If You’re Stressed Out and You Know it Clap Your Hands!

Stress can be difficult to define. Metabolically it causes our body to release hormones which affect our mood and cause inflammation which is damaging to our overall physical and mental health. Even that wasn’t much of a definition. Stress seems to have varying definitions as it affects individuals differently, some thrive on stress while others buckle from the pressure. Defining stress is as difficult as describing how it feels; exhausting, hungering, painful, tight, irritating, angering, and depressing give a bit of a range. I might not be able to give a good definition of stress, but it is certain that stress is not good for your body or mental wellbeing. Chronic stress is associated with most major diseases, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, and with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Research has found that depression and anxiety rates are high among university students and it is no surprise as exams and coursework can be very stressful. What is important for any student is to find a way to manage their stress and to cope with it. There are a plethora of stress management techniques but one that has been the most beneficial in my life is yoga.

 
Yoga has been found to be an effective stress and anxiety reliever. Studies comparing stress levels of yoga practitioners and non-yoga practitioners have found that stress and inflammation go down with yoga practice. There have even been studies where yoga is compared to other therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which is a popular form of psychotherapy that works to change the way you think and act. These studies found that while the other therapies were effective, yoga seemed to bring about more and different positive effects. This is not to say that therapies should be stopped or replaced by yoga, but perhaps yoga should be included as part of the therapy. Looking at studies that are somewhat more relevant that involved undergraduate students, found that yoga helped with perceived stress and was found to raise mood and decrease anxiety; a tool that may be very helpful in the coming weeks.

 
Yoga is a time when your mind can fall away from work and studying and move internally to focus on your body. It’s funny how such a big part of our lives can be forgotten so quickly when we are forced to focus on something else; exams and assignments float away and the release of built up tension in your muscles smacks you in the face. In yoga you feel every shift in every muscle in your body, it is a very active form of movement even though it seems very passive from the outside. Yoga requires strength and endurance as you work to properly and energetically contort your body. The postures allow your muscles to stretch which is where the idea of the “release of tension” comes from. Not only is yoga or even just being active good for your body due to the physical release of stress, it also good for your mind.

 
Mental health studies have found that being active, including yoga practice, will raise mood. In the case of yoga this could be because it allows for meditation or personal reflection. Being able to reflect is paramount for personal growth; it is a major source of learning. When one can reflect on their actions and thoughts they can find out new things about their life and how they really feel. This may seem terrifying but it is extremely useful. When you have an unfiltered opinion of yourself it allows you to see who you are and what you think of yourself; it helps you to answer big questions like: am I happy? You don’t really need yoga to partake in personal reflection, but it does provide you with the time to do so and combing reflection with physical activity may help to clear your mind and allow for deeper thought.


Reflection is something we need in life and finding a way and the time can be difficult but it will be beneficial in the end. Figuring out who we are is a hard task and it takes a lifetime; it’s not something we decide in a day. Reflecting on our life choices as we make them will help us through the process of finding ourselves and will keep us grounded in reality. There is a lot of pressure on young people today to make big life choices in a small amount of time; it’s no wonder we’re all stressed out. Having to decide what you’re going to do with the rest of your life in four years is difficult. However, one thing to remember is that there is no law that stipulates you must decide your life trajectory right away or that you only have one shot in life; having more than one career is becoming normalized in Canadian society. Looking at myself and my friends, we certainly did not stick to plan A, some of us are on plan E already; it takes time to find what you want. Don’t be afraid to make the wrong the choice and try to avoid letting it stress you out, there’s always a plan B. Go after what you want in life and don’t be afraid to let that change, you don’t know where it might take you.


Ryerson has a Centre for Student Development and Counselling located in JOR-07c, where any student can go to receive counselling and learn more about mental health. If you have feelings of depression or need help managing your stress it would be advantageous to contact the centre. Additionally, if you are interested in trying yoga, Ryerson Moves is putting on free yoga classes (mats available) every day in SLC for the rest of November to combat end-of-term stress. For 40 minutes at varying times of day you can journey up the fifth floor of the SLC (room 508) and hopefully destress a little. If this is your first time trying yoga be sure to inform your instructor and tell them about any injuries you may have had. Yoga can be dangerous if not done properly, so if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.

Fun Happenings at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Toronto-convention-center

Toronto Vintage Clothing Show Sunday March 23, 2014

Want something fun to do on a Sunday afternoon? Check out the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show at the MTCC for some fashion finds! This show is great for men and women looking for vintage clothing and accessories that go beyond that of the traditional Queen Street or Kensington vintage shopping. Vendors from all over Canada will be presenting their authentic and chic apparel in every price range. Love name brands?  You got it! Love flapper dresses from the 20s? This is just for you! Spend a day travelling back in time and be a witness to the fashion modeled in the 20s, 30s, 40s and right up until the 90s for only $10.00.

