These are entries out of my coping journal for my psychology class. Named Stress in the Pandemic... I have found these writings to be very therapeutic.
Journal Entry 09/22: Part 1
Yesterday in class we discussed stress coping mechanisms and ways in which we can alleviate the increased stimulation of the SNS and HPA. In general, I struggle with anxiety and increased stress (which obviously this pandemic has just heightened!). I have tried meditation before and couldn’t keep up with it. By “keep up with it”, I mean I did not have the focus, nor attention span for it lol! Which I don’t beat myself up too much about it, I just don’t think it’s for me. That said, I am more than willing to try and implement yoga as a stress reduction technique. I am a very active person and I love to move my body. Therefore, I think this strategy might help me more than trying to force myself to meditate.
I am hoping that by implementing yoga, say for 15-20 minutes per day, I can lower my overall stress levels. Chronic stress levels can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure which can overtime result in strokes and heart attacks. This is termed “allostatic” first introduced by Sterling and Eyer as the body is trying to respond by increasing cortisol levels in the body (McEwen et. Al, 2007). The researchers suggest that individual behaviors such as including physical movement and reducing overall stressing have significantly reduced allostatic load. Therefore, on the premise that physical activity can lower cortisol levels, I am hoping yoga will reduce my stress,
My plan…my plan! I am planning to incorporate as I said before, 15-20 minutes of yoga per day. I tend to be more stressed and anxious in the evenings, so I am thinking of doing my yoga an hour before bed. I have followed youtubers in the past who post videos that are within this time frame. I plan to find a video, pull out my yoga mat, and just relax.
So, yes, how will I know if this makes a difference? Well… I am planning to document my stress and anxiety levels each day. I have been doing this for some time now, just because it fluctuates so much. I tend to give it a number from 1-10 based on how stressed I am, and then write what my stressors have been and my overall mood. This way, I can look back and see what is working and what is not.
With all of that said, the biggest obstacle I foresee is IMPLEMENTATION. I really do like yoga; I just know myself. If I don’t want to do it, I will stop doing it. I find it very hard to stick with something that is not in my “core” activities and desires. I really want to lower my stress, but again it’s how dedicated I am to it. If I am being honest with myself right now, I would put work over yoga. BUT! That’s not the purpose of this. I can and I will do my best to give it one week. I think it will be very beneficial for my overall stress levels and I can’t wait to see how it goes!
McEwen B. S. (2008). Central effects of stress hormones in health and disease: Understanding the protective and damaging effects of stress and stress mediators. Européen journal of pharmacology, 583(2-3), 174–185. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2007.11.071