Faith,  Gratitude,  Health,  mental health,  Self Love,  Yoga

The Secret to Successfully managing Depression and Anxiety (A Guide to Yoga)

Let me start by saying that I am extremely grateful that I am able to write yet another blog post. My blog has somehow become my outlet and has been helping me greatly. I say this to say, this week has been extremely hard for me. Some days I hardly had the energy to get out of bed, but I did. I got up, I dressed up and I showed up.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Please read the disclosure.

In the midst, the idea for this blog entry came to me. A few years ago, while I was studying at university I found myself being extremely sad all too often. It did not help that I was a psychology major, being in the field made me self-diagnose every now and then. While that is not a bad thing, it was definitely mind-wrecking.  To cut short, I read an article that said yoga helps with depression. Me being me, I decided to give it a try. I bought my yoga mat in 2016 and I began my journey to yoga. Purchase your own yoga mat on Amazon.


Now, I must confess I am no yogi. In fact, I keep my practice ‘stupid-simple’ and it helps me greatly.


Presently, I find myself in a similar situation (being sad often) and I have decided that I will step up my yoga practice as well as share some information that may help others who are experiencing similar feelings. Following this read, I challenge you to join me in a 15-day yoga challenge. I will tell you more at the end.

Disclosure: I am not a registered psychologist. I advise you to take the information provided with caution and use it as a guide. Seek the help of a medical professional if you need to and consult a physician before doing strenuous exercise activities. 

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(Smile through it all. You are golden.)

Depression
For some, this word may be scary. But, it really is not as long as you understand. Personally, once I have enough information and I clearly understand something my fear subsides. What is depression? Put simply depression is a mood disorder. This disorder may affect how you feel and think, which then affects how you handle your daily tasks. Typical symptoms of depression are:

  • decrease energy/ fatigue
  • moving/walking slowly
  • feeling restless
  • feeling aches, pains, headaches, and cramps
  • weight loss or gain (appetite changes)
  • difficulty concentrating
  • feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
  • lost of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
  • difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • persistent sad or anxious mood

These symptoms may be verified by visiting the National Institute of Mental Health.

Now, this list is not exhausted and depression is only diagnosed if these symptoms persist for 2 or more weeks. It is recommended that you visit a health care professional if you believe that you or a loved one is suffering from some of the above symptoms. Please note that having a few does not mean that you are depressed but you must still take it very seriously. Depression is one of the most common mental disorders and it is nothing to be ashamed of. NEVER suffer in silence, it only makes things worst (#Experiencetalks).


Anxiety
For many, Depression and anxiety go hand in hand. For me, it does as well. For some people, whenever they are in a social setting, they often feel nervous and unsettled. This causes overthinking and sometimes shivers. To friends, this may be passed off as being slow to warm up. “I am just that person that needs to take my time for getting to know people”. “I just like to spend the majority of my time inside and I socialize online more than I talk I person”. Things like that often lead to the person feeling sad and cloudy.
What I have described is social anxiety which is only one type of anxiety. Read on the various types here.  To define, anxiety is long-term feelings of fear or worry caused by some fear-provoking cue. This fear causes feelings of uncontrollable worry, fatigue, lack of concentration and feelings of irritability as well as difficulty sleeping and performing tasks.

Always remember to visit a health professional if you are experiencing symptoms, everyone is different.

What-is-Yoga
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Why yoga helps?
Studies have proven that yoga helps with depression and anxiety. It helps because yoga requires relaxation and concentration on the tasks at hand. Yoga also allows you to reduce your levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.


Additionally, your sympathetic nervous system is responsible for your fight or flight, with conscious breathing the ‘fight or flight’ is relaxed and your mind is free. Hence, yoga helps with your breathing, improving your heart rate and may lower your blood pressure.


But that is not the only reason it helps. In my opinion, yoga helps you to live a better lifestyle. The food you eat improves, so you eat more of what makes you feel good. Yoga changes your perspective; you think more positively, love and care for yourself more and express more gratitude. O yes! Inhale good thoughts. Honestly, Yoga is a badass. *High Five*
4 Quick and Easy Poses to Try


Mountain Pose /Urdhva Hastasana in Tadasana

This is a simple and soothing pose that will get you going.
How to:

  1. Stand with your feet together or hip distance apart, then lift up through your legs and torso
  2. Stretch your arms over your head
  3. Hold for 3-5 breaths
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Downward-Facing Dog/Adho Mukha Svanasana

 How to:

  1. Plant your hands and knees to the ground
  2. Ensure that your hands are shoulder-width apart and your knees are hip-width apart
  3. Inhale as you straighten your legs by lifting your hips
  4. You should be formed in an inverted V
  5. Hold for 3-5 breaths
  6. Exhale as you release
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Upward-Facing Dog/Urdhva Mukha Savansana

This pose opens up your chest and allows you to relax, especially your back.
How to:

  1. Lay on your stomach
  2. Plant your hands down or to the side by your ribcage
  3. Keep your toes pointing to the floor
  4. Push against the ground and slide forward and up
  5. Straighten your arms and inhale
  6. Keep your shoulders away from your ears
  7. Look forward as you hold for 3-5 breaths
  8. Lay down as you release and exhale
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Child Pose/ Balasana

This is the most calming pose. It is very comforting and it is my favorite.
How to:

  1. Sit on your knees
  2. Spread your knees, hip-width apart
  3. Place your hands on the ground to your side
  4. Inhale as you reach forward
  5. Ensure that your torso is resting between your thighs
  6. Rest your forehead on the ground and hold to your heart’s desire.

That’s it. 4 poses, you made it!

The Images used were obtained from yogapedia.com

If you are not yet convinced then give it a try and tag a friend along, it can’t hurt right. I challenge you to 15 days of yoga. Each day you must do at least 4 yoga poses or 10 minutes of yoga. This challenge is open to yogis, newbies, and intermediates.   You can join by using the hashtag #15daysofyogawithfaith. Share your tips, challenges, and joys. Let’s do this together!


Comment below if you will be participating. Comment below if you have any tips for managing depression and anxiety. Comment below if you have ever experienced depression or anxiety. Comment below if its okay to not be okay as long as you deal with it properly.
Love, light, and Peace. See you at the hashtag.

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