psychology

What to Expect in Your First Yoga Class

3 hard and fast rules for doing yoga in public

Everyone should try yoga.

Public classes are fun and a cool way to meet new; healthy people.

Yes, you have to take your shoes off.

The First Time

So you’ve decided to take the leap: you’re going to your first real life studio yoga class.

Oooooh how exciting. You have finally devoted some time to your mental health. You researched a little about meditation and the body-mind thing and you’re going to take it a step further. Destiny, your girlfriend has been telling you to do yoga for at least a decade and you are finally giving in; plus your back is killing you and you need to relax from your boss’ bullshit temper tantrum last week. Maybe you’ve done some stretching and yoga videos online and you are ready to get into your first ever yoga studio class. This is a special time. Savor it.

Real life studio yoga is amazing; there are some very special humans that get into yoga; it’s an art form that is unparalleled in its humanism.

I started practicing yoga with my mom when I was 20. I think I only went once or twice on a Saturday morning with her to East Wind in Roseville (hot yoga, but not Bikram, what a jerk!) and it was one of the hardest workouts I have ever done. I got hooked after about 3 months because of the mental clarity it provided and also the physical aspect of losing weight and also developing abdominals muscles; which I had always lacked due to my passionate love for pizza and ice cream.

#1: Get comfortable

Actually, this is kind of a big deal. Relax. Go to the bathroom before your class starts, probably go to the bathroom at home first. Pass the gas outside. I remember going to the bathroom every morning at 4am in India before my practice. Yoga can kinda reset your circadian rhythm somehow. Your body has internal timings that usually know when you are about to exercise; which is a fun part of yoga. Learn your body!

It’s easy to let out a squeaker; it’s not a big deal, we’ve all been there. My back makes weird fart sounds on my mat all the time and I just laugh about it to myself. However, if you feel like your fart might smell, like bad; as they often do; then you should go to the bathroom and let loose. Try not to stink up the yoga room.

#2: Don’t be Creepy

This is probably geared more towards guys; but hey girls can be creepos too! Try not to be weird, especially around attractive people; they won’t like you as much. Your yoga teacher is a person too; try to value their time also. Nobody really wants to be judged superficially, everyone wants more aquaintances and wants to be loved; be good with people. Try not to stare at the beautiful girls butt that is right in front of your face; unless of course, it’s your wife or girlfriend! Then, with their permission, stare away! But generally staring at other people is not ok, especially in yoga. Focus on your own body; love your self. Spending time with your mind is also a benefit.

#3: Have Fun and Meet Some Cool People

Generally people that practice yoga are not assholes. They are nice! It can be superficial; but I believe it is the instructor’s job to ask people to dive deeper. People are always nicer after the yoga class; it is essentially a dose of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin; the whole kit and kaboodle. So afterwards you will likely be more social. Try not to overdo it and overshare. Yoga increases self-awareness, or self-consciousness and makes for a generally fun and sometimes transcendent studio environment. I’ve had several classes that are like a zoo, an insane asylum, and a massive party simultaneously. It is up to you to help create the atmosphere of a yoga class, so create your experience in it!

More Tips for Hot Yoga

  1. Dress to sweat; sweats are fine, but also shorts for a hot room are nice. Don’t be weird about taking off your shirt; it’s fine guys.
  2. drink water BEFORE yoga; hot yoga generally requires increased salt and electrolyte intake; Liquid IV is pretty cool.
  3. don’t eat much heavy food; tea is fine; an apple is also usually fine. Orange chicken will not be fine(I actually love orange chicken keep it away!).
  4. breath deeply through your nose. Close your eyes. Feel your body. Heal it.
  5. Invite a friend! Yoga is an awesome bonding experience

Conclusion: In short get ready for an exercise class that is also mental; just be how you are regularly and you’ll probably have fun! Unless you hate exercise, then you might hate it! Some people hate spinach; it’s a crazy world we live in.

If you need a mat, get a manduka PRO. 10 years and running for my mat and its like new still.

What to Expect in Your First Yoga Class Read More »

Instagram-logo-now-with-an-intensely-toxic-and-poisonous-appearance.

