- Posted: 1/15/2020
Why does this keep happening to me?
Written by Lawrence Uman LPC,LMFT. RYT 500
Have you ever been feeling pretty good, maybe really good one day and then a few hours later that old nemesis stress and anxiety come creeping back? First you feel good, then you feel a little off. Maybe, this is followed by noticing your shoulders or back are tight. You may feel something uncomfortable in your gut ,maybe you are feeling sweaty or lightheaded, and then you keep thinking about that person, who treated you badly at work or in your personal life. This can keep going until, you are anxious, upset and feeling off your game. If you take meds, you may wonder, did they stop working , are you on the wrong dose or what?
How does this happen? You felt so good after a run, that yoga class or that nice gathering with your friends, then , so quickly, you are in an off or stressed mood. Unfortunately, our brains and bodies, though they can feel good and experience pleasure, there are like our computers , that they have default settings. And the brain’s default settings are to worry and get upset about things. This make sense, if you are in a dangerous environment . You may have to run from a predator or fight against an attacker. Our brain’s number one priority is to keep us alive, feeling good is down the list. The nervous system has a “sympathetic” response. It prepares us to do battle or run away , maybe even faint( known as the freeze response) . To protect us. It floods our body with hormones, that tighten muscles, speeds up our breathing and heart rate and interrupts our digestion.
So, once this happens what can you do? A lot, actually. First, remember the body is mobilizing itself for action, so the best thing you can do is movement. Yoga, walking ,swimming , running and working out at the gym are all helpful. In research studies. all the participants who exercised , reported feeling better and less stressed or anxious . Those who did Yoga ,improved even more so, probably because if Yoga is done holistically ,as it is at Beloved Yoga, it is not just a physical practice. Yoga incorporates physical postures and movements, along with breath work, meditation, and practices that train our mind to focus on healing thoughts . These helpful or healing thoughts are called mantras.
Over time, Yoga does train our mind, to where our stressed or anxious moods, are shorter and easier to get out of. You may find that periods of feeling good , last longer and you experience the other side of the nervous system, the parasympathetic. This is associated with calm, pleasure, laughter and healthy digestion. For further reading on these topics, two excellent books are “ Yoga For Depression”, by Amy Weintraub and “Buddha’s Brain” by Rick Hanson.
This blogpost was written by Lawrence Uman LPC,LMFT. RYT 500. He is a practicing counselor and yoga teacher. When appropriate, he incorporates Yoga into his counseling work and helpful ideas from psychotherapy into his yoga.