The problem of modern day stress
Coping with stress can be challenging in our fast-paced society. But before you set out to confront stress, it pays to understand a little more about it.
Stress can feel like it is predominantly a mental issue. It can cause you to become irrational and irritable. Your thoughts can run at a hundred miles an hour and you start to engage in a negative internal dialogue. You believe that if you could only change your thinking you could cope with your stress.
But stress has many components and comes in different forms. As it has different triggers there can be different ways to cope. We look at the role Pilates can play.
Types of stress
Emotional stress is not only common but is the type that many of us are aware of. It can have many different sources but is closely linked to a feeling of overwhelm. It happens when the coping mechanisms we have are insufficient for the demands placed on us.
But other stresses include physical stress, traumatic stress, and chronic or acute stress. Physical stress damages the body and can be caused by such things as interrupted sleep, long hours sitting at a desk or plane travel.
Acute stress can be brought on by an episode of heightened emotion such as a break-up or a bereavement. Chronic stress can be caused by the gnawing effect of many petty annoyances.
But of course, there is often significant overlap between different types of stress. And stress in one domain can trigger other types of stress.
Regardless of how it starts, and however it manifests, there is very often a physical component. And by working at restoring our physical health, you can often impact your overall health for the better. Pilates has many advantages as a stress relieving form of exercise.
Why Pilates is good for coping with stress
- An increasingly popular way to decrease stress is the practice of mindfulness. Pilates is in essence, a mindful form of exercise. The mind-body connection is central to the practice. When performed properly, Pilates requires clear focus and demands a clear awareness of how the body is moving.
- ‘And breathe’. We all know the expression. Returning to the breath is again, a well-known way to help reduce anxiety and stress. There is such a big focus on breathing correctly within Pilates. A practice that if used regularly, carries over into everyday life.
- And you may not be aware, that when you are stressed, your blood flow becomes restricted. Pilates helps to improve circulation and has also been shown to reduce high blood pressure in this scientific study.
- What is more apparent, is that stress can create tension in the muscles. Typical examples include stiff neck or lower back pain. Pilates is an excellent way to restore muscle balance and increase flexibility. This in itself, is a great way to relieve physical and psychological tension.
And there are numerous other ways that Pilates can help. If you would like to find out more or are looking to book a session, we would be happy to help.