Instagram is Toxic and Dangerous

Instagram-logo-now-with-an-intensely-toxic-and-poisonous-appearance.
Instagram Toxicity Depicted

Instagram has become a dangerous and toxic menace to society at large. Meta is truly one of the most irresponsible companies in history allowing for popularity to take precedent over decency, in regards to violating the rights of its users and therefore, of the youngest generation of humanity. Social media is wrecking the lives of American youth by allowing toxic, even violent behavior. Does Facebook still sell our email addresses? Their ethics seem to be non-existant. Many other tech companies are facing scrutiny for the affect their technologies have on the user base.

Honestly I do believe that Instagram has become an extinction level threat. The toxic negative impacts of the irresponsibly managed company have already destroyed countless lives. Why don’t you report on that Instagram? In combination with the lack of responsible government oversight and regulation and obvious corruption, Instagram could cause the destruction of America and humanity. The failure of America’s government and American academic institutions and cannot be overstated. The social media companies are obviously also to blame.

Here are the leaked documents from Facebook and Instagram:

“In a blog post, Facebook released two slide decks that had informed the Wall Street Journal’s bombshell report(WSJ) from mid-September indicating that the company knew from internal research conducted in 2019 that its subsidiary platform Instagram was harming the mental health of teen girls, particularly when it comes to body image.”

“More than a year after the Facebook Papers dramatically revealed Big Tech’s abuse, social media companies have made only small, slow steps to clean up their act,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CNN Business) The Facebook and Instagram wellness hubs make ABSOLUTELY no mention of the data of these analyses, the statistics, or the math. They are trying to hide the tremendous amounts of negative data about them.

Children and even young adults shouldn’t have access to social media. The data is very clear. They aren’t ready for that kind of hyper-connectedness. They need strong nuclear family connections and during development these kinds of products are far too influential on them and turn them into products for advertisers and the social media companies.

The negative impacts of Instagram on youth culture in America have been a subject of growing concern for the adults populations at large. As various studies and reports highlight significant adverse effects, more studies are released about the harmful quality of the algorithms involved in the platform’s popularity and engagements. This is all supported scientifically, you can see the sources at the bottom of the article. There are a lot of them, because this is a well-documented problem.

Key issues involving social media use for non-adults include:

  1. Body Image and Self-Esteem Issues: Instagram has been linked to negative effects on young people’s feelings about their appearance and body satisfaction. The platform can exacerbate risks for eating disorders and other mental health concerns such as depression and low self-esteem. A study cited by The Wall Street Journal found that 32% of teen girls felt worse about their bodies after using Instagram, indicating that the platform can significantly alter how young women view and describe themselves. Sounds pretty dangerous and mentally poisonous.
  2. Mental Health Concerns: Instagram’s design, which capitalizes on the biological drive for social belonging, encourages continuous scrolling and engagement. This mechanism has been associated with mental health issues like depression, social anxiety, and self-esteem problems and is called . Exposure to Instagram’s narcissistically oriented content, driven by a business model focused on maximizing user attention, can have cumulative negative impacts over time.
  3. Increased Mental Distress and Suicidality: Research implicates smartphone and social media use, including Instagram, in the rise of mental distress, self-injurious behavior, and suicidality among youth. The effects are particularly pronounced among girls, suggesting a dose-response relationship between social media usage and mental health issues. Suicide numbers are difficult to discern directly because of the amount of coinciding variables in a suicide; however rates have steadily increased with the adoption of social media as a norm. Cyber-bullying has also contributed to this numeric increase in a significant way.

“Most teens report at mental health issue” -<(instagram reports)>.

The Mental Health concerns can be further categorized:

  • Loneliness
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Body Dissatisfaction
  • Body Dysmorphia

As an adult that once was a kid with the internet, putting hyperconnectedness into the hands of the youth is irresponsible at best. The highlight reel effect is omnipresent on the platform and the internet as a whole and isn’t really understood by most folks. Kids need to be taught this kind of stuff in school; parents can’t be relied on to teach their kids this stuff because a lot of them don’t know about it. Kids need parents to help them navigate the thick and difficult world of technology that has become more and more predatory over time, from video games, to social media, to conspiracy theories, to just general laziness and confirmation bias and a sense of privilege and narcissism that seems to have become rampant in American society. Teachers, educators, and family, parents, brothers sisters, etc. typically share values to create humility. That’s why we generally both love and hate the time around our parents.

