How to use Yoga to Reduce Anxiety
Posted on April 13 2017
At some point in all of our lives, we will feel anxiety and fear. We worry about ourselves and those around us. We worry about the future even when we know that worrying isn't productive. Sometimes that anxiety is short lived, but other times it sticks around and impacts our day-to-day life. In fact, nearly twenty five percent of adults will experience prolonged and sometimes severe anxiety at some point. This anxiety can lead to health problems and panic attacks. It can interfere with your lifestyle, appetite, sleep, job and relationships. Anxiety can lead to seeking harmful outlets such as smoking, alcohol, drugs and unhealthy eating.
Stressful events such as a job interview or a big exam can make anyone feel a bit anxious. And sometimes a little anxiety is a good thing. It can push us to prepare. However, excessive anxiety and worry can be harmful. If you suffer from consistent anxiety in your life, yoga can be a great method to reduce it. Here are five ways that yoga reduces anxiety and excessive worrying.
Exercise Boosts your Endorphins
Like all forms of exercise, yoga provides your body with endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters in your brain that instantly decrease stress and anxiety while improving your mood. Have you ever finished a workout in a worse mood than you started? It isn't likely. Endorphins are amazing. They are essentially our body's form of an antidepressant.
Yoga Reduces Tension in your Muscles
Anxiety leaves your muscles in knots. That is because when we worry and feel stressed, our bodies naturally tighten up. You may not even realize it right away, but after a long, stressful day, you'll probably find yourself rubbing your shoulders. Prolonged stress and anxiety leads to muscle tension. Yoga stretches and lengthens your muscles and relaxes the sore muscles along your back, shoulders, neck and entire body. Yoga also improves posture over time which helps reduce tight muscles.
Yoga Teaches you to Focus on your Breath
If you have ever experienced a panic attack, you'll know that it is often difficult to catch your breath. And if you feel as though you cannot breathe, the anxiety and panic often increases. However, when you practice yoga, you will learn how to focus on your breath. You will learn how to control your breathing and calm your body. When you learn this skill, you will be able to use it in other areas of your life. Any time you feel anxiety or stress, focus on your breath. Take slow deep breaths and feel your body relax.
Yoga Increases your Self-Esteem
Yoga is challenging. Even experienced yogis have certain yoga poses that are difficult for them. Challenge is good for both your mind and body. When you engage in an activity that is challenging, you gain confidence. You learn how to stretch your personal and physical boundaries. You step out of your comfort zone. You learn to handle challenge. Your self confidence and self-esteem will soar, and your anxiety will decrease because you know that you can handle the challenges that life brings.
Yoga Emphasizes Community
Often those suffering with anxiety feel alone in the world. They feel lonely and isolated. These feelings can lead to deeper anxiety and panic. However, the yoga community is a strong support system. The people you will meet at yoga classes are intertwined in a very real way. They will be able to help you find peace and strength deep within yourself. It is so important to find a strong support system when experiencing anxiety, and the yoga community is the perfect one!
Yoga is a highly effective way to reduce anxiety. Yoga helps lower stress and reduce the health concerns that accompany it. If you are suffering from anxiety and stress in your life, I encourage you to try out yoga. See for yourself how yoga can change your life.