- by Arth - An Ayurvedic Health Center
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- Apr 01 2017
Natural way to tackle Anxiety Disorder
The mind, body, and spirit are intricately linked. Anxiety is a condition that originates in the mind, causing physiological changes similar to the stress response in the body. Usually, anxiety and depression are thought to be similar but often differ. While depression generates emotions of despair, hopelessness, and anger, anxiety generates feelings of fear, panic or feel threatened. While a person suffering from depression feels devastated even by routine tasks and personal relationships that are so essential to life, a person with anxiety experiences sudden anxiety or panic attacks, without any specific reason, and lives with constant anxiousness or worry. Anxiety is a condition in which these feelings become excessive and start interfering with one’s health and lifestyle.
Causes of Anxiety
- Excessive stress
- Side effects of medication or illness
- Illicit drugs
- Withdrawal symptoms
Symptoms of Anxiety
- Lack of sleep
- Inability to remain calm
In Ayurvedic terms, anxiety is a dosha imbalance where excess vata accumulates in the nervous system. The belief of Ayurveda is that the body is born with an inherent wisdom to always return to a healthy state of blissful mind, body, and spirit. In the case of occasional anxiety, Ayurveda teaches the tools to achieve a natural, healthful life by first identifying and removing the cause of the anxiety, whether it be a vata-aggravating diet or lifestyle, habitual 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 Vatadosha.
Because we are in the height of Vata season .i.e. the fall, it is a common time to experience increased anxiety in the form of insomnia, a restless mind, nervousness, panic, and/or fearful thoughts. Ayurveda offers time-tested wisdom regarding diet, lifestyle, herbal remedies, yoga, meditation, and pranayama to help bring balance to the body and ease anxiety.
A Vata-pacifying diet can help to reduce vata in the body and mind which in turn has a positive effect on the nervous system. Important dietary guidelines for balancing the body:
- Eat at routine times, using Vata Digest and Easy Digest liquid extract to help support a healthy appetite.
- Eat a variety of fresh, seasonal, organic foods.
- The plentiful root vegetables and squashes of autumn are particularly grounding for vata.
- Choose meals that are warm, soft, and easy to digest.
- Take time to prepare fresh and 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, aggravating the nervous system.
- Include warm milk spiced with a pinch of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. 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.
- Eat meals at regular times each day, making lunch the largest meal of the day
Stress is a common factor in many disorders, including anxiety. How you react to stress is dependent on your constitution. Highly sensitive vatadosha is particularly affected by stressors and excess stimuli. During this time it may be helpful to reduce sources of stress. Try to identify negative coping patterns and replace them with positive ones such as optimism, affirmations, laughter, inspirational reading, or uplifting music.
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. Regular exercise also has a powerful positive effect on mood, improving self-esteem, and the ability to handle stressful life situations.
ManasamitraVataka is also known to have reduced anxiety, severity of the disease and offered a better quality of life and improved clinical profile. ManasamitraVataka is an ancient complex Ayurvedic formula comprising 73 natural ingredients and herbal extracts. Shirodhara treatment with Shirodhara Oil is beneficial, particularly because of the heavy quality of sesame oil. This therapy is traditionally used to calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and remove excess vata. Use of Shirodhara as an add-on therapy decreased daytime sleepiness and improved quality of life in patients.
Yoga, meditation, and/or pranayama, when practised regularly, have transformative powers on the mind, body, and spirit. These practices help to quiet the mind and bring the body more in touch with the heart and a divine universal consciousness where fear does not exist. Getting in touch with universal consciousness helps you to recognise the illusory nature of individual fears.
Stress and fatigue are two main factors affecting the modern-age population leading to anxiety disorders. There could be various factors causing stress including erratic work hours, taxing environment, lack of sleep etc. However, the ancient practice of yoga, meditation, and an ayurvedic lifestyle can help de-stress in an effective manner.
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