By Vishakha Moghe
„Every morning she woke up wondering if there was any point in getting out of bed and starting the day that was ahead of her. She had turned into a fearful, under-confident woman who didn’t even see a point in living life anymore.“
Stress, depression and anxiety are increasingly becoming a part of life for many of us. Being constantly under the pressure of proving yourself amidst tough competition and fighting the endless struggles of life, does it end here? In fact, it only gets worse. Our brain cells create ideas and stress does exactly the opposite, it kills them! It’s like running on a treadmill, you run for hours without getting anywhere. If it’s known to not get us anywhere, why do we let stress take over us, why do we give it the liberty to rule our lives?
The Bhagavad Gita has beautifully explained the human mind in one Sutra.
| | mana eva manushyanam
muktyai nirvisayam manah || Bhagavad Gita 6.5
Meaning:- “For man, mind is the cause of bondage and mind is the cause of liberation. Mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage, and mind detached from the sense objects is the cause of liberation.”
The human mind (manas) has been a subject of research for years. The secret to success in life is when one has won their battle against their own mind, because it distracts you, it distances you from your goals by indulging in objects that give you temporary pleasure as much as it helps you achieve the impossible when gained complete control over!
Ayurvedically speaking, there are three qualities of mind that govern the entire cosmos, the entire universe. These qualities are termed as guna: Sattva, Rajas, Tamas. These guna that govern the entire universe are the three aspects of the human mind. Sattva, to be specific, can be termed as a guna of the mind; Raja and Tama, on the other hand are actually termed as mano-doshas.
Sattva, stands for purity and clarity. A sattva dominant person comes off as a calm, honest, balanced and grounded person.
Rajas and Tamas are doshas which are required in small quantities by the human mind, though an increase in these doshas means an “imbalance”. Rajas means extreme activity and a Rajasic person comes off as a violent, greedy, competitive person. Tamas on the other hand means extreme lethargy, laziness and heaviness. Both Rajas and Tamas are extremes of human mind and an excess of both leads to a lot of negativity in life which can be called as “mental disorders”. Hence, it is important that we nurture the quality (Sattva) and progress on the path of a healthy life.
In the modern-day life, everything in our life is Rajasic- stimulating and competitive. There’s competition, fight for something, temptation and materialistic obsession. All these bring the Rajasic nature out. Self-contentment, purity in thoughts and devotion, on the other hand, bring out the Sattvik nature in us and that leads to a lot of peace in life. Ayurveda believes that we should strive towards Sattva and that it is not impossible to train our mind to move from Rajasic and Tamasic state to Sattvik state. Thus, it declares that health is a result of the union of a healthy body, selfless mind and a content soul.
The approach of Ayurveda to eliminate the doshas of the mind is unique and aims at using psychological, spiritual and pharmacological methods to root out the disease. It is termed as “SattvÁvajaya CikitsÁ”. The traditional mental health promoting practices focused on improving the activity regimen (Dinacharya) of the subject, correcting their behavior (Sadvritta) and advising yoga. Control over the mind can be exercised only through spiritual knowledge, fortitude, philosophy, remembrance and concentration.
The two important factors that are taken care of while treating the patient are as mentioned:
1. Assuring the patient of the return of happiness after the loss of an object or a dear one.
2. Inducement of emotions opposite to those associated with patient’s distress.
The uniqueness of Ayurveda in the management of mental illnesses lies in the fact that instead of suppressing the subjects emotions and and bombarding them with medicines, more emphasis is laid upon gradual withdrawal from bad habits, addictions and negative emotions. Replacement of emotions like malice by love, ignorance by knowledge, fear by courage, anger by composure, jealousy by affection etc by keeping mental equanimity by enlightenment, imparting knowledge, patience and confidence. This is what makes the Ayurvedic approach to psychiatric disorders a unique one in the world.
You’re beautiful, love yourself
1. If there’s an object or a person that disturbs you frequently, withdraw from it/them. The golden rule is to keep away from anything and everything that comes in your way of achieving your ultimate goal that is going to give you the ultimate happiness. Avoid over-burdening your intellect and senses with something if you feel it is beyond your understanding or if it is not your forte.
2. Learn to say a“No” when really needed, because it’s more important than knowing how to say a “Yes”. If you don’t say it when it is the right time, you feel the burden of doing something which is beyond your capabilities then, this in turn leads to unnecessary stress in life.
3. Avoid the habit of postponing things because of laziness and poor time management. Your mind has an incredible potential to multi-task, but this is possible only with wise time management skills and discipline. When tasks are finished in time, there’s no question of your work getting piled up. No pending work means no stress! Life begins to get so much better.
4. Create a shield against stress. “Abhyanga” or oil massage after selecting the oil according to Prakruti of the subject gives the desired results and nourishes the body and mind. This includes sessions of Shirodhara and Shirobasti with serene raga-based music in the background that works like magic. There are specialized massages based on marma (vital points) that can put the person to sleep immediately by relaxing their mind and body completely. “Karnapooran” or the act of filling up the ear cavities with medicated oil also leads to the mitigation of increased Vata in the head and ears. This rids the mind of restlessness, worry and tension.
5. Reward yourself from time to time. It is important for each one of us to recognize our own achievements by taking a break from the constant hard work for a while. Reward yourself with something that pleases your senses and winds you down. Find creative ways of doing the same work. This will free up some of your time and energy for more productive work.
6. Ayurveda gives immense importance to “Nidra” (Sleep) apart from Aahar (Diet) and Brahmacharya (Celibacy). You cannot be productive and creative if your brain cells don’t get rest at the right time. Constantly working, reading or studying can lead to a poor sleep pattern and hamper your appetite and digestion.
7. A regular practice of Yogasanas and Suryanamaskaras (sun salutations) can reduce the stress and anxiety largely. Meditating under the supervision of a well-trained yogi can help you cut down on your stress before it’s too late.
8. Offering a hug to someone is the best form of healing. Hugs don’t cost anything and can be given to anyone in distress. There’s no deed as noble as the one where we express our love and warmth for a fellow human through a warm hug. A hug has all the power to lower your stress hormone (cortisol) and stimulates our brains to release dopamine (pleasure hormone)
9. Due to the advancement of technology and industrialization, we as humans have long forgotten the miracles of nature and how it heals us when we go in sync with it. We must plan our life in a way where we can spend a short span of our life away from the chaos and artificialness of the city and subject ourselves to the miracles of nature. Nature is a medicine less hospital and gives you only how much your body and mind needs. Simply walking through a rainforest and staying inside a hut or a mud house gives you all the access to nature’s healing vibes and rejuvenates you. Eating fruits after picking them up straight from the tree happens to be one of the best activities in life and one of the few favors that you would be doing on your body. Nature is constantly giving us in many forms. We fail to recognize our own blessings and end up poisoning our bodies with things that are far from required for us.
If you’re in distress, reach out. Mental health matters, you matter. Don’t fight your battle alone ‘coz all you need is some love!
Ayurvedafinder says, “ A Beautiful Mind is the Essence of Life”.
About the author
Vishakha is an Ayurveda practitioner, Yoga counselor and a passionate traveler. She lays emphasis on living a healthy life by nourishing the body and mind with wholesome and natural food, meditation and yogic techniques. An Indian at heart, she aims at propagating the goodness of the Indian culture across the seven seas and stimulating thoughts by creating a hunger for knowledge.