Anxiety and stress from our day to day work and activities hits us all at some point. Celebrities and clinicians alike tout the benefits of yoga and meditation for stress and anxiety, but does it really work and how does it work? This article will delve into your brain when it is stressed or anxious and whether yoga and meditation can help.
How does stress affect the brain?
Stress silently affects our bodies and our brains. Stress is all around us, it hits us from work, our families, the news, and school commitments just to name a few. Stress can pose as a threat to our minds and bodies, sending our minds into fight (confront the issue) or flight (avoid the issue) mode. There are times where stress can seem to sharpen the mind, many who experience this share that they "perform best under tight deadlines." However, chronic stress can have negative effects on the brain. Extreme, chronic, and unmanaged stress can change the physical structure of the brain. Chronic stress would be considered "bad" stress and doctors and researchers have noted that exposure to chronic stress and those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder have brain abnormalities including imbalances in gray and white matter.
This does not mean that good stress, the kind that we described above that can sharpen the mind has the same negative effect, good stress helps wire the brain in a positive way, setting it up to be resilient.
How to Manage Stress
Now that we have established that stress can affect the brain, it is clear how important it is to manage it. There are two times to manage stress, reactively as it arises and proactively before it happens. Examples of reactive stress management include coping mechanisms to use in the moment like deep breathing, mindfulness, or visualization and imagery. Proactive measures are ones that you employ on a regular basis in order to decrease the baseline stress and anxiety that you might feel as a result. Proactive stress management techniques include practices like yoga and meditation.
How Yoga and Meditation Help Stress
Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines controlled breathing and physical poses. Yoga combines these physical and mental practices that may help you obtain more peace and manage stress in your life.
Yoga has many different styles, but there is not one that is better for stress reduction than another, research and try the best styles that work for you. Most styles incorporate poses, breathing, and meditation and relaxation.
Yoga works to reduce stress through controlled breathing, clearing the mind, and relaxation. All of these areas can have a positive impact and have you feeling less stress and anxiety.
Mindful meditation has been studied and shown effective to help calm anxious thoughts. Mindful meditation involves sitting comfortably, breathing focus, and bringing your mind's attention to the here and now without allowing it to drift into worries of the future or the past.
What to do now?
You are ready to start some yoga and mediation to proactively manage your stress and anxiety, wonderful! You are asking, where do I go from here? Here are a couple of resources to help you get started. Enjoy!
https://www.yogabasics.com/practice/yoga-for-beginners/free-beginning-yoga-videos/ - Free Yoga videos for beginners
https://mindfulness-solution.com/ - Free mindful meditation resource
You are at the point where you are ready for counseling, but you have called a few providers and they are either not taking new clients, they do not take insurance, or they seem way out of your prices range. In this article, we will talk about how you can get access to more affordable counseling in Austin.
Counseling Insurance Options
Let's start with insurance options. Most insurance companies carry panels of providers who accept your insurance. When choosing this route, you can use in-network benefits to use. The ugly truth is that many of the best therapists choose not to work with insurance providers for a variety of reasons. This includes the limits on treatment plans including number of sessions or treatment modalities.
The other option with insurance is to use your out-of-network benefits. This allows you to use any therapist with a "National Provider Identifier." These clinicians typically provide you with the proper documentation for you to file with your insurance company separately. Always check with your insurance provider as to what your out-of-network benefits are.
Employee Assistance Program
Many employers offer Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefits which include counseling sessions that are typically free of charge. These programs typically limit the number of sessions that you can use for a particular program per year. In order to access these benefits, you will need to call your Human Resources (HR) department for more information. You EAP company will help you find a therapist who participates in your program. When using your EAP benefits, ask your HR department or the EAP provider about confidentiality and your company. Some clients like to know this information so that they can make an informed decision of whether to use the benefits or not if certain information is shared with their employer.
Sliding Scale Counseling
Many counselors offer sliding scale rates for counseling. Call the provider that you are interested in and ask them if they offer these rates. Sliding scale rates are rates that are based on a client's ability to pay. If counselors do not offer sliding scale rates, they can often offer reduced rates or discounts.
It is possible to find free counseling services depending on your need. Most free counseling services are offered by non-profit community agencies. However, there are some counselors that offer pro-bono services as well.
Where To Find Resources in Austin
Seeds of change offers sliding scale and reduced fee counseling. We do not want cost to be a prohibitive barrier to the help that you need. Call us at 512-676-5813 to discuss your options and schedule a free therapy consultation or online https://10to8.com/book/oppdjsgfnxxuyvjbcd/.
You can also find Austin area counseling resource for reduced, sliding scale, or free counseling services by following this link.
We often get asked, what is the difference between a therapist and a psychologist and who should I seek for treatment? The mental health umbrella is large and encompasses many types of professionals. In this article, we will explore the different types of mental health professionals.
Therapists and counselors are terms that are often interchangeable. So what is the difference between a therapist and a psychologist? Clinically, there is not much difference between a therapist and a psychologist. Both will offer talk therapy, both can diagnose, and both can complete assessments as well as teach. In order to practice in their own practice, psychologists must have a Ph.D. while therapists must have a Masters degree.
You might be asking, what is the difference between these clinicians and a psychiatrist? A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who completed medical school and can prescribe medication, therapists and psychologists cannot. Psychiatrist nurse practitioners and general medical doctors can also prescribe medication.
What training is required to become a mental health clinician? The answer is, it varies! Below are the different mental health clinicians under the mental health umbrella and the paths that they typically follow.