Yoga has been proved to be good for your mental health, and a great deal of research has been devoted to how to improve the lives of those who are in mental health. The result is surprisingly positive, which proves that yoga can help many common mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, and others.
Now, one out of every four people is affected by mental health disorder, so more and more people are looking for effective ways to help protect and restore their mental health. Yoga is increasingly accepted as a way to manage mental health. It has been used to relieve stress, improve flexibility and promote a more “Zen” state of mind. However, more people are digging deep into the therapeutic benefits of yoga on mental health.
These findings are also supported by research, which shows that yoga practice can change the structure and function of your brain, and proves that yoga can improve your emotional health from the neurological aspect. Here are some ways that yoga can support your mental health.
As early as 1960s, people began to study how yoga and meditation improved brain function, but a landmark study took place in 2007. Chris Streeter conducted a study, which proved that experienced yoga practitioners showed a significant positive increase in γ -aminobutyric acid during one hour of yoga practice. Gamma-aminobutyric acid is a chemical substance that acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. In 2010, this study went further and found that the increase of γ -aminobutyric acid level in yoga was significantly higher than that in matching walking exercise.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a chemical substance that works by inhibiting signals in the brain. This chemical mainly prevents your brain from becoming overwhelmed and busy by suppressing fear loops and fleeting thoughts, which are usually related to anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. If you suffer from chronic pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, you may have lower levels of GABA. This may show that you can’t change your point of view. Practicing yoga can help improve your GABA level and help you change your viewpoint.
Another way that yoga can improve your mental health is to improve your brain performance. Yoga is unique in that when you move from one position to another, your movements will stop and start constantly, which helps to strengthen the connection between the brain movement areas. In addition, under the condition of control and attention, the planned psychological task when shifting from one yoga posture to another will promote the energy flow in the frontal cortex of the brain, further stimulate the brain and improve its performance.
This means that using yoga is helpful to your mental health. Some mental health problems, such as depression and bipolar disorder, mean that people have less activity and stimulation in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, especially in the prefrontal cortex. The powerful prefrontal cortex makes it easier for you to manage your thoughts and reactions and to divert your attention. If practicing yoga can stimulate these areas in the brain, it can help manage these mental health conditions.
Yoga has also been proved to reduce people’s anger. In a study conducted in 2012, a group of teenagers were studied. Compared with the participants who do other physical exercises, the participants who practice yoga show stronger ability to control anger. Other studies, such as a study conducted in 2013, have proved that yoga can reduce anxiety symptoms, improve sleep and even reduce post-traumatic stress disorder.
In 2014, adult women diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder were part of a study, which proved that yoga can significantly reduce the symptoms of women who received treatment for 10 weeks compared with the control group. After the study, more than half of the participants who practiced yoga no longer had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Besides raising the level of GABA and stimulating your brain, many people think that yoga can improve your heart rate variability, thus improving your mental health. An increase in heart rate variability will help calm your autonomic nervous system, where your body stores trauma.
Studies have shown that meditation and yoga can help increase your heart rate variability. Your heart rate variability is the distance between one heartbeat and another. The increase of heart rate variability has been proved to calm your autonomic nervous system, which in turn helps to regulate your mood. When you feel stress and anxiety, your heart rate will increase and your breathing will become shallow. This is a decrease in heart rate variability. If you relax, your heart rate will slow down and you will breathe deeper-this is the increase of heart rate variability, which can help you feel calm.
The decrease of heart rate variability may be related to anxiety, stress, anger and post-traumatic stress disorder. People with these diseases will find it difficult to adjust their emotions, which may lead to their mental imbalance more easily. If something relatively small makes you cry or get angry, you may have a maladjusted autonomic nervous system. Yoga can increase your heart rate variability, help regulate your autonomic nervous system and help you feel more relaxed.
It may be difficult to find a suitable yoga practice for you, but there are many different styles of yoga to choose from. No matter which type you choose, the benefits of mental health are amazing, making yoga an indispensable part of the treatment process.
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