De-stress with Ayurveda
By Dr. Ajit
There is no doubt that our hectic lifestyle creates a great deal of stress, which can impact on our physical and mental states. In simple terms, stress occurs when we are not able to effectively cope with the day’s work load, either at a physical or mental level. Due to this stress, our bodies start becoming stiff and tight while our minds become hyperactive. This hyperactive state leads to disturbed sleep and insomnia, leaving us tired and exhausted. This is further exacerbated when we skip regular meals and eat fast foods on the run.
In this state, our inclination is to reach for a stimulant like coffee or chocolate but while we get a quick burst of energy from such stimulants, they quickly leave us feeling more exhausted than before. If we continue with this lifestyle we can quickly find ourselves taking multi-vitamins and so called “stress buster” medications without success.
In times of stress the body secretes a number of hormones, the most important being adrenaline. This hormone is responsible for what is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. Adrenaline increases the heart rate and breathing and prepares the body to either fight or flee an external threat.
While hormones such as adrenaline help us to cope with stress for short periods, it can cause health problems if we are subjected to long-term exposure. Constant stress causes the body to secrete adrenaline on a continuing basis and this prolonged exposure can force the heart and lungs to work overtime and keep blood pressure above normal which are contributing factors in strokes or heart attacks.
If you have read this blog before you know that Ayurvedic medicine’s great point of difference is to discover and treat the root cause of an ailment, rather than just treat the problem symptomatically. However, in the case of stress, this is sometimes very hard to remedy. You are well aware of the reasons for your stressed situation and if you could, I am sure you would have already made the changes you need to reduce your stress level.
Thankfully, Ayurveda gives us some simple, yet very effective daily routines that we can follow to help nourish and support the mind and body to help us better manage our stress levels:
• To counter a stiff and tight body you should massage yourself every day for 5-10 minutes with warm cold pressed
• The most significant impact of stress is on our breathing. When we become stressed, our breathing becomes shallow, meaning that cells are denied precious oxygen. This makes us feel even more fatigued so at least three times each day take 5-10 long, deep breaths.
• To counter disturbed sleep, have a cup of warm non-homogenised milk before bed. For extra benefit, add 1 teaspoon of Herbovit, a milk supplement especially formulated at Planet Ayurveda.
• Try Planet Ayurveda’s Vata Tea, a unique blend of Ayurvedic herbs to calm and relax the mind and the body.
• Take Planet Ayurveda’s Stress Guard, a natural and safe herbal formulation to support and nourish the nervous system.
• To counter a stiff and tight body you should massage yourself every day for 5-10 minutes with warm cold pressed black sesame oil, either before your shower in the morning or before bed at night.
• One of the most effective Ayurvedic treatments for stress is Shirodhara. In this profound treatment warm medicated oil is poured over the 3rd eye chakra to balance and calm the mind.