A new study has found that yoga and other exercises that have a relaxing effect on the body, can help social anxiety disorder patients to look at the world positively. Adam Heenan, Ph.D. from Queen’s University has found that relaxation activities can literally bring about a change in the way people perceive the world by altering their perceptions in such fashion that they view the environment in a less threatening, and less negative way. For those people who have mood and anxiety disorders, this can be an important breakthrough.
To do the research, Heenan used point-light displays; this is a depiction of a human that is comprised of different dots representing the major joints of the body. The human point-light are sown as depth-ambiguous because of which an observer looking at the display can see it as either facing towards them or facing away.
Researchers found that people who have social anxiety perceive these figures as facing towards them more often after they have been through a few yoga classes or exercise sessions. Heenan said that the people who either walked or jogged on a treadmill for about 10 minutes perceived the ambiguous figures to be facing towards them less often than those who just stood on the treadmill. The same was true when people had performed progressive muscle relaxation.
This step was important because anxious people tend to display a bias to focus on more threatening things in the environment.
Article source: Deccan Chronicle
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