It’s undeniable that stress and anxiety issue has become increasingly pervasive in this modern world that we live in. Again, and again, we see people being overwhelmed with pressure coming from all aspects of their lives, and thus resulting in a noticeable downwards trend in the state of people’s emotional well-being. There are times when we would spend hours worrying about something that has yet to happen, or just be too bothered by what others thought or said – because, well, that was me, drowning in that anxiety whirlpool.
Anxiety disorder was not easy to deal with, though you might wonder, how hard could it be? Well, there are many times where I will be in such a heightened state of nervousness and fear, which would escalate to the point where I would start feeling shortness of breath. There’s constant excessive worrying in life, which makes daily life difficult to focus and concentrate. Sleep disturbance became a norm, and insomnia somewhat triggers more anxiety, and thus becoming a vicious cycle. Anxiety can also bring about fatigue and restlessness, with days you would not want to get out of bed nor socialize. And the symptoms go on and on. I had to deal with it. I had to live this. I had to address this anxiety.
I sought professional help, and was prescribed with medication. But that’s not a long term solution. I know I cannot, and should not rely on that treatment plan. That’s when I was recommended to practise meditations and mindfulness, and in short -Yoga.
Though Yoga is said to be able to relieve anxiety, most people will tend to simply follow the teacher blindly and perform the poses to the best of their ‘looks’, rather than how the poses should feel. And many of them would therefore not know that, these poses, known as asanas, actually can calm your nervous system if you do them correctly with the right alignments. They help to lower tensions and promote relaxations of the muscles in the body, as physical tensions are what we actually experience in most fight or flight situations.
Many of the controlled breathing yoga exercises known as Pranayama, actually soothes our nervous system as well. It teaches us to breathe with awareness, focusing on nothing but our breaths in that present moment. As we breathe slowly and deeply, we will feel much calmer and less uneasy, and this controlled breathing will deactivate the body’s stress response.
Also, Yoga teaches us to have flexible and healthy mindsets. Many of us were stuck in the anxiety cycle due to many rigid and inflexible mindsets. We run away from triggers instead of facing them. Through Yama and Niyama, it teaches me to be more self-accepting, and feel contentment, and also to be self-motivated and discipline. That I should also learn to face my fears and have courage, even if I don’t succeed at my very first try, I will eventually get there as long as I do not give up.
Last but not least, through constant practice of concentration, and withdrawal of senses, it provides us with an opportunity to take step back, take a look at, and observe ourselves. It also relieves us from distractions and the saturated negative and toxic thoughts inhabiting in our mind, allowing us to put attention only on what we are focusing,
In retrospect, though stress is an evitable part of our busy, modern life, we should never neglect our mental well-being. It’s a long journey of recovery, and it isn’t an easy one. I am truly glad and gratified that I am being introduced and exposed to Yoga. Yoga is such a powerful adjunct treatment for my anxiety, and it certainly has changed my life tremendously one way or another. I truly hope it does the same for you too.