The more yoga I practice and teach, the more I see why it's so needed in the world today. As a population, we are pushing our bodies and minds to brink of collapse.
Our 21st century culture of coffee, digital communication and excess working hours leave us with zero inner peace. Self care is no longer a priority and a false sense of "health" is emerging thanks to vitamin and supplement industries. Below are my top culprits for why our population suffers from acute anxiety and stress.
1) Success Culture.
Our fast paced, success driven society is making us ill. The UK has the longest working week in Europe, simply because self care and taking a break comes second to creating fast deadlines and pushing for the next pay rise. As a result, we are a nation pumped full of adrenaline. This is the prime cause of our anxiety, digestive, heart and fertility problems. We are living in a state of fight or flight - a response that is designed to save us from life threatening situations. It's not meant for small, every day stresses, like being late for a meeting.....
Over time, firing up our fight or flight response and living in a body flooded with adrenaline can lead to more severe cell mutation - cancer, heart attack, organ failure, dementia, depression and bi-polar. We are not designed to live in an ocean of adrenaline - therefore our bodies are struggling with the overdose.
Our love for coffee, combined with our fast paced culture leads to a deadly cocktail. Caffeine is a stimulant - just like stress, it stimulates our adrenal glands, our heart and digestive system. Caffeine essentially, pushes our systems into mild fight or flight. More than one cup a day makes it very difficult for our body to naturally calm down. Not only does it have to work hard to clear the adrenaline caused from stress, it's now being pounded with caffeine - creating more adrenaline. Our bodies are experiencing a war zone - and we are the ones causing it.
3) Life Online.
The digital era is revolutionary to the world of communication, business and technology. However it's detrimental to our health. We all know about how the blue light emitted from screens stimulates our brain into "awake and wired" mode. Imagine being pumped full of adrenaline and vats of coffee whilst staring at a screen into the early hours of the morning. Your body? Absolutely recked.
The main issue with blue light is that hi-jacks our natural sleep rhythm. Melatonin (our sleep hormone) is rejected, as our brains are telling our hormonal glands that it's not time for bed. Hence, the natural dosage (which our bodies have cleverly worked out) is messed up and we don't receive enough. As a result, we are a population who suffer from insomnia, fatigue, migraines, low mood, skin, hair and sight problems.
So what's the solution you might ask?
Well, step one is the notice if any of the above apply to your life and if so, try and find a happy medium. Perhaps taking the weekend off, enrolling in yoga classes a few nights a week, taking time to get out into nature, sleeping more, enjoying de-caff coffee, turning off all screens after 9pm, enjoying light dinners and hearty breakfasts, learning how to breathe properly. The list is endless.....
Step one, is just to bring awareness to the fact that your health is valuable. Next, is to ask yourself the question: Am I sacrificing my health?
From there, you'll know what to do.