Bryn Carden Explains How Yoga Can Improve Mental Health and Emotional Well Being
Originally published on DioJournal
A practical exercise that offers a relieving full-body workout that continues to grow in popularity is yoga. In addition to the physical benefits, yoga supports mental and emotional health, enhancing overall well-being. Bryn Carden, active health guru and former Miss Kemah Teen USA, reverts to yoga as a regular practice to stay in shape and develop mindfulness. In this article, she lists the top benefits that yoga gifts to fuel the body, mind, and soul.
Benefit #1: Reduces stress
Stress is unavoidable in life, so learning how to manage stress best is the most proactive approach to dealing with it. Yoga is a valuable tool when looking for avenues to reduce stress. In fact, 86% of Americans said they choose to engage in yoga in hopes of relieving stress. The action of stretching, tightening, and relaxing muscles lower physical and mental feelings of tension, promoting a peaceful environment.
Benefit #2: Releases “feel-good” brain chemicals
Yoga increases oxygenated blood flow to the brain and releases brain chemicals like endorphins and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) that spark good feelings.
Benefit #3: Helps develop a sense of self
Anytime someone commits to taking the time and effort to complete an exercise, it is an act of self-care. Yoga presents the opportunity to practice self-care in cooperation with self-acceptance. The two in sync help cultivate a more nonjudgmental relationship with oneself, ultimately laying down foundation blocks to build self-trust and confidence. A relationship with oneself defined by the statement, “I am worthy,” leads to balanced emotions, healthier choices, better relationships, and more willpower.
Benefit #4: Boosts mood
One of yoga’s pillars includes focusing on the breath and breathing slowly and deeply with control from start to finish. The science of breathing alongside the movements of yoga alters an individual from the sympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as flight-or-flight, to the parasympathetic nervous system, or rest-and-digest. Calming the nervous system in this way aids in relieving depression and anxiety. Meditation, which plays a part in yoga practice, decreases activity in the limbic system, or the area of the brain responsible for emotions, and assists in dissolving emotional reactivity.
Benefit #5: Leads to a better night’s sleep
Individuals struggling with insomnia can improve their mental state by practicing yoga. One study found this benefit more prominent in older adults as participants over the age of 60 recorded better overall sleep after practicing yoga. Another study on postmenopausal women battling insomnia revealed that yoga reduced insomnia severity.
Benefit #6: Sharpens the brain
The brain continues to benefit in numerous ways from yoga practice, including its sharpness. Yoga allows brain cells to generate new connections, resulting in positive brain structure and function. Learning, memory, awareness, thought, attention, and language become enhanced by yoga practice revamping cognitive skills. MRI scans have also exposed the advanced brains of those who consistently practice yoga, showing a thicker cerebral cortex and hippocampus.
Benefit #7: Sparks other healthy habits
Like other exercises, yoga practice tends to lead to overall healthier choices in areas such as self-care and diets. Deciding to eat healthily will only elevate cognitive function.
About Bryn Carden
Bryn Carden is a young entrepreneur and philanthropist passionate about real estate and design. She is currently studying at Neeley School of Business, pursuing a major in Finance with a Real Estate Concentration. Besides working towards her degree, she has already begun her entrepreneurial journey as a co-founder of BF Hats and a creator of Styles for Smiles — a company selling bracelets to help fund cleft palate operations for children in developing countries.