Are you looking for a natural way to reduce stress? Studies show that exercise helps to lower anxiety levels and improve overall outlook – by altering levels of hormones and brain neurotransmitters that play an important role in mood. But what type of exercise is best for boosting the spirits? A new study carried out at Boston University School of Medicine shed some light on this issue. According to their research, practicing yoga reduces anxiety and improves mood naturally – without medications.
Practicing Yoga to Improve Mood Naturally
To look at the effects of yoga on mood, researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine compared practicing yoga to another popular form of exercise – walking. One group of individuals practiced yoga three times a week for three months, while a second group walked instead of doing yoga.
Not only did the group practicing yoga experience lower anxiety levels than the walking group, they had higher levels of a brain neurotransmitter called GABA. Low GABA levels are associated with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, and higher GABA levels help to improve mood naturally.
The Practice of Yoga to Lower Anxiety Levels
Could practicing yoga be a natural way to lower anxiety levels? Another small study, involving thirteen hospitalized psychiatric patients, showed that practicing yoga reduced hostility, anxiety, fatigue, confusion, and depression in these inpatients – and helped to reduce the overall stress of being hospitalized. Practicing yoga to relieve stress and anxiety has the added advantage of being free of drug-related side effects.
Improve Mood Naturally with Yoga
Practicing yoga isn’t the only exercise that relieves stress. One study showed that taking a twenty minute walk outdoors helps to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol levels increase when a person is sleep deprived, depressed, or “stressed out”.
The combination of low-intensity exercise and being in nature lowers levels of this hormone which can suppress immunity, raise blood pressure, and increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and abdominal obesity.
Interestingly, several small studies show that practicing yoga also decreases cortisol levels.
Can Practicing Yoga Put You in a Better Mood?
Practicing yoga is a natural way to lower anxiety levels and improve mood naturally. By lowering cortisol levels, it has additional physical benefits such as reducing blood pressure and blood sugar levels and preventing obesity.
The bottom line? If you’re stressed out, maybe it’s time to give the practice of yoga a closer look.
Medical News Today. “New Study Finds New Connection Between Yoga And Mood”
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