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Stress Management Specialist

Cheryl Hurst, PsyD

Health Psychologist located in The Loop, Chicago, IL

Dr. Cheryl Hurst is a health psychologist and yoga instructor in Chicago, who combines her two fields of expertise to help clients eliminate unnecessary stress and manage unavoidable stress better. Getting stress under control is essential for avoiding long-term health problems like heart disease, so contact her for a consultation to learn about the mind and body benefits of yoga therapy for stress management.

Stress Management Q & A

What is the impact of stress on your health?

Learning how to relieve stress is essential if you want to stay healthy in the long run because stress negatively affects your entire body. Here are a few examples of what happens when we live with chronic stress:

Muscle tension: Muscles immediately tense in response to stress, then relax when stress is relieved. When you have ongoing stress and muscles stay tense, you can develop headaches, chronic shoulder tension, and background pain.

Heart and blood vessel effects: Stress hormones boost your heart rate, then let it drop back to normal when whatever caused the stress goes away. When these hormones stay chronically high due to long-term stress or a stressful lifestyle, your risk for high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack increases.

High blood sugar: Stress triggers hormones that raise blood sugar for energy. This could lead to Type 2 Diabetes in people who are more susceptible, such as those who are overweight or who have a family history of diabetes.

How does yoga relieve stress?

Yoga gets you active with a smooth mindset which helps you relax, some of the best ways to eliminate stress. Yoga is uniquely designed to relieve stress through its emphasis on mindful movement, controlling the breath, and deep relaxation. Each yoga pose relieves tension by stretching muscles, aligning the anatomy, and restoring balance to the body, which immediately helps the mind let go of thoughts that trigger stress. The combination of controlled breathing and stretching your body may directly result in a drop of stress hormones.

By simply helping you relax — which is a fundamental part of yoga therapy — yoga can:

  • Slow your heart rate and breathing
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce stress hormones
  • Increase blood flow to hormones
  • Relieve muscle tension and pain
  • Improve concentration
  • Prevent fatigue
  • Reduce anger and frustration

What advantages do you gain from yoga therapy with Dr. Hurst?

As a highly-qualified yoga instructor and yoga therapist, Dr. Hurst leads you through precisely sequenced physical poses with guided breathing, followed by a period of deep relaxation or pranayama. Yoga practice alone reduces stress, but with Dr. Hurst you gain another advantage — she’s also an experienced and licensed clinical psychologist who has specialized in the field of health psychology for the past 20 years.

Dr. Cheryl Hurst works one-on-one with clients, so she can understand your individual life stressors and focus on ways to eliminate all reactivity to your stress triggers. Don’t hesitate to contact her to learn how yoga therapy can relieve stress while strengthening the body-mind connection.