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The Ayurvedic Perspecitive

The Ayurvedic Perspective
Dr. Chandan, Senior Ayurvedic Physician at Ananda in the Himalayas

Ayurveda as well as other ancient Hindu literature, has given detailed account of mind and mental health. According to ayurvedic texts, a person is said to have good health or swasthya (in Sanskrit) when they enjoy a balance of physical and psychological elements, of energies produced in the body and mind with proper functioning of all five senses.

A few common mental ailments and their management are enlisted below:

ANGER (Krodha)
Anger is a healthy emotion if kept in check. Major cause of ANGER is aggravated PITTA( the fiery principle) in the body- even if you don’t have a PITTA – dominant constitution. When anger exceeds thresholds it heats up the blood creating internal fire which is harmful to heart, liver causing hypertension, irritability and other mental nervous imbalances.

Ayurveda Advises:
Practice moderation in all your activities.
Practice relaxation, hatha yoga and meditation every day .
Sheetali Pranayama( The hissing breath) is very beneficial.
Exercise regularly; make time for leisure activities.
Spend time in nature.

Suggestive Diet:
According to Ayurveda everything we eat has a direct influence on our physical & mental health.
If you have excess PITTA, then choose foods with cooling and soothing properties to balance the pitta dosha. Prefer more cooling soothing alkaline based food. Avoid acidic nature food stuff.
Favorable: Sweet, bitter, cool, plenty of vegetables, fruits.
Reduce: Hot, spicy, sour, oily, citrus, alcohol, caffeine, fermented.

Drinks:
Chamomile-Tulsi-Rose herbal infusion: Take 1 Chamomile tea bag, few fresh tulsi leaves, few fresh rose petals.
Mix well in a cup of hot water and drink lukewarm, as and when required

Simple techniques to calm yourself:
Apply a little coconut oil or almond oil on the scalp, palms & soles every night before bed.
Place a drop of cooling essential oil (sandalwood, jasmine, rose) over eye brow centre, temples, chest, wrist & navel every night before bed.

 

DEPRESSION (Vishada)
Ayurveda mentions Depression as Vishada. This is also described as “most disease aggravating factor”. Depression is an illness that infiltrates your whole body. It affects the way you feel about things, situations and about yourself too.

Simple Approaches to deal with Depression:
Regular meditation practice, a healthy diet, and a regular exercise program (including yoga, strength training, and cardiovascular activities).
Important to be occupied rather than be idle

Useful Ayurvedic Herbs:
Ashwagandha(Withania somnifera)
Brahmi(Bacopa monnieri)
Guduchi(Tinospora cordifolia)
Jatamansi(Nardostachys jatamansi)

 

ANXIETY (Chinta)
Anxiety is defined as a condition where the person’s inner turmoil makes him/her react in a nervous way externally. The person shows nervous reactions like pacing back and forth, repeating same actions again and again, and many more. Anxiety is a condition that originates in the mind, causing physiological changes similar to the stress response in the body. Anxiety is a dosha imbalance where excess vata accumulates in the nervous system.
Common symptoms are restless mind, nervousness, panic, and/or fearful thoughts.

How can Ayurveda help anxiety?
Ayurveda teaches the tools to achieve a natural, healthy life by first identifying and removing the cause of the anxiety, whether it is a vata-aggravating diet or lifestyle, negative thinking, or an unhealthy reaction to stress, and then balance the doshas within the body. The Ayurvedic approach to cultivating a sense of calm and well-being is to balance vata dosha.

Diet:
-Eat at routine times to help support a healthy appetite. Lunch must be the largest meal of the day
-Take time to prepare and enjoy nutritious meals.
-Avoid ice cold drinks, particularly taken with meals or immediately after.
-Limit raw, cold foods such as salads and raw vegetables.
-Minimize caffeinated beverages and other stimulants. These increase vata, by aggravating the nervous system.
-Include warm milk spiced with a pinch of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric.This is a nutritious way to soothe the nerves and, when taken before bed, will promote sound sleep.
-Limit alcohol consumption. This substance has an adverse effect on the nervous system.

Lifestyle:
Regular moderate exercise such as walking, swimming, yoga, or tai chi can be a great way to relieve tension and anxiety and allow energy to flow freely in the body.
Try to identify negative coping patterns and replace them with positive ones such as optimism, affirmations, laughter, inspirational reading, or uplifting music.
Getting regular sleep is absolutely essential to health of both the body and mind.
Yoga, meditation, and/or pranayama, when practiced regularly, have transformative powers on the mind, body, and spirit. These practices help to quiet the mind.
Meditation is an invaluable tool for managing stress and easing anxiety. When practiced regularly, you experience a deep sense of peace.

Ayurveda, being a holistic science, emphasizes that a healthy and balanced mind plays an key role in facilitating the symbiotic relationship among the mind, body, soul.

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