Have you been feeling fatigued, with increasingly frequent headaches, sudden mood swings, dissatisfaction, or lack of appetite? Keep an eye out, for these are common signs (among many other symptoms) for those experiencing burnout syndrome or chronic stress.
These are two growing health problems in our fast-paced, production-driven society. The World Health Organization (WHO) has added burnout to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a syndrome associated with work-related issues, but in the long term it can end up affecting your family, relationships, and social life.
Symptoms of burnout and chronic stress also can include isolation, irritability, and a decreased sense of personal accomplishment, and its effects can be as severe for individuals as it is devastating for society. However, simple and effective strategies such as yoga and meditation can help create resilience and develop better coping mechanisms.
Yoga has been shown to reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase feelings of well-being in different kinds of populations. The combination of physical postures, breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation helps to improve physical functioning, self-regulation of stress and emotion and mind-body awareness or mindfulness. This can reduce burnout and chronic stress symptoms and promote a sense of calm and balance.
Yoga for healthy adults and healthcare workers
An article about the effects of yoga on stress among healthy adults revealed that most types of yoga have positive effects on stress reduction in healthy populations. This review included various types of yoga practice (e.g., Hatha yoga, Bikram yoga, Kundalini yoga, Sudarshan Kriya yoga, Kripalu yoga, and Yin yoga) and confirmed the physiological benefits of yoga help people become more resilient to stressful conditions.
It is observed that yoga, meditation, and mindfulness are also great tools to overcome burnout and stress specifically among healthcare workers. A wide-ranging review of 12 articles to analyze how the use of yoga and mindfulness-based interventions reduce stress, anxiety, and burnout in healthcare workers found that increasing these practices can provide support in achieving stable psycho-physical well-being. A Yoga-Based Program research showed decreased Physician Burnout among Neonatologists and Obstetricians as well. This, in turn, enhances satisfaction and performance within their work environment.
One more article about yoga, mindfulness-based stress reduction and stress-related physiological measures demonstrated that yoga asanas appear to be associated with reduced evening cortisol – the hormone associated with regulating your body’s stress response. Yoga practice is also shown to improve regulation of the sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system, and to have inhibitory effects on physiological stress.
Meditation effects on mental health
Meditation alone is an effective tool for building a healthy mindset – it helps to calm the mind and reduce stress symptoms. Daily practice can be as simple as sitting quietly for a few minutes and focusing on your breath, or it can be a more structured practice, such as Kundalini Yoga meditations or guided visualization.
Recently published research studies have shown regular Kundalini Yoga meditation practice can help to reduce anxiety and improve mental health in patients with PTSD, depressive symptoms, and early memory loss.
In addition to its stress and burnout-reducing benefits, yoga and meditation can also help to increase feelings of self-awareness and self-acceptance. Practicing self-care and learning to be kinder to yourself can give you a greater sense of resilience and reduce the risk of burnout or chronic stress.
Take your practice further
If you are interested in taking a step further towards improving how you deal with these issues, we invite you to join us for an online journey on Vitality & Stress this March. A unique opportunity to understand stress and burnout from the core and incorporate yoga and meditation not only as a self-care routine, but to truly tap into your infinite source of vitality.