Tension, stress, and anxiety – these words are synonymous with today’s new age lifestyles, many of us lose our mental peace and physical well-being in the process. We lose our ability to enjoy simple pleasures of life and instead become overwhelmed by the pressures of daily living.
Some of the symptoms of tension are:-
- Digestive problems
- Loss of mental concentration
- Extreme anger
Ayurveda, although ancient, has much to offer to help balance our modern, busy lives and bring us back to a natural state of calm. Creating inner calm is a time-honored focus of Ayurveda. Diet, lifestyle, spices, routine, stress reduction and herbs can all play a fruitful role in creating inner calm. According to Ayurveda, stress is a state where the mind is imbalanced.When the mind is in a stable state, the individual has the maximum potential to act or behave in ways that continue to keep the mind in a balanced state.
More specifically, the mind has three states or “gunas”. They are “Sattva” (knowledge, purity), “Rajas” (action, passion) and “Tamas” (inertia, ignorance). Mental disorders or imbalances are caused when “Sattva” decreases and “Rajas” and “Tamas” increase. As “Sattva” decreases, mental strength, determination, and the power to discriminate (to distinguish right from wrong) also decrease. When such a state is prolonged, the mind becomes stressed. This may then lead to other mental disorders like anxiety, depression, fear, and nervous debility.
In Ayurveda, food is considered to be an important medicine for both mind and body. In order to reduce stress, one should try to choose foods that increase “Sattva”.Fresh fruits, fruit juices, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, dry fruits, honey, dairy products and are the best to increase sattva.
Try to cut down, the use of black tea, coffee, white flour products, chocolates, white sugar products, deep fried foods and hot spices. These food increase “Rajas”. These include meat, fish, eggs, and foods that are spoiled or contain chemicals. Some of these foods may contain nutrition for the body but their effect on the mind is detrimental.
The mind has a very close relationship with breathing. Next time you become stressed, watch your breathing. Try to slow it down. Take a relaxed position and breathe deep using the abdomen muscles. Let the diaphragm expand while breathing in, and contract while breathing out. This will immediately relax you. It is always good to take short breaks at regular intervals from the busy schedule and relax (by abdominal breathing) for a few minutes.
Exercise is not only good for physical health but is also good for recreation and relaxation of mind. It changes the levels of hormones in the blood and may elevate the mood affecting brain chemicals. The exercise should initiate action in all parts of the body. Brisk walking is a good exercise to start with. Yoga is also a very good form of exercise Playing indoor games and swimming (not for competition) is also relaxing.
Meditation is a method of calming your thoughts by focusing on an object for a period of time. According to the research performed in recent years, it has been found that meditation slows down the breathing process, normalizes blood pressure, relaxes muscles and helps to reduce anxiety and stress.
It is very important to take short breaks from work and relax the mind. A Yoga posture is known as “Shavasana” or “Dead body pose” is a simple way to relax. Let each and every muscle of the body relaxed.
Gentle massage on the head (with or without oil), using your favorite aroma or fragrance, listening to soft music, chanting of “Mantras” and prayers also help to relax the mind.
Keeping a record of what causes you stress and then eliminating that cause from your routine helps to manage stress. It is beneficial to focus the mind on the present actions. This helps one to become aware of the negative thoughts and other causes responsible for stress. We can then try to eliminate these by thinking positively. Another way of increasing the state of “Sattva” and stabilizing it is learning about self.
Although all these remedies provide some relief from the mental stress immediately, it is important that you make them a part of your life process. That will keep your mind in a state of high “Sattva”, and you will be healthy, happy and peaceful always.