With the advent of all of this new, super powerful technology, we are at a crossroads of a civilization, especially in this country. America can either learn to be ethical, to strive for the greatest good, or we will become a corrupt pile of shit-bags that just want to argue and compete with each other to be the best in some imagined competition. There is always hope for something greater.

These findings underscore the need for greater awareness about time spent on social media. and intervention strategies to mitigate the harmful effects of Instagram on the mental health and wellbeing of young people in America. If you know someone that is spending way too much time on Instagram, or Facebook, or any other platform, you should tell them. Be their friend in real life.

What Precautions can you take to Mitigate the Negative Impacts of Social Media

  1. Take a break every 10 minutes. Try not to spend more than an hour on social media. TikTok has proven to be a data feed for China and its algorithm is very different for Americans and Chinese citizens. In a court filing, the former employee of ByteDance, Yintao Yu, alleged that the CCP spied on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong in 2018 by using “backdoor” access to TikTok to identify and monitor the activists’ locations and communications. There is certainly potential for this to happen to Americans, through Instagram and Facebook.
  2. Remember that Instagram is highly manipulated. It is literally subsidized by the FBI, Homeland Security, and the State Department to monitor potential terrorist activity (this is actually a good thing right now, imo). However, even when you use your privacy settings, your social media accounts are not totally private. How much privacy an American citizen gets should at least be a matter of debate for the people, as well as our representatives. In most cases, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media companies will voluntarily share your information and personal messages with law enforcement agencies, whether they have a warrant or not[21].
  3. No one actually looks like the actors do in movies (although some are undoubtedly more attractive in reality because of their distinctive, unique, and charismatic personalities). Don’t compare yourself to others on the platform; deep friendships and family relationships are the most rewarding according to modern psychological data[20].
  4. There are significant weaknesses in Facebook’s and Instagram’s algorithms. They are very flawed. Deep connections are created and fostered in real life; digitalization of friendship simply isn’t rewarding to us. Social media is most effectively used as an enhancement to real life interaction, not the other way around.
  5. Limit your social media use. 30 minutes per day, per platform is probably a lot, but reasonable for a younger adult. More time on a site might be acceptable for work; if you are growing a business on social media sites, I say good luck to you. Use it for friendship.
  6. Explain to your kids what Instagram is. Teach them how it is flawed and how reality truly work.
  7. Spend more time with your children and kids in general in the analog world. It’s where we are meant to be.
References:
  1. BMC Psychology
  2. Faces engage us: photos with faces attract more likes and comments on Instagram
  3. Instagram Use, Loneliness, and Social Comparison Orientation: Interact and Browse on Social Media, But Don’t Compare
  4. What the brain ‘Likes’: neural correlates of providing feedback on social media
  5. Effects of Instagram Body Portrayals on Attention, State Body Dissatisfaction, and Appearance Management Behavioral Intention
  6. The Interaction between Serotonin Transporter Allelic Variation and Maternal Care Modulates Instagram Sociability in a Sample of Singaporean Users
  7. Instagram use and young women’s body image concerns and self-objectification: Testing mediational pathways
  8. The impact of excessive Instagram use on students’ academic study: a two-stage SEM and artificial neural network approach
  9. The Power of the Like in Adolescence: Effects of Peer Influence on Neural and Behavioral Responses to Social Media
  10. Cue-Reactivity Among Young Adults With Problematic Instagram Use in Response to Instagram-Themed Risky Behavior Cues: A Pilot fMRI Study
  11. Peer Influence Via Instagram: Effects on Brain and Behavior in Adolescence and Young Adulthood
  12. Instagram and Seizure: Knowledge, Access, and Perception of Circulating Information on the Internet
  13. Oxytocin Receptor Gene Polymorphisms and Early Parental Bonding Interact in Shaping Instagram Social Behavior
  14. SnapChat Parental Guide
  15. Facebook is hitting the brakes on Instagram for kids
  16. Cisomag.com – Instagram data breach! 49 million users’ sensitive data exposed online
  17. Slate.com – The Most Damning Thing We’ve Learned About Instagram Yet
  18. Firstpost.com – Leaked documents reveal Meta knew Instagram was pushing girls towards content that harmed mental health
  19. Vice.com – Leaked Documents Show How Instagram Polices Stories
  20. Instagram Psych Files on Appearance Based Social Comparison
  21. Study.com – Things that make people happy
  22. werksmanjackson.com – Is the Government Monitoring Your Social Media Accounts?
  23. Brennan Center of Justice – Federal Government Social Media Surveillance Explained

