As thousands of young Australians prepare for their VCE exams, research by a Victoria University academic reveals how critical it is to ensure that teens engage in some form of stress management in order to maintain focus and prevent mood disorders.
Michaela Pascoe, Postdoctoral Research Fellow (The Institute for Health and Sport) reports that yoga and meditation can effectively decrease stress in young people. By reducing stress levels, teens are better equipped to achieve good grades on tests, maintain focus, complete school, and have better social relationships.
Pascoe reviewed how yoga and different forms of meditation influence the brain’s stress response system by studying physiological markers of stress, such as changes in heart rate and blood pressure, which occurs when we are stressed as part of the “fight or flight” response.
Pascoe found that meditation and yoga reduce blood pressure, compared with people who engaged in another activity, such as aerobic exercise or relaxation.
“This is important because reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.” — Michaela Pascoe.
Michaela Pascoe is available for interview to discuss the following:
- What can parents/carers do to help their teens feels less stressed during exam time?
- Why are yoga and meditation important in relation to good mental health?
- How does the brain react to stress?
- Why schools should embed yoga and/or meditation classes into the curriculum?
- Tips on how to engage/encourage teenagers to practice yoga and or meditations.
- Why understanding practical methods to protect against depression is important.
Michaela Pascoe is a Victoria University researcher who specialises in mental health, the impact of stress on the brain and mood outcomes. Her current research focuses on how mindfulness practices and exercise can modulate stress and improve over-all mental health.