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How yoga can help better enjoy mental health during stressful times

Yoga, meaning ‘union’, is an ancient science that has fast gained popularity across the world over the last few years. Backed by the philosophy of achieving a sense of oneness between one’s soul and absolute reality, Yoga is known for its healing effect on the body, mind and soul.

From being viewed as a form of physical exercise in the western world to becoming a holistic approach for integration of the body and the mind, yoga has emerged as a major therapeutic intervention for both physical and mental illnesses.

Different researchers have highlighted the positive effects of yoga on problems including glucose tolerance, cardiorespiratory performance, and musculoskeletal system. In addition, yoga has also been useful in treating various psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia among others.

Yoga and mental health

Owing to Yoga’s comprehensive healing effect, it has been integrated with other therapeutic approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. There are evidences that Yoga may help the brain work better.

Some of the proven benefits of Yoga include:

  1. Improved depression treatment outcomes: People who practice yoga regularly are less vulnerable to depressive symptoms. Yoga is also associated with increased secretion of serotonin, a key hormone that stabilizes mood and evokes feelings of happiness and well-being. It is often used as a complementary therapy to mitigate adverse effects of medication and improve depression among patients.
  2. Better brain health: What weight lifting does to muscles is what Yoga does to brain cells. It helps develop new connections and improve cognitive skills, including enhanced learning and improved memory. Yoga also empowers certain parts of the brain involved in attention, memory, awareness, language and thought.
  3. Managed stress levels: People struggling with persistent stress are more vulnerable to the risk of developing mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Practicing yoga and meditation are known as effective techniques to relieve and manage both acute and chronic stress. It also helps individuals overcome related comorbidities and enjoy a better quality of life.
  4. Augmented mood: In addition to boosting mood by lowering stress hormone levels, bringing more oxygenated blood to the brain and enhancing the production of feel-good chemicals called endorphins, yoga offers other benefits too.It can improve mood by increasing levels of a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is useful in decreasing anxiety and improving mood. It can help relieve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, it is not used as a standalone treatment but as an add-on therapeutic approach to help manage emotional arousal and traumatic memories.
  5. Sense of well-being: Evidences suggest that yoga can help create a sense of well-being, improved self-confidence, improved efficiency, lowered irritability, feelings of relaxation, increased attentiveness, and an optimistic outlook toward life.

People who practice yoga regularly experience better energy balance, which is significant in improving the immune system. It can also help inhibit brain areas responsible for evoking rage, fear, and aggressiveness, while stimulating the rewarding pleasure centers and a state of bliss and pleasure. Further, this inhibition leads to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety.

The road ahead

In today’s world, mental health problems can bother anyone. It is important to note that most of these problems are either treatable or manageable with medication management, psychotherapy and alternative therapeutic interventions. However, most of these cases remain undiagnosed and thereby untreated.

If you or someone you know is showing signs of a behavioral problem or a mental health disorder, call now at Athena Behavioral Health’s helpline number 9289086193 to know more about our services and admission guidelines. Alternatively, you can also chat online with our trained representatives. We can help restore harmony in your life.

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