priority, as opposed to staying up insanely late to handle work presentations. I realized that yoga is a challenging system, both for my mind and my body, and overcoming my physical limitations had a profound impact on my mind – I started making better choices, ones that were in line with my actual health needs.

 

All-around strength and stability

Yoga asanas target your physical, mental and emotional strength, by putting you in demanding positions and requiring you to control your movements as well as your breathing. It puts you in a position of stress for your muscles, bones and connective tissue, and then asks you to relieve that tension through breathing and controlled movement.

This attitude can translate into your daily life, as yoga gives you the ability and the tools to master any situation, to simultaneously let go and take over, to embrace stress in order to vanquish it. Amidst turmoil, you can remain still, maintain your stability and clear your mind so that a solution can emerge. You attain a high level of awareness of your body and your thought processes, and in time, yoga becomes not just a physical routine, but a way of life.

 

Choices of self-love

As much as yoga has helped me restore the glimmer of joy in my eyes even in face of adversity, and improved my confidence by reshaping my self-image from its core, it cannot erase some of the most obvious consequences of my stress-riddled life. They come in various shapes and forms, from my deeply wrinkled brow, to slowly graying hair, but during my stay in Perth, I decided to give my skin the much-needed boost.

In the name of my all-around makeover, I decided to use my travel time to restore the look of my skin with the help of dermal fillers in Perth which helped improve my skin’s natural elasticity, revitalize its collagen production, and thus boost its resilience to future stress exposure. Furthermore, I reshaped my diet, curbed my sugar cravings and started focusing on learning new skills to improve every aspect of myself.

 

Dealing with the cause and the consequence

The main reason why so many other strategies have failed to help me cope with stress is because they predominantly focus on the aftermath, and not the root of the issue. Yoga, on the other hand, gives you a safe space, your healing sanctuary where you can face your insecurities, problems and dilemmas head-on. It aims to help you restore balance in your life through anchoring you in the now, revealing the value of being in the present moment, unencumbered by past mistakes or the unknown of future.

On a very physical level, practicing yoga soothes your breathing, lowers blood pressure and decreases your heart-rate, not just during the class, but the next time you encounter a stressful situation, your mind and your body becomes better at handling it. By working on your fitness, you also improve your sleep, and combined with a healthy diet, yoga has a potential to do wonders for slowing and calming down our anxious lives.

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Profile image Written by Gabriella Diesendorf

Gabriella Diesendorf is a freelance writer from Australia and a devoted mother. She loves badgering about beauty, green lifestyle choices and parenting techniques, and if you mention attachment parenting or natural makeup she will bore you to death.