Below you will find a $2.00 discount coupon to the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show.

http://www.torontovintageclothingshow.ca/pages/6821–2-00-off-discount-coupon

http://www.torontovintageclothingshow.ca/

 

The Yoga ConferenceFriday March 28th-Sunday March 30th 2014

For a minimal 15$, you can spend all three days of this conference gaining more knowledge on yoga practice, stress relief, deep breathing and all things yoga. There will be over 250 exhibitors and 80 master yoga teachers present within the three-day conference. There will also be over 70 classes offered during the conference. In the Yoga Garden Area, there will be classes on various yoga topics such as yoga secrets for releasing stress, Bollywood and Bhangra dance and Yin Yang infusion. In the Cultural Arts Area, there will be classes on yoga for addictions, Kundalini Trance Dance and Mantra Chants and a Kids Mandala Workshop. In addition to classes, various exhibitors will be selling yoga gear such as yoga “jellies”, yoga towels, yoga mats, yoga apparel etc. Feeling Zen? Then this is the show for you!

http://www.theyogaconference.com/toronto/index.php

 

The National Job Fair and Training Expo Wednesday April 2nd-Thursday April 3rd 2014

Are you in the midst of graduating and contemplating potential employment opportunities? This expo might be for you! This career fair will provide you the opportunity to meet with various recruiters, career service agents and admissions officers from a variety of different fields all over Canada. This expo will provide knowledgeable information of the career possibilities that are out there today in addition to personal encounters with important personnel that could lead to potential employment. In addition to learning about various companies and what they have to offer, you can also have your resume critiqued and undergo a career development assessment at no cost.  So what are you waiting for?

http://www.thenationaljobfair.com/n/en/home/

Address: The Metro Toronto Convention Centre

255 Front Street West

Toronto ON, M5V 2W6

Union Station subway stop

 

Sources:

http://www.mtccc.com/?m=0&t=0&c=1

Image from: http://gethiredca.blogspot.ca/2013/03/torontos-biggest-job-fair.html

An Anxious Road to Inner Peace

Anxiety has always been a part of my life and within the last two years I have taken it upon myself to find its root causes and be proactive in the attempt for inner peace. My anxiety doesn’t always have a trigger, which makes it difficult to “fix” if I can’t always pin point why I am feeling the way I am feeling. This past week was a perfect example of an anxious episode without a particular cause. It was in this moment that I couldn’t help but feel trapped in my apartment and trapped in my anxious mind. I was in a transition from one job to the next, my apartment was a mess and I just didn’t have the energy to clean and I felt a sense of loneliness seep in. It was then that I called my best friend and had a good ol’ cry fest. It was my conversation with her that started me thinking. She suggested I engage in a hobby, something that can be social or can be done alone, something to get me moving, maybe outside of my apartment. Something that would get me out of my head and focus on something positive.

Yoga. It came to me almost immediately when she suggested a hobby. Something that can be social or done alone. Something positive. Something I can enjoy and get out of my apartment. This was a great hobby to engage in, as I am an individual who wants to engage in exercise but can’t always find the time. I also wanted to help calm my mind with all the changes that I have faced within the last month. Yoga was the answer.

Mula Yoga Studio

Mula Yoga Studio

Now I was on my quest for the perfect studio. I know my personality; I needed something that was walking distance (otherwise I knew I wouldn’t go). I needed a studio that had classes after my work hours and had classes on the weekend. After a long search, I decided on Mula Yoga. Mula is a quick walk from my apartment and had classes at the times I needed it. They have a starting introductory fee of $42 for the first 21 days. This would give me enough practice to see whether this studio is for me. Their mission seemed to be just what I was looking for: “Mula Yoga is deeply rooted in the belief that strengthening the practice of Yoga will significantly improve the quality of life.”

I had my first class, Hot and Sweet, which was a Vinyasa class that also incorporated Yin and Restorative Yoga. It was the perfect class to begin with (especially considering I hadn’t practiced yoga in over 7 years). The held poses and stretches in accordance with the deep breathing assisted not only my body to relax, but my mind as well. One little blip during my class was that my mat didn’t seem to be sticky enough and so some poses were hard to hold as my hands and feet kept slipping. But with this aside, it was a great class.  My favourite part was the meditation at the end. I was so relaxed I almost fell asleep!

It’s unfortunate that sometimes it takes a challenging life experience for one to find something as positive as yoga. But boy am I glad I found it! I refuse to let anxiety run my life, and I can only hope that yoga will assist my body and mind to find the peace I am looking for.

Visit: http://mulayoga.ca/about/ for more information!

Mission statement provided by: http://mulayoga.ca/about/