Instagram is Toxic and Dangerous Read More »

overpopulation: John B Calhoun rat universes

Overpopulation and its Potential Effects on Humanity

Overpopulation and Humanity’s Destiny

If we don’t halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity- and will leave a ravaged world.

-Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry W. Kendal

 

By the year 2050, the Earth’s population is estimated to reach a staggering 9.6 billion people. Many scientists would consider this to be overpopulation of the planet. It is currently believed that there are 7.2 billion people on Earth, but this is just a guess. In reality, we don’t really have any idea how many people are on the planet, just a lot of supposedly “good guesses”. And unless we make some major breakthroughs in the fields of energy, ecology, climatology, and agriculture the human race has a good chance of experiencing a severe decline in population, possibly even extinction because of overpopulation. A lot of things need to change in our civilization’s infrastructure if the human race wants to survive for the next millennia and even more if we are to prosper.

I’m not an alarmist. There’s no need to panic. But you should probably reconsider your consumption patterns, because you will be economically pressured to change them in the next 20 years. Especially if you live in the United States. But the world isn’t going to end in the next 6 months. In fact, Earth will be fine, especially in the long run. We live on a planet that is incredibly good at balancing itself, which we are seeing now with the effects of climate change (see my review of ‘Chasing Ice’ if you want some good evidence of what is happening to the glaciers of the planet). But weather patterns are going to get more and more severe unless we can find ways to mitigate the greenhouse gas effect and humanity’s consumption of fossil fuels.

A Tipping Point for Humanity’s Population?

It is entirely possible that human’s have reached what scientists call “peak oil”. At this point, we might be running out of oil, even though in the last 6 months we have isolated and reproduced a fungus that can produce petroleum. We might also be able to clean up the world’s largest oil spills with a different type of fungus. Advancements in science are what is going to save us. If you don’t know about the scientific method, you should read this article.

All of these developments can be attributed to the massive growth in human population at the cost of our environment. These problems WOULD NOT exist if humanity was better at living symbiotically with our environment. Yes, I say this with 100% certainty. We tend not to look at situations holistically and see only what is in front of us. In this overpopulated state, we need to either mitigate the effects of our oil use while simultaneously finding sustainable sources of it, or we need to find an alternate, sustainable fuel source for the world’s transportation.

Alan Watts said that the fundamental problem with the current state of society is man’s isolation from nature. This allows for our overpopulation of the planet. Things like A/C, cars, roads, airplanes, deforestation, warehouses, skyscrapers, and dams are all examples of destruction of the environment rather than cultivation. Some of these things can be symbiotic with nature if architected properly (ie climate regulation, terraforming, sustainable fuels, nuclear fusion, etc.). Watts said that in the 60s.

The problem with humans is that we view ourselves as separate from our environment, when in fact the two are the same. Religion is a huge cause of this. For some reason, we feel like we are better than our environment, better than animals, because god made us special. In my last article on human microbiota, I explained how humans have a hole inside of us, called the gastrointestinal tract or gut, that is really a part of the outside environment. So in reality, humans and our environment are the same thing. It is largely our ego and search for control that has led us to believe that we are ‘superior to’ or greater than our environment.

