Modernisation has made human life outward looking and sensually focused, fostering compulsive behaviours such as anxiety in people. Anxiety is a natural, human response to external stimulus but becomes a problem when it becomes persistent and intense worry. It is a known fact that anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness at this time and a significant number of the population are affected by it at one point or the other in their lives. According to Ayurveda, the lack of access or connection of the mind with the self is the fundamental reason for anxiety. This arises due to excessive use of the mind for sensual pleasures, sensory indulgence, overthinking, over imagination, over expectation, and lack of conscious living. Most people suffer from anxiety when there is a change in their life, like, starting a new job, going to a social gathering, getting married, having a child, or breaking up a relationship.
Some modern medications also cause anxiety, like inhaler medicines to treat asthma, diet pills, headache medication, and body pain killer pills. Further, excessive use of coffee, alcohol, and tobacco contributes to anxiety. Anxiety is an unpleasant emotional state that causes uneasiness, distress, apprehension and worry. Anxiety generally manifests itself in the form of restlessness, intense fear or apprehension, disturbed sleep pattern, exhaustion, loss of weight, and appetite. Usual symptoms of anxiety include:
- dry mouth
- sweaty palms and feet
- excessive thinking
- abdominal cramps
- sleep disturbances and headaches
- trembling and feeling irritable
- Ashwagandha roots are very effective in treating anxiety. Popularly known as Indian Ginseng, it is rich in choline, essential in developing healthy neurotransmitters in the human brain. It also affects the cortisol hormone and can stabilize mood, anxiety, stress, and depression. Take Ashwagandha in powder or capsule form as it is available in your market. Please consult with your doctor or Ayurveda practitioner and verify authenticity of the product prior to use.
- Other known remedies are Brahmi Vati and Saraswatharishtam. The former is a powerful brain tonic that calms and nourishes. Brahmi is a small and succulent Indian herb that possesses sleep promoting and rejuvenating properties as well. Meanwhile, Saraswatharishtam is made from multiple ingredients including ginger, honey, cinnamon, cardamom among others. It is potent in fostering memory, concentration and thinking powers.
- Everyday foods to consume to alleviate anxiety and find calm include avocado, spinach, apple, orange, grape, papaya, cucumber, tomatoes and beetroot. Please include these in your diet as much as possible. Guava, the common fruit in India, is also useful to stabilize the mind. Meanwhile, avoid stimulants such as tea, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, etc.
- Ayurveda also recommends bio-cleansing therapies such as Snehapana (internal oleation), Virechana (purgation), Nasya Karma (medicated oils applied into the nostril), Shiro Vasti (medicated oils applied to the head), Shirodhara (medicated oils, milk, tender coconut water, curd, etc applied to the forehead) and Shiro Abhyanga (head massage with medicated oils). All these will detoxify the body and mind and remove toxins thereby enabling the body and mind to find inner peace and harmony.
Ways of Living
- Concede that life a phenomenon by itself and you are just a momentary drop in the vast cosmos. This big picture outlook will restore perspective.
- Accept that your life is your own making, and you can face any difficult situation by conscious living. Conscious living is the secret of peaceful living.
- Always find time to spend in nature; if it is feasible, walk barefoot on the soil to feel anchored and grounded.
- Spend quality time with your family & friends and find time for shared activities such as cooking, eating, playing, singing and dancing together.
- If you are religious, spend some time at your local place of worship regularly to commune and seek guidance from the Higher Powers.
- Open your heart and be kind to those who are suffering and less privileged than you. Donate food or money to deserving people, where possible.