Yoga helps us to manage stress by promoting relaxation and a sense of well-being. It is useful to understand the science behind the calming effect of yoga so it can, in turn, help us to take a more proactive approach to a less stressed life and more positive health outcomes.
We tend to think that all stress is bad but healthy levels of stress – eustress – can help us to perform at our best. Too much negative stress is associated with mental health imbalances and chronic pain including heart disease, stroke and cancer. It helps to acknowledge that stress is not necessarily causing these diseases. Scientific research suggests the the greatest indicator of whether you will suffer from these diseases or not is not how much stress you experience, but how you deal with and think about stress. This means that when we experience negative emotions when we feel stressed, we are more likely going to experience negative health outcomes.
Yoga is an effective tool for managing stress because it helps us regulate our emotional responses to stressors by teaching us to become the observer of our thoughts and feelings, and through improving our mind-body connection (subject covered in another blog)
Yoga can stop stress from affecting our physical well-being by helping us deal with stress more positively and by encouraging healthier life choices.
Did you know?
Hans Selye coined the term “stress” in 1936 to describe the body response to change. He identified two types of stress:
- Eustress, which is beneficial stress such as interesting and motivating work
- Distress, which is real or imagined stress that puts more pressure on our systems