The problems are rather simple. Yet people have a tendency to  be so over-reactive to seeing how humans have affected our environment. This allows news companies and especially shitty internet journalism to get an emotional rise out of us. And after this emotional reaction, we tend to become inactive and hopeless, rather than adjusting our behavior. I’ve witnessed this personally within myself. I waste energy on an emotional reaction, rather than thinking about how much waste I create on a daily basis. There are examples in our modern culture. Water consumption in southern California is an excellent example. Some people don’t even believe that there is really a drought.

Americans, as only 5% of the world’s population, use 24% of the world’s energy; some sources estimate the average American uses as much as 160 gallons of water a day. So instead of writing emotional facebook posts, being reactive and emotional about the issue take matters into your own hands; take shorter showers, try to drive less (obviously you have to drive to work and to get your kids to soccer and all that stuff because our infrastructure isn’t setup symbiotically). Try to use less energy, wash only dirty clothes, turn off your lights. Then you can stop worrying about our planet because that’s all you can do. Manage yourself.

We need to consider what it might be like if we had to live in 100% unity with our environment; which sooner or later will become a necessity if we are to survive with such a large population. Cities will be rebuilt. Freeways will be redesigned. We are already seeing the beginning of some amazing developments.

Answers to the problem of overpopulation?

Nuclear fusion might be the answer to our energy problems, but that technology is expensive and we’re going to have to wait for it. However, creating and harnessing the power of stars is how we will survive for the next millennia. There are a few awesome projects happening that might excite you for the future, rather than scare you away from it. The international thermonuclear reactor project is an exciting project underway and Lockheed Martin has somewhat suspiciously said that they have an even more compact reactor on the way (the scientific community is very skeptical because they haven’t yet released data). Our ingenuity will be the key to our survival.

I am trying to say that hopelessness is a silly conclusion and that hope is key to survival and prosperity. One way to inform yourself of some of the negative possibilities in our future is to learn about John Calhoun’s mouse paradise experiments on overpopulation. It is a concept known as the behavioral sink, or societal collapse due to overpopulation. However, even Calhoun left his studies with hope for the future of humanity, especially considering that there were rats that seemed to be resilient to the effects of overpopulation. His studies involved creating mouse utopias, then allowing the mice to overpopulate. In his studies he found

“Many [female mice] were unable to carry pregnancy to full term or to survive delivery of their litters if they did. An even greater number, after successfully giving birth, fell short in their maternal functions. Among the males the behavior disturbances ranged from sexual deviation to cannibalism and from frenetic overactivity to a pathological withdrawal from which individuals would emerge to eat, drink and move about only when other members of the community were asleep. The social organization of the animals showed equal disruption. […]

The common source of these disturbances became most dramatically apparent in the populations of our first series of three experiments, in which we observed the development of what we called a behavioral sink. The animals would crowd together in greatest number in one of the four interconnecting pens in which the colony was maintained. As many as 60 of the 80 rats in each experimental population would assemble in one pen during periods of feeding. Individual rats would rarely eat except in the company of other rats. As a result extreme population densities developed in the pen adopted for eating, leaving the others with sparse populations.

[…] In the experiments in which the behavioral sink developed, infant mortality ran as high as 96 percent among the most disoriented groups in the population.”

-John B Calhoun from “Population density and social pathology”(1970). California medicine 113

We have Hope for the Future

Over-reactivity from fear is something you should actively fight within yourself. Overpopulation is a problem that humanity can work together to solve. There is no need for fear. Find hope, reasons to belief in your own ability to consume less, if no one else’s. Fear and panic are the enemies to social order. Stop believing the news, especially internet articles aimed at reactivity. That’s what they want, to shock you into reading. If you can fight your fear with hope and action you will lead yourself to more action oriented at personal results, therefore affecting the collective in the greatest possible way that you personally can. See what  you can do, challenge yourself, experiment with alternate lifestyle behaviors. You’ll surprise the shit out of yourself 😉

Overpopulation and its Potential Effects on Humanity Read More »

Dali_imagination

Constructs of the Imagination

The human mind is constructive. We create our world, inside of our own heads. To understand the way that we as individuals think, the way that we construct reality, we have to examine some of the moving parts of the consciousness system that are involved. Some of these parts are cognitive, some emotional; things like abstract reasoning, probability prediction, sampling,  grouping, chunking, compartmentalization, and relationship architectures are all necessary to understand how we construct the world around us.

