Namaste Dear one
Hope you start your day with energy and positive attitude. This is the best way to behave for good health and good mind and live your true life.
I think it’s good to talk about the stress that comes back very easily lately. We must recognize it and welcome it to find our natural healing solutions thanks to Ayurveda and Yoga.
I will start to define what is stress and at the end tell what are the natural healing solutions for relieving it.
What is stress for Ayurveda medicine?
Stress is one of those words that is overused and we actually lose its real meaning. Stress is also commonly referred to as anxiety, tension, or even angst…
The events, the situations, which produce stress are not bad things, as one might think from certain clichés.
Stress is a necessary function of our psyche and organism that allows us to cope with different situations, both positive and negative. Stressors involve changes in your environment that your central nervous system has to adapt to during daily life.
Stressors include positive or negative life events (death, divorce, new job, new house, baby, etc.) that force you to adapt to these changes.
Stress occurs when the pressures, challenges or demands of life overwhelm your ability to adapt. Stress can manifest itself in physical, emotional or behavioral symptoms.
It can come from any situation or thought that makes you frustrated, angry, or anxious.
What is stressful for you is not necessarily stressful for another. Stress in everyday life is not necessarily a bad thing. However, uncontrolled or negative stress can be a bad thing that can have many consequences on your mental and physical health.
A little stress can motivate you to do your job, for example. It can make you more aware in a situation that needs serious attention.
Stress can also be used as a safety mechanism to save one’s life. It’s a defense mechanism rooted in your reptilian brain. The first men on earth saved themselves from danger by this message from the reptilian system.
However, too much stress, or a strong stress reaction, is emotionally and physically damaging. This can expose you to a deterioration in your general health as well as to specific physical and/or psychological illnesses such as infections, chronic diseases, heart disease or depression.
Persistent and relentless stress often leads to anxiety and unhealthy behaviors like overeating and abusing alcohol or drugs.
A weak emotional state or poor health can also cause stress.
Your physical and emotional symptoms can be:
It works both ways. Stress and anxiety (which is stress for no apparent reason, chronic stress) is often accompanied by physical symptoms:
- Muscle tension, headaches,
- Dry mouth, difficulty swallowing
- Abdominal pain (which may be the symptom of stress, especially in a child)
- Lack of concentration
- Sleep problems
- Irregular heartbeat
- Irritability (anger)
Almost all of these symptoms seem to indicate a marked increase or imbalance in the Vata dosha.
However, all three doshas can play a role in stress. Generally, if you are Vata, you are likely to develop stress reactions aggravated by Vata, such as fear, even phobias or anxiety neuroses.
If you are Pitta, you increase your Pitta in stressful situations and you generally react to stress with anger. You may also suffer from hypertension, peptic ulcer disease, ulcerative colitis, and other Pitta disorders eventually.
If you are Kapha and stressed, you can develop various disorders such as underactive thyroid function, slow metabolism and even increased blood sugar, which leads to a prediabetic state. And then you tend to eat more.
From a physical point of view, the human body responds to stressors by activating the nervous system and specific hormones of the endocrine system. These hormones increase heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and metabolism.
The blood arteries then open further to allow blood to flow into the muscles. This puts your muscles on alert. your pupils dilate to improve your vision. Your liver releases some of its stored glucose to increase the amount of energy available. And sweat is produced to cool the body. All of these physical changes prepare you to react quickly and effectively to the pressure of the moment.
Cortisol also reduces functions that would be non-essential or harmful in a fight or flight situation. It impairs your immune responses and slows down your digestive system, reproductive system, and growth processes. It is said in the Sushruta Samhita that: “a person having a uniformly healthy digestion, whose bodily humors are in a state of equilibrium, and in whom the basic vital fluids circulate in their normal state and quantity, accompanied by the normal processes of secretion and organic function, is considered a healthy person“.
When your body is working properly, your stress response processes improve your ability to act well under pressure. But the stress response can also cause problems when it is excessive or when it does not shut down and reset properly.
Ayurveda approaches : your problems and illness
Now let’s focus on some of the main symptoms, problems and illnesses that stress can cause and see what Ayurveda’s approach is to these.
One of the main problems that can arise is depression. It goes without saying that depression is a very big problem in our society. It affects most of us at one point or another in our lives to a greater or lesser degree, but when it begins to last or affect the ability to act and interact in normal situations of life, it becomes a disease that must be treated. Depression is more emotional than physical and is a very stress-responsive symptom.
As Dr. David Frawley states, “Depression, especially accompanied by adrenal fatigue, follows stress, overwork and trauma. It is usually a sign of low Ojas (immune function). Depression is Kapha disorder. The most common.” If you are Kapha, you can often suffer from low energy, slower metabolism, weight gain, and over-attachment.
These characteristics can lead to depression.
If you are Vata, you can easily be affected by stress and depression. You are more sensitive to it because it hurts more easily.
Vata-type depression is associated with feelings of abandonment, lack of love and care in life. It can become serious or even suicidal.
