Ayurveda Tips for Stress Reduction
Nature thrives on harmony. We thrive with nature. A seed sprouts when there is synchronization of soil, water and sunshine. Happiness thrives when there is accord in our external and internal environment. Any discord in this harmony results in stress.
Stress is normal physical response to situations that make a person feel threatened or insecure. Stress response is generated when a person senses danger, which could be real or imaginary. It’s a way our body has been attuned naturally to protect itself and be secure from danger. Some stress is needed to keep us motivated and to accomplish our goals. Stress becomes a problem when it starts affecting our physical, emotional and social health in an unconstructive way. We need professional help when stress starts upsetting our wellbeing, mood, relationships, productivity i.e. the overall quality of life. It is not so intricate to manage stress. The secret lies in our own ability to handle the day to day challenges of life in an optimistic way.
Ayurveda attributes inability to understand our deeper inner self as one of the causes of stress. When an individual is unable to balance the real self (what we are) with the ideal self (what we desire to become) it results in stress. However the main cause of stress is the Imbalance of Doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When an external stimuli or stressor results in erratic response (Physical or mental) it causes the imbalance of Vata. This leads to disturbance in body metabolism and enzymatic activity resulting in the imbalance of Pitta. This affects the other functions in body resulting in slowdown, heaviness, stagnation, hopelessness etc., meaning the Kapha has been Imbalanced.
Ayurveda, the science of life, mainly focuses on restoring the balance. Treatment is based on body constitution of the individual and the imbalanced doshas. Some ways to create harmony and manage stress with Ayurveda are:
Dincharaya or the daily regimen: For a healthy life it’s necessary to have regular sleep wake time. Eating healthy food keeps body healthy and provides strength to manage daily stressors like deadlines, family engagements etc.
Exercise rejuvenates body as well as mind. It strengthens muscles and builds stamina to deal with the stressors. Regular physical activity in any form like, yoga, walk, jogging, cycling etc is therapeutic. Choose age appropriate activity according to your interest. Seek the advice of a medical practitioner if needed. Yoga should be practiced under the guidance of a qualified yoga practitioner to gain maximum benefit.
Meditation has the power to soothe the troubled mind. It enables a person to calm the thought process resulting in better concentration, stress relief, normalized blood pressure and better health. Meditation slows down the breathing rate and helps in relieving stress and anxiety.
Breathing is closely related to our state of mind. When a person is relaxed and happy, breathing is calm and tranquil. When a person is anxious or stressed breathing becomes short , shallow and anxious. Thus it really helps to observe our breath. When stressed, try to slow down the breathing rate. Sit in a relaxed position and take a few long deep breaths. Feel the air coming from deep within you, deep down from your abdomen. Deep breathing is a good way to take short breaks to relax during a hectic busy schedule.
Seeking professional help is always better when one feels that stress is not letting the individual lead a healthy and happy life. Identifying the stressor and eliminating the cause of stress can be achieved by undergoing professional counseling. Rasayana therapy and other ayurvedic medications have the ability to calm mind and provide relief from physical symptoms associated with stress. Ayurvedic procedures like oil application on body once a week (Abhyanga), Pouring medicated oil on head (Shirodhara), Oral adminstration of mixture of herbs in ghee or butter (sneh panam) are really helpful in relaxing mind and body.
These procedures ensure a reduction in tension and help in restoring the dosha imbalance leading to a relaxed mind and body. This provides relief from stress and improves the overall quality of life creating harmony and enabling individuals to accept each day as it comes, with ease.
© Moninder Kaur Rekhi