We all have an instinctive stress response that releases hormones into our bloodstream when we are faced with danger. These hormones cause instant mental and physical change in us, giving added strength and endurance so we can fight or take flight.
Instead of using our stress hormones in emergencies, we live at such a pace that many of us activate them all the time – like when we are going to miss a train or someone cuts us up on the motorway.
Most tense people don't give themselves sufficient time and space to rest after each stress-filled moment. With no release, your stress hormones keep on working, which is why there are so many people around who lose their tempers at the slightest provocation.
There are three different manifestations of day-to-day stress - mental, emotional, and physical. Each requires different approaches and therapies.
Mental stress, according to Ayurveda, is caused by an overuse or misuse of the mind. For instance, if you perform intense mental work many hours a day, or if you work long hours on the computer, it can cause an imbalance in Prana Vata, the mind-body operator concerned with brain activity, energy and the mind. The first symptom of Prana Vata imbalance is losing the ability to handle day-to-day stress. As the person becomes more stressed, it impacts mental functions such as Dhi, Dhriti, and Smriti-Acquisition, retention, and recall. The person's mind becomes hyperactive, yet the person loses the ability to make clear decisions, to think positively, to feel enthusiastic, and even to fall asleep at night.
To address day-to-day mental stress, it is important to begin by managing mental activity. Secondly, you can take measures to pacify Prana Vata, for example, by:
It is important to get plenty of rest, and if you are having trouble falling sleep, avoid stimulants like caffeine and sip of herbal tea. Instead relaxing aromatherapy and meditation can help calm the mind.
Emotional stress can be caused by a problem in a relationship, the loss of a relative, or any situation that might hurt the heart. Emotional stress shows up as irritability, depression, and emotional instability. It affects sleep in a different way than mental stress - it can cause you to wake up in the night and not be able to go back to sleep.
Emotional stress disturbs Sadhaka Pitta, the mind-body operator concerned with the emotions and functioning of the heart. To balance emotional stress, you need to favor Pitta-pacifying foods and routine, such as:
Eating lots of sweet juicy fruits
Favoring Pitta-pacifying foods such as the sweet, bitter and astringent tastes.
Drinking a cup of warm milk with cooling Rose petal preserve before bed.
Cooking with cooling spices such as cardamom, coriander, cilantro, and mint.
A daily self-massage with a cooling oil such as coconut oil.
Going to bed before 10:00 p.m.
Physical stress is caused by misuse or overuse of the body, such as exercising too much or working for extended periods at a job that is physically taxing. This can cause a person to experience physical fatigue, along with mental fogginess, difficulty in concentrating, and dullness of the mind.
Excessive physical strain causes three sub-doshas to go out of balance: Shleshaka Kapha, the subdosha concerned with lubrication of the joints and moisture balance in the skin, Vyana Vata, which governs the circulation, nerve impulses and the sense of touch, and Tarpaka Kapha, which governs the neuro humors.
Another reason for physical stress can be too little exercise, which results in a sluggish digestion and the formation of ama, the digestive impurities that clog the channels. In either type of physical fatigue, the process of regenerating cells slows down, and thus the cells themselves become physically tired.
The solution is to balance Vata and to support Kapha to make the body more stable and nurturing, for example, by:
Getting adequate rest and moderate exercise
Following a Vata-Kapha pacifying diet
Performing the full-body warm oil self massage everyday
Certain foods are natural stress busters according to Ayurveda. These include walnuts, almonds, coconut, sweet juicy, seasonal fruit such as pears, apples (cooked if possible), milk, and fresh cheeses such as panir or ricotta.
On the other hand, if you build your resilience to stress through natural methods, you can begin to experience stressors more as a challenge or a positive opportunity for growth. If you learn to evoke the 'stay and play' rather than the 'fight or flight' response, you can truly live a stress-free life of self-actualization, and become a 'spiritual being' in human form.
Note: Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the three psycho-physiological ayurvedic principles that govern all the activities of the mind and body. A person enjoys perfect health if these principles are in perfect balance.
Continuing psychological and emotional problems
Gastritis or ulcers
High blood pressure, strokes
Exhaustion, chronic fatigue
PanchaKarma Treatments are meant to flush out the toxins, they are classified as pre-purification, main purification and post purification phases and include various types of therapies like oil massages , Shiro-dhara , Padabhyang ,Shashtik Shali Pind swed , Head massage , fermented liquid massages, medicinal enemas, herbal purification methods.
Rasayana Therapies are meant to nourish the body, to bring the doshas back to balance and to regenerate the body. These comprise diet regulations, daily regimens, intake of oral medicines and Ayurveda tonics, yoga and a stress free life. After the treatment the Ayurveda doctors will advise you how to lead a healthy life. The benefits and results of the treatment are shown only after the Rasyana Treatment is over and doctor’s advice is strictly followed. The results will manifest it normally after 3 to 4 weeks as the body takes time to regenerate itself.
Proper diet is a brilliant means of controlling and curing Stress Management. Ayurveda diet provides adequate nutrition as well as rest for the needed organs.
Stress Management patients are advised to stick to a pure, natural and wholesome diet, low in fat and cholesterol. They should strictly avoid alcohol, salt, sweets, tobacco etc. A diet of natural foods and germinated wheat are recommended. Raw root vegetables, whole wheat bread, cheese, butter, honey, and raw milk are recommended. Juice of fresh fruits and vegetables should be consumed in large quantities.
To reduce tension, relax muscles and to relieve stress related aches.
Includes combination of any two or three of the following therapies depending upon the body condition of the patients.
|Special head massage||Shiro Dhara||Padabhyanga|
|Shashtik Shali Pind swed||Abhyanga||Basti (Medicinal enemas)|
|Intake of Ayurvedic medicines||Rasayana therapy||Yoga and Meditation|
In today’s stressful life style this procedure greatly relives stress and strain.
Controls depressive tendencies, anxiety and other psychosomatic disorders.
Pacifies the mind and corrects hypertension.
Acts purely with herbal tranquilizers.
Improves the systemic circulation associated with induction of sleep.
The therapy helps to develop positive attitude towards life.