Everyone suffers from stress from time to time. There are times of the year which are significantly more stressful than others. For university students, exam time can be extremely stressful. The days or hours leading to a big exam can bring about symptoms of anxiety and worry. For other people, day-to-day life can feel extremely stressful when trying to juggle housework, relationship and work demands. We often hear people say “argh, there aren’t enough hours in the day.”
Too much stress can take a tremendous toll on the body and unnecessarily drain energy resources. When we are in a constant state of stress, our sympathetic nervous system is heightened and our body and mind are tense. An estimated 80 to 90 percent of visits to the doctor are stress-related. With the limited time that doctors have with patients, it is not surprising that less than 3% of doctors are able to discuss stress-reduction techniques.
Some people find that they smoke, drink, or eat unhealthy foods in response to stress. But these types of activities can actually increase stress levels, making them very counterproductive. We all know that exercise is an effective way to reduce stress, as your body releases ‘happy hormones’ that boost your mood when working out. Unfortunately, exercise is often the first thing to be cut out of our day when feel particularly stressed.
In a recent national survey, over 85% of people who practised yoga reported that it helped relieve stress. Specific yoga poses can induce the relaxation response in the body. Calming and restorative poses along with controlled breathing activate the parasympathetic nervous system, bringing the mind and body to a calm and relaxed state.
Yoga also interrupts worry cycles. Many of us know what it is like to be stuck in a worry rut and be consumed by our thoughts. When we step on the yoga mat, we have an opportunity to step out of the cycle. Yoga gives us the opportunity to practice letting go of these worries and focus on our body and our breathing.
I think Yogabomb’s headline speaks for itself and how it is a place that people can go to alleviate stress:
Yogabomb is for normal, busy people who want to get fit, toned, balanced and stretched while taking time out to create headspace and mental calm.
Another great coping mechanism for stress is to make a human connection. At Yogabomb, you instantly feel welcome. The people who attend are amazing and beautiful. Lou has created a community feeling within the studio. Whether you want to sit quietly in a corner or join in with the natter and patter, Yogabomb is a wonderful place to alleviate stress through both the physical benefits and the benefits of being part of a community.
To conclude my final blog for Mental Health Awareness Week, whether you have a long-standing mental health condition or you are just having a stressful day, I believe yoga will help you. Yogabomb is a wonderful and friendly place to find your flow. Thank you to Lou for being open about mental health, donating money towards a wonderful cause and being an inspiring mentor.
Tracy Donachie, MSc in Performance Psychology.