The Ayurdvedic approach to stress

In Ayurveda stress is believed to be the result of an excess of Rajas, which cause nervousness, impatience, anger, desire, attachment and frenesy.

Ayurvedic medicine identifies three levels of energy (Guna) able to influence mental states and, consequently the psyche. 

The 3 Gunas

The 3 Gunas are: 

  • Sattva or pure, vivifying energy. When the mind predominates it is clear, limpid, one is calm and satisfied, balanced and their actions are serene and aware. One lives of inner peace; 
  • Rajas or movement, unstable energy. It is the Guna of activity, of passion, of desire. The mind is dominated by the feelings of hope or restlessness connected to happiness which depends on the outcome connected to a certain event. Anxiety, agitation and expectation disturb the sattvic peace;
  • Tamas or heavy, inert energy. It is the Guna of dullness and indolence. Confusion prevails over what should be done and what should not be done. One is not able to act lucidly.

Based on the presence of these 3 energies as we said at the beginning stress manifests itself during excess of rajas and can be of different forms.

Types of stress according to Ayruveda

 According to ayurveda there are three different types of stress:

  • Mental;
  • Emotional;
  • Physical.

Let's see in detail what they are caused by, related symptoms and recommended Ayurvedic remedies.


Mental stress 

Mental stress, according to Ayurveda, is caused by excessive or improper use of the mind. Such as when you work for many hours on the computer or intellectual work is required.

The first symptom of mental stress is the loss of the ability to manage stress, you are unable to make clear decisions, think positively, you lose enthusiasm, you start to suffer from insomnia or difficulty falling asleep.

Remedies

Ayurvedic medicine recommends to undergo massage sessions with hot sesame oil as well as the use of Indian basil, orange, and pink geranium essential oil that help relaxation. Practicing disciplines such as Yoga and meditation.

Emotional stress

Emotional stress comes with irritability, anger, a feeling of sadness and emotional instability. It always affects the sphere of sleep and rest as for mental stress but in this we will have nocturnal awakenings and it will be difficult to go back to sleep. This type of stress affects the Pitta Dosha and affects proper heart function and emotion management.

Remedies

The remedies suggested for emotional stress are the use of refreshing and relaxing essential oils such as lavender, peppermint,  and rose. Nutrition should be reconsidered by reducing the consumption of acid and spicy foods and eating only light foods in the evening. Recommended activities are long walks in the woods or by the sea.


Physical stress

Physical stress manifests itself when it exceeds in physical efforts for a long time, so it concerns the body. In any case, It is also true that the total lack of physical exercise causes physical stress.
The manifestation of this type of stress is represented by difficulty in concentration, and obtuseness of the mind. On the other hand, when physical stress manifests due to lack of physical exercise, slow digestion and the formation of toxins (called ama in Ayurveda) will occur. In both cases there will then be a slowing down in the regeneration of the cells slows down.

Remedies                   

Indispensable to obtain rest areas and follow an anti-Kapha diet, reducing the consumption of sweet, oily and heavy foods to be digested. Use ginger and turmeric when preparing food.  The use of ginger and turmeric in your diet is recommended.

 

General advice

Stress is, as we know, often causes anxiety, so in general, regardless of the type of stress that Ayruveda suffers from, it is adviseable for you to practice yoga and meditation, if you are not disciplined you can devote yourself to swimming or  walking in a natural environment.
We recommend 8 hours of consecutive nighttime rest, and two Ayurvedic natural remedies for women, the Ayurvedic Shatavari remedy, a powerful tonic and an effective anti-stress, whereas for men the Ashwagandha remedy is a powerful invigorating and effective anti stress remedy.

From a nutritional point of view the following foods should be chosen:

 

Dal punto di vista dell’alimentazione sono da preferire i seguenti cibi:

  • fruit and vegetables; 

  •  nuts;

  •  wholegrain cereals;

  •  seeds;

  •  sprouts;

  •  ghi; 

  •  milk.

Reduce or better yet, avoid: 

  • Tea 

  •  Coffee

  •  Chocolate

  •  Fried food

  •  Meat

  •  Fish

In Ayurveda abhyanga massages are believed to have anti-stress properties because they dissolve tensions in the whole body. For those who have stress-related  muscle-tension headaches, it is possible to undergo shirodhara, a technique that involves the pouring of warm oil on the front of the head, which is extremely relaxing.