Modern life is full of hassles, deadlines, frustrations, and demands. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life. However stress isn’t always bad, in small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best, but when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price. You can protect yourself by recognising the signs and symptoms of stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects.
Ayurvedic approach and Symptoms
Mental stress, according to Ayurveda, is caused by an overuse or misuse of the mind. For instance, if you perform intense mental work many hours a day, or if you work long hours on the computer, it can cause an imbalance in Prana Vata, the mind-body operator concerned with brain activity, energy and the mind. The first symptom of Prana Vata imbalance is losing the ability to handle day-to-day stress. As the person becomes more stressed, it impacts mental functions such as dhi, dhriti, and smriti-acquisition, retention, and recall. The person’s mind becomes hyperactive, yet the person loses the ability to make clear decisions, to think positively, to feel enthusiastic, and even to fall asleep at night.
Conventional approach and Symptoms
Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body’s defences kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight-or-freeze” reaction, or the stress response.
The symptoms of stress include memory problems, inability to concentrate, poor judgement, seeing only the negative, anxious on racing thoughts, constant worrying, moodiness, irritability or short temper, agitation, inability to relax, feeling overwhelmed, sense of loneliness and isolation, depression or general unhappiness, aches and pains, diarrhea or constipation, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, loss of sex drive, frequent colds, eating more or less, sleeping too much or too little, isolating yourself from others, procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities, using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax and nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing).
There are several kinds of Ayurvedic treatment that alleviate stress.
Herbs known as adaptogens are beneficial in alleviating stress. These herbs that promote adaptability to stress, include the root of ashwagandha, shakhapuspi, brahmi (gotu kola), jatamansi (muskweed), shakhpushpi help to reduce stress and fix the imbalance in the vata dosha. These herbs come in special combination named Strex, Clearmind, Saraswatarista, Brahmi Ghritam, kalayanak Ghritam etc. in our herbs pharmacy.
Since stress reduces the body’s immunity, nutritious balanced diet is very beneficial in counteracting this depletion.
Massage and Sirodhara Treatment
Whole body massage with herbal medicated oil will help you remove the physical and mental toxins by improving circulation and increasing healing hormones like endorphin. Sirodhara(Oil Treatment on forehead) will deeply relax you on both a mental and physical level by increasing feel-good hormones like seratonin and melatonin
Ayurveda advises undergoing pancha karma(Ayurvedic Detox Treatment) for maintaining a strong and healthy metabolic rate and also to prevent harmful toxins from accumulating in the body and mind. The pancha karma process involves identifying the root cause of a stress problem and correcting the essential balance of mind, body, and emotions. It is considered extremely effective to go through the process of pancha karma before any rejuvenation treatment (rasayana/herbal medicines). This helps to cleanse the body, improve digestion, strengthen the metabolic rate and also cleanse one’s thought process.
Yoga, Meditation and Pranayama
In addition to the above-mentioned treatments, Ayurveda integrates yoga, meditation and Pranayama (breathing exercises) in order to manage stress. Certain gestures called “mudra” are also helpful. Tidiness, a clean environment and maintaining harmony at all levels is important for relieving stress on a permanent basis.
Dr. Pradeep Neupane