As the global pandemic continues, health experts say it’s important to not only account for physical health, but mental health as well. The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that “the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people and communities.”
“Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children,” the CDC’s website states.
If you find yourself feeling understandably more anxious right now, a new study shows that doing yoga could helpful.
The research, conducted by a team of researchers at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, found that “yoga improves symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, a condition with chronic nervousness and worry, suggesting the popular practice may be helpful in treating anxiety in some people.”
“Generalized anxiety disorder is a very common condition, yet many are not willing or able to access evidence-based treatments,” Dr. Naomi M. Simon said in a statement. “Our findings demonstrate that yoga, which is safe and widely available, can improve symptoms for some people with this disorder and could be a valuable tool in an overall treatment plan.”
In the study, the researchers tracked a group of 226 people with anxiety disorder and assigned them randomly to three separate groups: cognitive behavioral therapy, yoga and stress-management education.
After three months, the researchers found that the cognitive behavioral therapy and yoga to be more effective than stress management. According to the researchers, 54% of people who practiced yoga “met response criteria for meaningfully improved symptoms compared to 33 percent in the stress-education group.”
Additionally, the CDC recommends the following measure to look out for your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak:
Stay informed, but avoid over-saturating yourself with coverage of the virus
Take deep breaths and try to meditate
When you can, eat healthy foods and get regular exercise
Take time to unwind “and remind yourself that strong feelings fade”
Take breaks from consuming coverage
Connect with others about what you are feeling
Maintain healthy relationships with friends or family members
Try to maintain a sense of positive thinking
The CDC also has resources available about coping with a disaster or traumatic event at emergency.cdc.gov/coping/index.asp.