Archive for October 17th, 2019

How Yoga Can Help Students to Fight Anxiety and Depression

October 17th, 2019

BY SANJAY SINGH PANWAR

Being a student is the golden period of a person’s life. It is a period of formation and transformation. A person can shape their personality and build their character during this period. It’s also considered the best time to acquire knowledge, strive to learn, and to grow physically, intellectually and spiritually.

The sustainability of a civilization depends on its youth as they are the future as well as the torchbearer of the society. Success in a student’s life should not be restricted to getting a job or making money, but being happy and healthy.

“Success is not the destination, it is the journey itself.” Fits perfect here.

To keep moving ahead in this journey, students need strong mental foundations. These foundations will keep them grounded and calm when things get hard, especially when things like anxiety and depression can start to get in the way of this transformative journey they are embarking on.

Causes of depression and anxiety

 Depression and anxiety are the two most common mental disorders that have a  chance of being seen in a person. [Source]

In students, there could be hundreds of reasons for getting diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression but the most common are increased burden of academics, peer pressure, deadlines for assignments, the stress of competitive exams, the fear of missing out and even their relationship status.

An article recently published in Forbes has shown how social media has become a factor in determining people’s mental health, including the likelihood that they are diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders even in people younger than college students, affecting about 10-20% of children and adolescents worldwide. [Source]

How yoga tackles depression and anxiety

 Yoga and Meditation have been proved to be an effective non-pharmacological and non-conventional intervention for treating depression, anxiety and stress-related disorders in students.

Knowing what yoga is and performing it’s simple practices could wipe out the symptoms of anxiety and depression among students.

There is a long list of symptoms of anxiety and depression that have seen decreases in students who practice yoga, and to list just a few:

 

  1. Reduces Stress Hormones
  2. Increases the Secretion of Mood Stabilizing Hormone
  3. Reduces anxiety via relaxation
  4. Eliminates Restlessness
  5. Enhances concentration
  6. Removes negative thoughts
  7. Reduces overall agitation and irritation
  8. Enhances decision making abilities

 

  1. Reduces Stress Hormones

The “stress” hormone cortisol plays a critical role in the quality of sleep a person gets each night. Disturbed sleep is one of the symptoms of depression and by regulating endocrine functions, yoga helps to reduce the level of stress hormones that get released causing this disturbed sleep.

Due to lack of sleep and increased amount of cortisol, students’ work efficiency is compromised.

In an article published in the Journal of Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicine in 2018, adolescents were recruited and their hormone levels were assessed. The conclusion was that yoga optimizes the energy levels of endocrine and nervous activity.

 

  1. Increases the Secretion of Mood Stabilizing Hormone

 People with depression have low levels of serotonin. Serotonin is the mood stabilizing hormone which makes people feel happy.

Regular practice of yoga and meditation increases the secretion of Serotonin and helps students overcome some of these negative mood swings, which aggravate the symptoms of depression.

 

  1. Reduces anxiety via relaxation

 Yoga increases the heart rate variability (HRV) i.e. the time between heartbeats is changed. This actually increases a person’s relaxation response as opposed to their stress response.

 

  1. Eliminates Restlessness

 Due to increased work pressure and depressive symptoms,

students often feel restless. Yoga not only channelizes the

energy but also provides calmness.

It is also connected to chakra healing. Each chakra is thought to correspond with a particular nerve plexus and, by focusing on taking care of your chakras, restlessness can be avoided.

 

  1. Enhances concentration

 Inability to concentrate is a very common complaint among students. If they are not able to focus, they can not perform well which can bring about feelings of self-doubt.

“To be not able to concentrate on is a depressive symptoms”.

Yogic kriyas and pranayamas are very beneficial in enhancing concentration. Trataka helps to develop deep concentration and meditative power of the mind. It calms the mind by removing distractions, and prevents the mind from wandering here and there.

 

  1. Removes negative thoughts

 “The feeling of guilt and hopelessness is often found in depression.”

Students start losing interest in the activities that they once enjoyed. They start feeling as if they are worthless.

Yoga helps in eliminating the suppressed thoughts, emotions, unfulfilled desires from the subconscious mind. It boosts the determination and can treat depression.

 

  1. Reduces overall agitation and irritation

 By regulating the endocrine secretions, yoga helps to enhance one’s

mood. Regular practice of meditation followed by yogic kriyas,

pranayama, and asanas provide stability to the mind.

If the mind is at peace, the rate of responding becomes steady. If students follow this consistently, they will learn how and when to respond. Quick responses due to anger would be minimized and irritation would definitely be avoided.

 

  1. Enhances decision making abilities

 Depression often leads to poor decision making and vice versa

among the students. Making the right choices at the right time often determines their career and future.

Yoga increases concentration and certain kriyas have psychological impact, for example, trataka helps in developing clairvoyance. It polishes the insight and intuitive abilities of the mind. This wisdom results in good decision making.

Byline: Sanjay  is a Yoga learner and teacher of yoga in Rishikesh