Use Yoga to minimise work-related stress – it’s more important than you think!

We spend over ten hours a day at work or on work-related issues. We not only have to deal with work pressures but also juggle, personal relationships, personal finances, information technology, personal fears and changes.

All these aspects of modern-day living can be incredibly stressful, which imposes high physical demands on our bodies and emotional costs on our lives” (Cohen, 2001). More and more medical studies illustrate that stress is a bigger problem than was ever previously thought and directly affects our health in many ways. In western society, work is the primary factor for stress. Although every career has its own unique set of problems and sources of stress, stress can be reduced. The immediate action anyone can take is to find ways to take care of ourselves better and manage stress before it turns into a serious health issue.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have recognised for many years the implications of work stress on individuals wellbeing.

Work Stress is thought to affect individuals’ psychological and physical health, as well as an organisations effectiveness, in an adverse manner….the goals…with regard to stress management are to prevent stress happening or where employees are already experiencing stress, to prevent it from causing serious damage to there health or the healthiness of there organisation…This includes the management of. ………Work stress and mental and physical health outcomes” (Leka/Griffiths/Cox 2003 – WHO – Protecting Workers Health Series 3).

Scientific medical studies recognise the effect stress has on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. It is well-documented stress can cause many problems including depression, anxiety, digestive ailments, muscular and spinal injury, skin rashes, sleep disorders, cardiovascular disease, to name but a few. Stress has also been implicated in the early biochemical environment that is a precursor to cancer. Seems extreme? Perhaps it’s time to think about how you manage stress. While many diseases are still being studied in relation to stress there is no doubt stress is the cause of many modern health issues.

Yoga gives a broad approach to stress management. Many studies have been conducted into the ways yoga minimises stress. These studies help to confirm the effectiveness of Yoga demonstrate its effects on the nervous system, the respiratory system, the circulatory system, the endocrine system (hormonal), the digestive system and much more.

At work employees face numerous psychological stressors that can undermine their work performance. These stressors have enormous health and financial impacts on employees as well as employers. Stress has been shown to be one of the factors leading to musculo-skeletal disorders (MSDs) such as: include back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder or neck tension, eye strain, or headaches. Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that can reduce stress and relieve muscular tension or pain. Practicing yoga….teaches employees to use relaxation techniques to reduce stress and risks of injury on the job. Yoga…is a convenient and practical outlet that improves work performance by relieving tension and job stress” (Yoga for stress reduction and injury prevention at work. Gura, Shira Taylor – Work. Volume: 19, Issue: 1, Date: 2003 11 27, Pages: 3-7 2002)

Yoga helps to curb the stress on a regular basis preventing longer-term health problems from manifesting. There are also many studies citing excellent results in everything from heart disease and diabetes to cancer and depression.

The state of the mind and that of the body are intimately related. If the mind is relaxed, the muscles in the body will also be relaxed. Stress produces a state of physical and mental tension. Yoga, developed thousands of years ago, is recognized as a form of mind-body medicine. In yoga, physical postures and breathing exercises improve muscle strength, flexibility, blood circulation and oxygen uptake as well as hormone function. In addition, the relaxation induced by meditation helps to stabilize the autonomic nervous system with a tendency towards parasympathetic dominance. Physiological benefits which follow help yoga practitioners become more resilient to stressful conditions and reduce a variety of important risk factors for various diseases, especially cardio-respiratory diseases.” (Role of yoga in stress management – Parshad, O – West Indian Med J. Volume: 53, Issue: 3, Date: 2004 09 08, Pages: 191-4)

Time for all people to think very clearly about managing stress now rather than waiting for a health problem to arise as a result of ignored and prolonged stress.

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