The first and easiest places to examine when talking about the functioning of consciousness are the senses. Foremost is sight, simply because we have more built-in equipment for sight than any of the other sense. We fill in the blanks with out eyes, sometimes seeing things that aren’t there to make sense of patterns. Then sound, which is continually processed; touch, which is a pressure system that is built to feel things outside, but simultaneously internalize them as part of ourselves, such as hugs, touching which releases oxytocin, kissing, etc. The senses construct the mental world inside of our brains and allow us to interact with it.

We also construct socially. We imagine what others may think about us, or even what others may be doing in comparison to our own activities. There is also a an imagined hierarchy that normally forms due to various reasons; usually strength is a deciding factor. We have groups of people that we consider to be part of us, clicks, friend groups, religious communities, etc. This helps to give us a sense of worth by belonging to something, which is why community is such an important aspect of healthy living.

Humans also have a sometimes tragic flaw, called hubris, or pride. We believe ourselves to have accomplished something when we put forth great effort and achieve desired results, which can lead to a sense of accomplishment. This is most certainly a constructive process where we place a sense of value on ourselves for something that has been completed or finished with our participation. This also provides us with a sense of worth and accomplishment.

Humans also project our judgements onto the things around us, sometimes in terms of morals, sometimes in terms of positive or negative. This gives the object a perceived value and allows us to make judgement calls for very important things (i.e. the quality of food that you eat). This also allows us to manipulate the environment in a positive way for our own circumstances, in a similar way to a bird building a nest. It helps us to survive in a very real way.

Humans also have an ability to reason abstractly to plan. It allows us to save food and other resources during harder times and to effectively project ourselves into the future to deal with our environment. This is probably the reason for our massive success on the planet; we have the ability to forego now for later. This is tremendously valuable in social situations, especially those involving trade and bartering, because we can amass specific resources in an efficient manner to trade them for other valuables. This concept is what originally allowed humans to begin agriculture, which then provided us with free time and the ability to work less because we don’t have to always be focused on survival.

However, this amazing ability to plan also has a dark side; fear, anxiety, and idealization. We always want to hope for the best, even if it is an unreasonable outcome of our current situation. We sometimes create false realities because of our own fears and idealizations which then can cause negative effects. We get anxiety for future situations because of past situations that we have already experienced, or we think we know the outcome of a given situation simply because we have experienced a similar one. Fear is the epitome of this dark side, sometimes leading us to create false realities known as neurosis. But in judgement for survival, fear is absolutely necessary.

Fear is possibly the most constructive aspect of the human mind. It gives us the ability to avoid things we have experienced, to efficiently escape certain environments, and to react effectively when faced with danger. However, in social situations, fear has almost no value and can completely degrade relationships. Have you ever been in a relationship where the other person is overly jealous, or protective? This is a perfect example of a fear that degrades a relationship and that is completely unnecessary until some kind of evidence appears.

Humans can construct completely different realities. You can see this in cultural and religious values, where some people believe that the “right” way to live is what they have been taught; or when someone goes into neurosis because of over-stress, or simply genetic factors combined with the environment. In the modern world, stress is almost always the result of imagined or projected fears, which is why it is such a powerful force in our lives. Our ability to deal with the stress physiologically is almost always dependent upon our beliefs about the stress. Sometimes, this can force us to construct completely different realities to allow us to cope with the stress from the environment.

There are a few other things that we make up to deal with the environment; time, measurements, communities, languages, mathematics, mythologies, religion, and stories. Stories are incredibly fascinating, because they allow us to ‘tap in’ to the experiences of another consciousness through communication with our ability to reason and construct abstractly. This can allow us to learn, without really experiencing anything significant in the environment (of course you are reading a book, which is a part of the environment).