The Pitta depression is largely due to a failure, a setback.
Some of the general Ayurvedic methods of treatment depression are an uplifting, light and well-spiced diet of mind-opening herbs, such as ginger and basil.
Ayurvedic and yogic solution for your stress
So if you suffer from depression, follow these tips.
Expose yourself to positive sights and sounds, such as those on a nature walk.
- Aroma inhalation
Inhale stimulating and positive aromas such as those of camphor or tangerine.
- Physical exercices
Do physical exercises and pranayama which are recommended to renew your vital energy (Prana). Then, as with any good Ayurvedic treatment, you have to maintain a good Apana Vayu (downward movement) with transit regulator like the Triphala.
Muscle tension is another important symptom of stress.
In the Astanga Hridayam it is said “that when Vata enters the arteries and nerves present on the sides of the neck, it causes their stiffness and this then spreads to all parts of the body, first contracting the shoulders , then bending the body forward like a bow; this produces convulsions, loss of eye movement, yawning, grinding of the teeth, vomiting of Kapha (mucus), pain in the flanks, incapacitation to speak, loss of movement of the lower jaw, back and head. It is called Anaryama.”
This is obviously an extreme example of symptoms related to muscle tension. However, many people experience several of these symptoms on a regular basis. Headaches and stiff neck seem to be everywhere.
Ayurveda seeks as always to balance your doshas through diet, lifestyle and mindset.
- Use of herbs and diet
In this specific case, she also prescribes both sedatives and nerve tonics such as Ashwaganda and Jatamamsi, and painkillers such as feverfew. You probably also need to address issues related to your lifestyle, what makes you so tense and stressed is your job, your couple, your lack of rest, etc… You can use sensory therapies like massage, Shirodhara and aromatherapy which are also very helpful.
Chronic fatigue is another common phenomenon that can be caused by stress.
Fatigue is physical and mental stress.
Chronic Fatigue is also called Shrama and it is a condition of increased Vata.
You will need an anti-Vata, toning and fortifying diet. Sensory therapies such as Abhyanga massage practiced daily will take away your fatigue and stress from work and life in general.
Rosemary baths taken in the morning are also recommended.
If you are pitta and stressed, you may suffer from ulcerative colitis. It is actually a Pitta/Vata-like condition, in that it is a chronic inflammatory disease causing ulceration.
The cause or etiology of this disease is a disharmonious lifestyle and dietary imbalances.
Emotionally, this condition manifests if you are prone to worry, anxiety, combined with anger.
The pathology of this disease is that Pitta has moved from the small intestine to the colon and Vata has moved from the large intestine to the small intestine. This combination of heat and dryness causes ulcers on the walls of your mucous membranes.
The doshas also move in the mind. This causes anger and anxiety. A soothing diet of both Vata and Pitta is then recommended. Nutmeg and liquorice are therefore recommended to promote absorption and reduce your Vata and Pitta.
Stress can also cause you sleep problems. In this case, it is usually a Vata disturbance. Moreover, we notice that sleep disorders are often accompanied by fear, worry and anxiety.
Sleep issues, particularly with respect to the Vata type we are discussing here, require most if not all sensory therapy. It is important to make changes in your lifestyle but you have to go little by little so as not to add additional stress linked to this change.
What can cause problems may be a tyrannical boss or an extremely chaotic or noisy workplace, too much coffee or caffeinated drinks, or too many screens (TV, smartphone, computer,…) before going to bed. A long and difficult trip can also be very disturbing (eg: long trip, with multiple changes).
What about sleep disorder due to stress?
Some simple things can help you with sleep disorders: staying calm in the evening (after dark) before going to sleep, getting up with the sun, having a regular routine, not watching television at night (best being not to have one), read a spiritual book to calm your nerves and awaken your awareness, and meditate before bed (or even twice a day if possible).
Meditation works on all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. It also affects your three physical, astral and causal bodies. From a practical physical perspective, meditation balances your autonomic nervous system, which regulates the functioning of many of your organs and muscles, as well as your heart rate, sweating, breathing, and digestion.
Physical exercise, preferably a regular practice of restorative hatha yoga can also help you. Also, taking a hot bath before going to bed is relaxing, especially if you add a little essential oil of Jatamansi (Nard of the Himalayas) or Lavender. An anti-Vata diet is advised. “Boiled milk builds Ojas, promotes sleep. Boiled, it reduces Vayu and Kapha.”
Massage your feet with sesame oil before going to sleep.
How to decrease your anger due to stress?
Anger is another problem that stress can cause, especially in Pitta people. Anger and hostility are signs of aggravation of Pitta in the nervous system. Pitta is necessary for good understanding and discernment, but when disturbed or out of balance, it creates misunderstanding and poor judgment, resulting in anger and hostility.
The goal is to return Pitta to his normal constitutional function. Most people in our modern, western society create tremendous stress on themselves in order, they believe, to be able to keep up with others, and even compare themselves to others in order to judge themselves. We even create a kind of false desire for what others have. It can really create a lot of stress and anger.
Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: “ruminating on sensory objects causes attachment to them. Attachment breeds desire; desire breeds anger. Anger breeds delusion; delusion breeds loss of memories. Loss Right memories cause degeneration of the ability to discriminate. From degeneration of discrimination follows annihilation (of the spiritual life).” This is a disorder that can obviously run very deep, but from an Ayurvedic perspective we can consider it a primary Pitta imbalance.
In order to overcome this stress-induced anger, an anti-pitta diet is advised, in which pungent spices and aromatics, citrus fruits and acidic foods are prohibited, as are alcohol and caffeinated beverages. You can make this anti-pitta drink at home: in 1 glass of grape juice, add one teaspoon of cumin, one of fennel and one of powdered sandalwood. This drink helps calm your feelings of anger and other Pitta symptoms such as heartburn.
If you are Pitta in a hot climate, you should try to stay as cool as possible. The heat can really stress you out.
You can practice a lunar pranayama (breathing through the left nostril only) it is even strongly recommended, just like Shitali or Sitkari. You should avoid physical activities that make you sweat a lot (eg jogging at lunchtime or yoga in a heated room). Of course, meditation is, again, very useful. If you are prone to stress and anger issues you can benefit immensely from disconnecting the Ahamkara (ego).
Heart disease and stress
Heart disease is another area where stress is known to be a cause or a causative factor.
In Ayurveda and also according to Eastern medicine in general, the heart, and not the brain, is the seat of consciousness. Dr. Frawley explains that what you feel in your heart is who you really are, unlike the fleeting thoughts you have in your head. He goes on to say that “heart disease reflects deeply rooted questions of identity, feeling, and consciousness.” Considering this reasoning, it’s easy to see why emotions and stress, like overeating, not eating the right foods, lack of exercise, etc., can cause heart problems.
Allopathic medicine as well as Ayurvedic medicine consider that high stress can be a causative factor in heart disease. The prevalence and incidence of angina increase with perceived stress. It is noted that in the hospital, high stress is associated with a higher rate of admissions related to cardiovascular diseases. Studies conducted in the United States reveal that stress plays a definite role in triggering or worsening depression and cardiovascular disease.
Ayurvedic treatment emphasizes a prolonged period of rest. A spiritual retreat in a natural setting can work wonders, especially if you’ve been a stressed city dweller for a while.
Meditation and pranayama are great for calming your mind and your emotions. Certain herbs are greatly helpful, depending on the individual’s particular problem and constitution. However, the Arjuna, tridoshic, generally serves as the basis for Ayurvedic formulas for the heart. Then constitutionally correct plants are added.
Stress can play a huge role in your life. As we have seen, it contributes to the outbreak of diseases. It can cause “benign” things like mild sleep disturbances and life-threatening heart disease.
As you can see, Ayurvedic medicine and Yoga science can play a major role in alleviating or even eliminating these kinds of problems.
Ayurveda and yoga offers different methods:
– With a diet adapted to your person.
– What do you ingest three times a day, every day? Is this correct for you?
– How is the elimination, the transit going? The Apana must be moved daily so that the toxins do not accumulate and overflow into the Rasa and Rakta Dhatus and spread to other weakened parts of your body. This can be easily treated with herbal formulas (such as Triphala), psyllium, flaxseed, etc.
– With the appropriate herbal medicine: sedatives and nerve tonics such as Ashwaganda and Jatamamsi.
– With meditation and Yoga. It is actually more of a way of life than a treatment, but it can be used as such in the beginning if you are new to Ayurveda.
To disconnect from the ego, to detach from the senses, to realize that one is not only this body, but that one is part of the whole, and that behind all the drama of life, everything is fine and there is true life.
– With the five sensory therapies, very beneficial in the relief of stress and anxiety. Of course, depending on your constitution, the treatments vary to some extent. However, getting out into nature and seeing the trees and the sunlight is good for everyone.
Use a little aromatherapy in a warm bath or a diffuser will soothe you. Pay attention to the environment you live in, is it tidy or cluttered.
Are the colors of your house as well as those of your clothes the right ones for you? Is your environment too noisy?
All of these issues have to be settled at some point. Of course, step by step, so as not to overwhelm you, and stress you even more.
– With the right type and amount of physical exercise according to your constitution and level of health.
– By monitoring your reflection and your introspection.
– And rest.
All of these measures can and will make a difference in the fight against your stress.
Then till now which technics you use to manage and decrease your stress?
Are you undergoing it or are your acting for the future of your health
✔️Tell me in comments what you are going through and which difficulties you face with your stress. I will be happy to help you
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The impact of stress on body function: A review – PMC (nih.gov)
STRESS AND HEALTH: Psychological, Behavioral, and Biological Determinants – PMC (nih.gov)
Effect of repeated stress on body weight and body composition of rats fed low- and high-fat diets – PubMed (nih.gov)
Impact of stress on metabolism and energy balance – ScienceDirect