85% of adults in the UK feel stressed. Modern lifestyle represents stressful stimuli for us everywhere. We rush to work, where we have to deal with a pile of workload, we don't have much time to sit down and eat, bad news from media bombard us all the time, we work long hours, we don't get enough of quality sleep, our diet is poor and lacking nutrients, alcohol, energy drinks, toxic relationships or exhausting exercise are just some examples. A little bit of stress is good but the problem is that we don't give our body the time it needs to recover from a stressful day. This pattern can lead into chronic stress, which can have serious health consequences, including shortening of life.
Our nervous system works hard to help us to deal with stress by activating what is called sympathetic nervous system and it starts to produce stress hormones (adrenalin, noradrenalin and cortisol) to help us to deal with the stress. As a result we feel an increased arousal, we have increased blood flow, high blood pressure and heart rate and our airways are dilated. All these changes in our body are aiming to give us more energy to deal with the presented stress. Our body has developed this system to save our life when our ancestries had to run away from a wild animal. We now may run to catch a bus or a train instead, but our body perceives this stress the same way, as if we were running away from a hungry bear.
Since our body cannot operate all functions at once to preserve energy, it prioritises and it switches off functions which are not needed when we are escaping danger. This is for example digestion, reproduction and immune system. These systems will not work while you are under stress.
Practising yoga has been proved to lower chronic daytime stress hormone levels and to increase our ability to cope with stress. In a survey published by Psychology Today, over 85% of people who did yoga reported that it helped them to relieve stress. Yoga may also help strengthen social attachments, reduce depression and insomnia. It is a great mixture of exercise, stretch, meditation and for an hour you will forget about the whole world!
If you would like to know what essential nutrients you need to eat to produce your happy hormones, you can download a FREE copy of my Food for Happy Mood guide at the bottom of the page.