A personalized yoga practice will uncover old habits and replace them with a stronger, more open and balanced posture, awareness to your own patterns of breathing will help to recode rhythms of rest and vitality and exploring your self-dialogue will inspire more nurturing personal attitudes. It has taken years of conditioning for the layers of tension to build, it is now time to determinedly unshackle the grip stress plays in our lives by prioritizing your wellness in the time you spend to dedicate to releasing stress.
Healthy habits are learned in the family unit, prioritizing wellbeing will be modelled at a young age by children to equip them to face the pressures of life in a balanced and holistic way. As a parent it will also bring awareness to the impact expectations can have on young minds and to accept and inspire children to be their unique selves rather than to fit a mold of subscribed perfection. Real self-care is granting yourself the permission to be your true self, where you are compassionate and conscious of who you are and don’t need to hide behind the mask of your titles or accolades for recognition. When there is honest contentment you are not chasing other people’s validation and instead feel fulfilled in being the best version of yourself.
The prioritization of your self-care will improve the quality of your life in the long term, view your daily practice as a long-term value investment strategy. You will be thankful for this regular commitment to health and wellness today by receiving dividends of increased energy, confidence, restfulness in years to come. Investing in your physical and mental wellbeing is essential if you want to be happy, healthy and successful in the long-run.
Consider the investment in preventative healthcare rather than symptomatic treatments of high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, insomnia, hormone imbalances all of which can result from stress accumulation. If adversity is not safely handled it can turn into a stress related disease that would need to be treated, with prescribed medication that would create a long-term dependence on pharmaceutical drugs for which there are lots of side effects. The financial component would pale in comparison to the emotional and physical outlay of trauma to your health, energy and mindset. In whichever angle you consider wellness it’s a strong case to prioritize self-care as the opportunity cost is just too high. In 2015 Micheal Blanding from Harvard Business School quoted in Forbes that workplace is responsible for up to US$190 Billion each year and 120,000 deaths each year in the United States. US policy makers believe that a focus on wellness and not sickness would save countless lives, pain and suffering of the patients of chronic conditions and billions of US dollars.
It has been scientifically researched that chronic stress can be passed down epigenetically. A study by James Potash of the John Hopkins School University School of Medicine conducted a study that showed that adults who suffer from chronic stress and sustained high levels of cortisol are less likely to self-regulate and provide nurturing behaviors. The neglected babies sustained high levels of cortisol which impede learning, creativity and decision making and elicits fear centers in the brain. How we respond to stress is directly inherited by our children as it hinders our ability to create a harmonious environment of upbringing. However, this reaction can be reversed when the child is exposed to nurturing and loving family environments. This is very encouraging as it shows that we have the power to reverse the effects of stress when we change our behaviors, making positive impacts to our family once we control our cortisol levels. Studies have shown by bringing awareness to breathing, alignment and meditation all tremendously help in empowering us to lower our stress levels which is reflected by the amount of cortisol in our bloodstream and increasing the neural pathways to the hippocampus- the creative center of the brain.
The time for self-care is right now, the earlier you start the more benefit you will experience, it requires more effort to unlearn patterns of tension creation and reverse them with these methods to release stress compared to learning from the beginning how to manage your stress levels in a healthy way. As a mother of two young children myself, my heart goes children nowadays who face so many pressures from school, family and peer groups. The notion of perfection is further captured and through social media influencing the impressionable minds of the new generation that they are not good enough. Sources of stress now expand to their online profiles the impact of social comparisons and self-image are ever more challenging to navigate. With fewer coping mechanisms and a child’s heightened sensitivity it is no surprise that stress levels among the youth are higher than ever before. In a citywide survey in Hong Kong in 2017, it was reported that about half of secondary school students showed signs of depression, of university students and young adults one third admitted to having depressive symptoms and 7% had been suicidal in the last 5 years. The students feel that there is an unsurmountable amount of pressure from academic achievements, family expectations and social standing.
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