Improve your mental health with Yoga

Most of us are aware that if we don't take care of our physical health, we can put ourselves at risk of all kinds of illnesses and disorders. By getting out and exercising regularly, as well as eating well, we can take care of our physical health. 

What about mental health, though? It's something that's harder to take care of, as there's no one obvious way to take care of it. With people under more stress and strain than ever before, it's harder to find ways to stay mentally healthy. 

That's why many are turning to yoga. Along with the physical benefits, there's lots of mental benefits to be had, too. Here's how it can keep you mentally healthy, and able to cope with anything that life throws at you. 

1.    Boost Your Concentration And Focus

For so many people, it's hard to stay focused in daily life. There's so much going on and you're meant to be handling it all. What can you do to stay ahead of the curve? Many reach burnout as they try and stay ahead of their workloads and their social obligations, without taking any time out for themselves. That's not going to help your mental health in the long run, though. 

When you take part in yoga though, you'll actually boost your concentration and focus as you'll need to focus during your session. Imagine having to do a tree pose. It's actually very hard to think of anything else as you aim to keep your balance as you do so. You'll be able to clear your thoughts and really think about what you're doing, making it much easier to focus in every day life. 

2.    Maintain Brain Health

There's lots of talk of 'keeping your brain young', but what does that mean exactly? Essentially, staying active and maintaining brain health will help keep it young and resilient, well into old age. That's something you want to be looking into, especially if you want to stave off conditions like dementia. 

“Yoga is an excellent way to maintain brain health, as it helps improve brain function” says Jenny Wilde, a health writer with Bigassignments. “Studies have shown it's helpful at all ages, and the sooner you start, the better.” If you want to improve your overall brain health, yoga is an excellent tool to have. 

3.    Get Out Of Fight Or Flight

You are probably aware of the 'fight or flight' response, where a person either runs away or stops and fights in the face of danger. If you're someone that suffers with anxiety, you know the feeling all too well. Being stuck in 'fight or flight' is exhausting, and isn't good for either your mental or physical health. However, as you have anxiety, it's so difficult to get into a relaxed state. 

That's where yoga can help. When you practice yoga, you'll be able to move out of the 'fight or flight' response, which comes from the sympathetic nervous system, to the 'rest and digest' state, which is associated with the parasympathetic nervous system. As you're starting your yoga session and start breathing deeply, you'll be able to calm down your nervous system and start feeling more relaxed. 

4.    Improve Your Relationships

Yes, really. As you continue practising yoga, you'll find that you're becoming calmer and more relaxed in your every day life. That has a lot of benefits, such as helping you keep your cool when things go wrong, or deal with issues at work without getting too stressed out. 

The same goes for your relationships. When you're already on edge, it's very easy to snap at your loved ones, or treat them less than compassionately. By doing yoga, you'll be more centered and find it easier to meet them in the middle. That will help improve those relationships in the long term. 

5.    Release Stress Through Yoga

When you think of releasing stress through a physical activity, you'll think of something more active and strenuous, such as a soccer game or other sports. However, you can absolutely release stress through yoga, and it's something anyone can do. When you practice yoga, you're connecting mindfully with your body, and moving it in a mindful way. 

It's also worth looking at how yoga works on a spiritual level. When you do yoga, you're shifting energy through your chakras, and so helping move those energetic blockages. That's often why you feel so much better after a session. No matter the reason, yoga will always help you decrease stress. That's why it's such a popular pastime for those with busy lives. 

6.    Help With Anxiety And Depression

There are so many people who will have to deal with anxiety or depression at some point in their lives. As a person living in the modern world, there's no denying that you're going to struggle at some point. Many who are living with depression and anxiety are turning to yoga, as it offers a lot to help you combat these conditions. 

This is because yoga combines a lot into every session. For example, you'll get exercise, meditation, relaxation, and socialisation if you do it in a group. As mentioned above, you're working to regulate your stress response system, which helps you stay in the present. That's something that helps bring balance to your life, allowing you to stay in the here and now and not focus on the negative things that you're experiencing. 

7.    Control Your Physical Health

As you may already know, your physical and mental health are linked. As such, if you're struggling with your mental health, then your physical health will suffer, too. That's something that you want to avoid if at all possible. Luckily, yoga has some real positive physical effects that will help with your mental health. 

“Yoga can help reduce your heart rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure” says Paula Cowen, a yoga blogger from Assignment Help. “As such, that's going to have a real effect on your mental health.” When you're reducing your heart rate, you're going to feel much calmer overall. As such, you're going to feel so much better after every session. 

8.    Yoga Can Help With PTSD

We've seen how yoga can help with common mental health conditions, but what about more serious conditions, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Of course, yoga isn't the cure all for issues like these, but it can seriously help those with the disorder to combat the symptoms and live calmer and happier lives. 

This works in the same way yoga helps with stress. As you practise yoga, you'll be reducing your heart rate along with focusing on the here and now. When you do this, you're training yourself to focus on the present in a calmer state. Studies have shown some of the benefits of yoga can help improve sleep, reduce stress, and increase resilience for those with PTSD. 

As you can see, yoga can help your mental health in myriad different ways. Whether you're dealing with too much stress, anxiety or depression, or even more serious disorders, yoga can help you cope with it and start finding a path forward. 

Source: Jenny Han is a lifestyle writer and editor

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