These are some of the different ways that we construct reality within our minds. This is why the concept Maya exists in eastern religions. Fear is an extremely interesting phenomenon in humans, almost certainly one to be avoided in social situations. So while you are out there, remember that YOU are constructing the subjective world that you live in and that it is specific to each individual.

Constructs of the Imagination Read More »

Yoga and Drugs (Part 3: anxiety)

Anxiety is something that yoga vigorously attacks. Anxiety is essentially a lack of presence and ability to act in the present moment due to the consequences of the past or expectations for the future. Yoga has been clinically proven to reduce anxiety and seems to be more effective than meditation in the scientific literature, but long-term studies are still needed for determining obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety attacks. I know people with PTSD that practice and they say yoga is life-changing for them. Long term clinical trials with strict controls are needed to really see the positive effects and long-term benefits of yoga on these symptoms.

Yoga forces concentration upon the present moment; it is nigh impossible to do handstands, arm balances, and back-bends without complete focus. Especially when you are pushing the limits of your own body, you need to give it the complete attention it deserves. Yoga trains the brain to ignore “what-if” situations, giving your mind the capacity to be completely present inside of your body. “What if my foot cramps?”, “What if my leg hurts?”. These no longer become possible because you are reacting to the feeling in your foot and leg rather than predicting an outcome.

But it’s not your fault that you are anxious. American society feeds on it, telling you about the things that you need to prepare for and all of the bad things that could happen to you and have happened to others. The news is an amazingly good example. They literally go around finding things to make you startled and uneasy so that you listen to their advice and keep watching. Commercials are another good one. They tell us what we need these things and that if we don’t have them, our lives will not be complete, happy, or fulfilling. American culture also tells us that we should be busy on our cell phones so that we look important, which leads to an inability to focus on what is actually happening in our lives. All of these sources lead us further away from the truth that is inside.

Really, peace and contentment is something that you cultivate and grow. The more time you spend being present, discerning feelings as they pass, and bringing yourself to a place of gratitude, the more ability you will have to over-rule anxiety. Being grateful that you are alive can help alleviate the anxiety over work, take time to consider the circumstances of your life and how lucky you are. It doesn’t come naturally and consumerism fights your ability to be content with what is.

It comes back to the dopamine, serotonin, and over-exciting the central nervous system. Anxiety is almost 100% created by a perception, but is accompanied by physical symptoms like muscular tension (which yoga definitely helps), problems with concentration (which yoga definitely helps), and fatigue/restlessness (which yoga definitely helps). People with symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder claim that yoga helps, though long terms studies have yet to be done on reducing obsession. One of the most debilitating symptoms of anxiety disorder is fear of death, which is one of the most important parts of yoga. In yoga, Shivasana, or final corpse pose is a meditation upon death and liberates the mind and soul into the present.

All of this comes back to yoga as a treatment option for anxiety, possibly more effective than any other for its symptoms. Being content with the present is about breathing and finding beauty in the small things around you, not buying cars and houses or throwing huge parties and getting wasted. Anxiety is fought by sitting still for a few minutes in the morning, taking a walk in the afternoon, and regular yoga practice will be sure to expedite anything you are already doing.  The bliss of not worrying about anything comes from breaking away from the things that you think you need, and detaching from them. This is how the detachment taught in yoga is the ultimate freedom, especially from things such as anxiety.

This concludes the three-part section on psychiatric drugs and the clinically proven effects of yoga on DSM spectrum disorders of anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity.

References:
  • http://www.discovery.org.in/PDF_Files/IJS_20130101.pdf
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3768207/
  • http://web.b.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=09735666&AN=89437925&h=FMvHxKjTmtz2ZnN9F8GZqJYPqQStNO2S41uSObyls8nyYJ3beQRCe5czz87Mb6qI6jFBuo4SuiZrCSHKcPtlLw%3d%3d&crl=c
  • http://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1751-0759-8-1
  • http://chp.sagepub.com/content/18/1/15.short
  • http://www.ijsr.net/archive/v2i12/MDIwMTM1MTM=.pdf

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