Yoga and meditation have become increasingly popular in today’s busy society, especially which stress is all around us. It may come from work, relationships, financial pressures, and other situations.
According to the American Institute of Stress:
- About 33 percent of people report feeling extreme stress.
- 77 percent of people experience stress that affects their physical health.
- 73 percent of people have stress that impacts their mental health.
- 76 percent cited money and work as the leading cause of their stress.
- 48 percent of people have trouble sleeping because of stress.
The statistics above show that stress is a big issue and that we should learn how to manage it so it won’t affect our health and overall well-being.
Although we can’t avoid stress, there are things that we can do to control stress. Yoga and meditation are very effective in managing stress. The philosophy of yoga and meditation is to improve one’s well-being and reduce physical and emotional pain.
The difference between yoga and meditation
These two practices are seemingly interchangeable because they are closely related. Let us understand the differences between these two practices.
Meditation is practiced by sitting with your thoughts in a quiet space with eyes closed for a certain period of time. It is about training yourself to be mindful and get a healthy sense of perspective towards life.
When you meditate, you are resting your mind and attaining a state of consciousness. You are fully awake and alert, but your mind is not focused on what is happening around you. Instead, you are systematically exploring your inner dimensions to find peace, happiness, and harmony.
A recent report shows the growing popularity of meditation worldwide. It is estimated that 200–500 million people worldwide practice meditation. The majority of the people or 76% of those who practice mediation said that general wellness is their primary motive.
Meditation on stress management
Mediation has been one of the most popular stress relievers for many. Millions of people practice meditation to give them a sense of calmness, peace of mind, and positive mood and outlook.
One of the reasons why it gained popularity is because of its convenience and efficacy. You don’t need any equipment or tools for you to start meditation. Also, you can easily practice it whenever you need it the most.
According to a research published by the American Psychological Association, mindfulness-based therapy, such as mediation. It can treat people who are suffering from addiction, depression, and pain. Such therapy is also effective in reducing stress, depression, and anxiety.
This is a physical practice of focusing on breath and movement of your body while holding and transitioning from one pose to another. It also involves the systematic practice of physical exercise, meditation, positive thinking, mental and breath control, and relaxation.
There are many styles and forms of yoga. Hatha yoga is a good choice when it comes to stress management. This is also a perfect choice for beginners because of its slower pace and easier movements.
Other types and styles of yoga are: Vinyasa, Iyengar, Kundalini, Ashtanga, Bikram, Yin, Restorative, Prenatal, Anusara, and Jivamukti.
Yoga on stress management
By practicing yoga every day, you will feel more relaxed as it helps take away the stressors in your everyday life. By focusing on your breath and body movements, you are calming your mind. This can help you relax and manage stress and anxiety.
Also, with the advancement of technology, various digital tools, software, and applications have been developed to enhance the yoga experience. For example, yoga software or applications for meditation can assist practitioners in their yoga journey by providing guided sessions, meditation exercises, posture corrections, and even progress tracking. They make yoga more accessible to people of all levels and can be a valuable aid in managing stress effectively.
Benefits of yoga and meditation for stress management include:
1. Reduce symptoms of anxiety disorder
Meditation can reduce symptoms of anxiety, such as panic attacks, phobias, paranoia, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and social anxiety. Research shows that engaging in the home practice of formal meditation exercises can significantly improve mindfulness and well-being.
Yoga has also been shown to help people reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses, anxiety, and depression. A study also shows that it can be considered as a complementary medicine and reduce the use of drugs. Practicing yoga can improve psychological conditions, increase positive emotions, maintain mental balance, and help with monitoring and managing stress.
2. Develop a stronger self-awareness
Yoga and meditation help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to those around you. This is by becoming present for the present moment and acknowledging the experiences in our bodies, minds, and emotions.
You provide a message to your body when you are doing yoga postures or meditation that leads you to a relaxed state of mind. As a result, you feel more energized and happy.
3. Improve sleep
Having enough sleep makes you more resilient to stress, enables you to manage your emotions better, and makes you less susceptible to anxiety and depression.
Stress, anxiety, and tension are the major causes of why people have a hard time falling asleep. Practicing yoga and meditation will help you fall asleep faster and sleep better as you wake up less frequently throughout the night.
4. Pain management
Pain can be elevated in stressful conditions. Chronic stress is a factor that contributes to chronic pain. Performing relaxation exercises, like yoga and meditation as part of your pain-management plan, can naturally help you relieve pain.
Yoga and meditation calm your body and mind. When you are in a calm state, the stress hormones in your blood are reduced, your muscles relax, and your sense of well-being heightens.
5. Emotional healing
Yoga and meditation release the constriction in your muscles, which contains emotional toxicity. As you stretch your muscles and do breathing practices, you control your body and mind to facilitate emotional release. This conditions your body to start emotional healing. You can use yoga and meditation as a rapid response technique during the moments when you feel angry, sad, anxious, or depressed. This is by strengthening your ability not to get overwhelmed by your thoughts and emotions.
Regardless of what practice you choose, it is undeniable that yoga and meditation are good for your body and mind. Both practices may help you choose to include healthy habits to your lifestyle or to relieve stress and improve overall well-being.
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