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Stress and anxiety have become a part and parcel of today’s fast-paced life. Though a certain amount of tension is unavoidable in life, we should know how to manage stress and anxiety. Anxiety is the reaction to stress. If stress and anxiety have started impacting your quality of life, relationships, and are causing dysfunction, it is time to take some remedial actions before it causes greater damage.
Lifestyle changes and ayurvedic remedies are the best approaches to get rid of stress and anxiety as they are devoid of the side effects caused by the long-term use of allopathic medications.
According to Ayurveda, stress is a result of the accumulation of Vata dosha in the body. Thus, the ayurvedic treatment for stress aims at balancing the Vata dosha through herbs(medicine), ahar (dietary), and vihar (lifestyle) changes.
Find below some of the best ayurvedic remedies and medicines that will help you deal with stress and anxiety in a most wholesome manner.
Ayurveda believes oiling and massaging your head is an effective remedy for stress and anxiety. Massage improves the blood circulation to the head region and calms the nerves, thereby providing relaxation and promoting good sleep, which is very important for a stress-free mind. You can either get a head massage at home, or can visit an Ayurvedic center for “Shirodhara”, which is an ayurvedic therapeutic procedure of gently pouring oil on the forehead.
Ayurveda considers sesame oil as the best for a head massage, but it can also be done using almond or amla oil.
Several studies have established the positive effects of practicing pranayama in reducing stress and anxiety. Pranayama is mindful breathing where you gently take deep inhalations and exhalations and focus on your breathing. It improves oxygenation to the brain, calms the mind and improves concentration.
Nadi shodana (also known as anuloma viloma or alternate nostril breathing) and Shitali pranayama (a cooling form of pranayama) is considered very beneficial for relieving stress, anxiety, and depression.
Ayurveda is a staunch believer of the saying “jaisa ann, vaisa man.” The food we eat affects the levels of hormones in our body. Foods that increase the production of serotonin and reduce the levels of cortisol are good for managing anxiety. Though eating junk food, processed food, high-sugary food can give you instant gratification and happiness, they are very hard on your body’s digestive system. Blood supply to the stomach and intestine increases to help digest these, thus decreasing the blood supply to the brain, which makes you feel sluggish and fatigued. Moreover, they provide almost no nutrition and just add empty calories.
Whole grains, yogurt, nuts, dark chocolate, seasonal and local fruits, vegetables, eggs, fatty fish, are some of the foods that are rich in vitamin B, vitamin D, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, etc. which are vital for neural development and help in regulating mood, improving sleep quality, and fighting depression and anxiety. Cow milk and desi ghee should also be included in your diet as they balance the Vata dosha.
Your gut is strongly connected to your brain, thus taking care of your gut health is one of the easiest ways to manage stress and sleep. Regularizing your meal times is crucial for good digestion. You should try to have breakfast between 7 to 9 a.m., lunch between 11 to 1 p.m., and dinner between 5 to 7 p.m.
Lead a balanced life with appropriate time given to your work, pleasure, as well as rest. Do not overwork yourself and compromise on your sleep and rest to reach a goal. Get enough sleep and practice meditation to connect with the Supreme energy and rejuvenate yourself.
Friends are the greatest stress busters, so spend more time socializing with your friends. Walking is also a very good form of stress-relieving exercise, so it would be a great idea to make one of your friends your walking companion!
Ayurveda has a treasure of herbs that have proven efficacy in relieving stress, anxiety, and promoting good sleep. Following are some of the most widely used ones:
Brahmi is one of the most famous herbs in Indian Medicine for improving memory, intelligence, alertness, and mental function. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety by calming the mind and nourishing brain cells.
Khurasani Ajwain is one of the oldest herbs in Ayurveda. It is used for reducing irritability, anxiety, tension, stress, and restlessness. It helps to relax muscles, improve sleep patterns and reduce nervous exhaustion.
Shankhpushpi helps to reduce mental fatigue, sciatica, or lower back pain, stress, and nervousness.
Ashwagandha is a herb used in Ayurveda for preventing stress. It helps to reduce mental fatigue, low energy levels, mild depression, insomnia, and headaches. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root powder or juice taken with sugar candy, especially at bedtime also relieves stress.
Triphala is a popular Ayurvedic herbal formula consisting of 3 medicinal plant extracts that are combined to support healthy digestion and promote overall wellness. A mixture of Triphala, ghee, and sugar candy taken before bedtime also helps relieve stress.
Sahadevi has soothing qualities which are known to calm the mind, reduce stress, and improve the quality of sleep. It is especially beneficial for individuals suffering from insomnia.
If you are facing any psychological or physical disorder, then stress might be one of the reasons behind it. Stress is not something that should be ignored. The good thing is that there are ways to manage it. Ayurveda being one of them can help you find your inner balance back.
Ayurveda attributes many mental disorders to stress and anxiety. These disorders do not just harm the mental wellbeing of a person, but they also affect his physical health at times. In Ayurveda, different herbs are used to restore the mental balance of a person so that he can lead a peaceful life once again.
Depression and stress can also be caused by a combination of poor diet, lack of sleep and exercise, and being overworked for too long.
Ayurveda adopts a holistic approach towards managing stress and anxiety by addressing the physical, emotional, as well as mental wellbeing of an individual with the help of a balanced diet, healthy lifestyle practices, and medicinal herbs!