Exercising To Overcome
Stress And Depression

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Exercising To Overcome Stress And Depression

Exercise is a well-known method for coping with stress and depression.

Studies have shown that exercise can help improve moods, reduce anxiety, increased composure during stress, as well as bring about better sleep [1, 2].

In addition, exercise has also been found to be an effective antidepressant when it comes to dealing with depression. Find out more about using exercise to overcome depression.

Nonetheless, it should be noted that a balance is needed. Over-exercising or pushing yourself excessively during exercising can contribute to stress.

Some forms of exercise like Yoga and Qigong are found to be especially useful for dealing with stress and depression arising from overwhelming stress.


Yoga

Yoga, considered a subset of Ayurvedic medicine, is a system of psychophysical exercises that seeks to integrate one’s physical, mental and spiritual aspects, so as to achieve health and well-being.

A basic principle underlying yoga is that the mind and body are highly intertwined. As such, any problem arising in one will affect the well-being of the other. Yoga practices are then used to address the problems of both the mind and body.

There are many schools of yoga, but most of them involve asanas, or postures that are akin to gentle stretching exercises. These stretching exercises do not only confer benefits of increasing flexibility, balance and strength. In fact, specific asanas may sometimes be used for dealing with particular health problems, including depression.


Using yoga for depression

For example, it is suggested that forward bending asanas, like the “Child’s Posture” (Balasama) or the “Posterior Stretch” (Paschimottanasana), may be useful for the depressed individual who has the tendency for arched back, pushed out butt, tight and stiff muscles, is inclined to be more rigid, compulsive and emotionally less sensitive, as well as is likely to explode or tighten under stress. [1]

On the contrary, backward bending asanas, like the rajasic asanas, may be more useful for the depressed individual who has tendency for droopy head, rounded shoulders, and sunken chest, is inclined to be afraid of embracing life, gives up easily and tends toward self-pity, as well as is likely to slacken or implode under stress. [1]

In these instances, it is believed that chronic maladaptive psychological tendencies have distorted one’s posture and disturbed bodily functions. Subsequently, the asanas described above are used to bend or stretch the body in the opposite direction so that the body eventually achieves the ideal, sattvic posture. Doing so is in turn helpful to the individual when overcoming stress and depression. [1]

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