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How Ayurveda can help manage stress

  • Post by: School of Ayurveda and Panchakarma
  • Date: 17-09-2021

Today’s modern times come with their share of luxuries and uncertainties. While it is true that the nature of life has significantly improved, the leading stress gradually piles up over several workstreams. Ayurveda and yoga possess impressive solutions to resist stress and lead a healthy life as well as a peaceful mindset. Read along to understand how‌ ‌Ayurveda‌ ‌can‌ ‌help‌ ‌manage‌ ‌stress

Ayurveda‌ ‌Stress‌ ‌Management‌

The terminology in Ayurved for stress is Sahasa. Stress by causing Ojahksaya (defeat of immunity) increases the susceptibility of the body to several disorders. Avoiding stress-inducing activities is the best strategy for treatment. If it is inevitable, the body should be completely protected by receiving good care of the diet and adequate sleep as prescribed by the body. ‌

It is believed in Ayurveda that stress is exposed to three vital energies, or Doshas, in our body, which are Pitta, Vata, and Kapha. The precise balance of these Doshas plays a vital role in the scope of negative stress. To preserve good health, it’s a prerequisite to fine-tune these Doshas to be in ideal balance. A person’s personality is influenced by their dominant Doshas. Identifying these dominant Doshas is the first step of interpreting the causes behind your stress and pursuing the right stress management techniques to counter them.

Ayurveda aims to stabilize the fluctuations of the mind and body to manage stress. The aim is to pacify the Vata energy through balanced diet and lifestyle measures, through sleep, through botanicals and every other thing that are anti-Vata. Vata is known to drive disease in the long term, so pacifying and quieting Vata is a primary consideration for managing stress and overall health.

The‌ ‌Consequences‌ ‌of‌ ‌Excess‌ ‌Stress‌

Our bodies are built in such a way that they are well equipped to handle stress in small doses. However, when that stress becomes chronic or long-term, it can have adverse effects on your body and mind. 

  • With the sudden onset of excess stress, the muscles may tense up all at once and then release this built-up tension when the stress passes. Excess stress makes the muscles in the body to be in a more or less constant state of vigilance and alertness. Keeping the muscles taut and tense for long periods of time may trigger other unwanted reactions of the body and even promote stress-related disorders.
  • The main responsibility of the respiratory system is to supply oxygen to cells and remove carbon dioxide from the body. Oxygen-rich air is inhaled through the nose and goes through the larynx in the throat, down through the trachea, and into the lungs via the bronchi. Oxygen is then transferred to the red blood cells through the bronchioles for circulation. Excess stress and overwhelming emotions can cause many respiratory difficulties, such as rapid breathing or shortness of breath as the airway between the nose and the lungs constricts. This can often lead to dizziness or in extreme cases, loss of consciousness.
  • Excess stress, or persistent stress experienced over a prolonged period of time, can lead to long-term problems for blood vessels and the heart. The elevated levels of stress hormones and frequent yet involuntary increase in heart rate increases the blood pressure which can take a heavy toll on the body. The risk for hypertension, heart attack, or stroke is increased due to this long-term ongoing stress.
  • Stress is often associated with changes in the gut bacteria which in turn can influence our mood. The nerves and bacteria of the gut strongly influence the brain and vice versa. Early life stress and mental trauma faced during childhood can alter the development of the nervous system as well as how the body reacts under stress. These changes, if not treated in time, can increase the risk for gut diseases or total dysfunction.
  • Exhaustion due to overexertion can also raise the severity of regularly occurring heartburn pain. Intense stress can sometimes set off a rare case of spasms in the oesophagus which can be easily mistaken for a heart attack.
  • Excess Stress may increase the amount of air that is swallowed and make swallowing foods difficult, which causes bloating, burping and gas formation. Stress can even influence digestion and which nutrients are absorbed by the intestines. 

 ‌5‌ ‌Ways‌ ‌to‌ ‌Manage‌ ‌Stress‌ ‌with‌ ‌Ayurveda‌

  1. Physical Exercise: Exercising the body helps in releasing endorphins (feel-good hormones) which is essential for body maintenance. Exercises like swimming, running and climbing can help in treating stress as well as help in burning calories to keep your weight levels in check. Exercise also aids in boosting your alertness and focus and thus boosting your overall mental health. The benefits of proper exercise cannot be stressed enough.
  2. Massage therapy: Stress is usually built up in various parts of the body. Massage therapy is one of the best methods to reduce stress levels in the body. Using a concoction of specific medicated oils to massage your head and body at professional Ayurvedic massage centres can work wonders. Massage therapy can quickly improve blood circulation in the body and result in lowering the levels of stress. 
  3. Balanced Nutrition: It may seem unconnected, but a healthy diet prepares the body to battle stress and anxiety. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your daily food to increase your intake of necessary vitamins and antioxidants. Restrict non-vegetarian foods, especially red meats as they can lead to the accumulation of toxins in the body and cause several problems. Foods like dark chocolate and nuts are known for boosting the mood while promoting feelings of satisfaction.
  4. Techniques to Relax: Meditation is a highly effective process with which you can practice relaxation and it really helps in calming the mind. Basic meditation techniques like practising mindfulness and focusing on your breath are included in Yoga and they are extremely beneficial in improving mental health. There is a wide range of Asanas in Yoga aimed at reducing stress levels.
  5. Herbs: Herbs like Brahmi have properties that are known to reduce stress levels in your body as they help in controlling anxiety and stress. It also supplements the body with necessary antioxidants that are good for the body. Similarly, Ashwagandha is another herb known for limiting levels of stress and an overall fatigue in the body while improving the immunity of the body, meaning that you will be less prone to diseases.

In conclusion, it is crucial to maintain a balance at the physical, mental and emotional levels. Now you may have got a clear idea of how Ayurveda can help manage stress Although it takes a lot of practise and discipline, maintaining a good balance, your life is the key to stress and anxiety-free life.