Stress, fear and anxiety have become a part of our daily lives. Studies have shown that taking too much stress may lead to anxiety disorders and serious mental illnesses. But, certain lifestyle changes may help one overcome stressful situations.
Here's a piece of good news. It has been found that yoga can help in curing anxiety disorder. Most of us know that yoga helps in soothing the mind and relaxing the nerves and muscles. The findings of this latest study prove that activities such as yoga can change the way people perceive the world, altering their perception so that they view the environment in a less threatening, less negative way. Yoga can positively impact people with anxiety disorders to relieve them of stress and fear in their lives. (More: Yoga may help women ease stress)
"We wanted to examine whether people would perceive their environment as less threatening after engaging in physical exercise or after doing a relaxation technique that is similar to the breathing exercises in yoga," said Adam Heenan from Queen's University in Canada.
Heenan used human point-light displays for his research. It's a depiction of a human that is comprised of a series of dots representing the major joints. Human point-light displays are depth-ambiguous and because of this an observer looking at the display could see it as either facing towards them or facing away from them.
"We found that people who either walked or jogged on a treadmill for 10 minutes perceived these ambiguous figures as facing towards them (the observer) less often than those who simply stood on the treadmill," Heenan said. The same was true when people performed progressive muscle relaxation, he noted.
This is significant because anxious people show biasness towards focusing on more threatening and negative things in their environment. In fact, some researchers think that this is how these disorders are perpetuated - people who are anxious focus on anxiety-inducing things and become more anxious, and this traps them in a continuous cycle. These findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.