I am offering a workshop this weekend on yogic tools for managing stress in our lives. Ironically I have just gone through a ton of unexpected stress in my life (job lay off and moving house). I am getting a TON OF PRACTICE using these techniques.
As I learn more about more about how our bodies react to stress I can’t help wonder why we, as a society, spend so much time focusing on achieving. We truly do encourage and congratulate the person who “does it all”. Multitasking is seen as an incredible skill but in my opinion having so many balls in the air just leads to mental and physical burn out. I am not alone in this… Study after study shows the same thing. Consistent stress is bad for us. Not just emotionally, it is also bad for our bodies. It ages us, and can cause high blood pressure, clogging of our arteries, headaches, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.
The irony about all of this is that our brains get used to feeling stressed. They get “good at it”, sending this feeling throughout our whole body. When we live in a stressful state all the time and then try to relax our minds just can’t settle down. This is due to neuroplasticity. Our brains change and learn to adapt to what we feed them. If we are constantly bombarding our lives with a sense of doing, achieving, accomplishing.. rather than taking time to smell the flowers it becomes more difficult to enjoy the flowers. We lose our ability to shut off the noise in our heads.
Thankfully neuroplasticity also means that with practice we can train ourselves to feel joy, peace and a sense of calm again no matter how insane our lives may have gotten. A regular yoga practice can be an incredible tool to slow our minds and bodies down, which in turn not only improves the health of our bodies but increases our capacity for memory and stimulates creative big picture thinking.