Stress is seen in Ayurveda as a disorder of the nervous system or Vata dosha. The characteristics of Vata like being erratic, easily distracted, cold, light, and subtle, make it a fertile ground to increase our stress levels. However, it is very common that the other two main constitutions of Pitta and Kapha get affected too, especially when exposed to a lot of sensory stimulation, too much pressure, and unrealistic expectations.
We might also think of the causes of our stress as purely external. That email from our boss, an argument with our partner, or a annoying traffic jam. However, Ayurveda teaches us that it is not in those external factors that the real cause of stress is, but rather it is within ourselves. The way we react to things is key in diminishing the effects of a “this shouldn’t be happening” situation.
A good trick that may work for all constitutions is asking ourselves: will this really matter next week? next month? in a year? If the answer is not, we should not give it all of our attention and energy. By focusing on something pleasant we are shifting our mental position, our thoughts will become more positive, and as a result our emotions towards what’s happening will change.
However, there are some things we can do that will alleviate the aggravation of the Vata dosha in our bodies, thus make us able to relax and let go.
WHAT TO DO
- Eat foods that are well cooked and warm. Cereals like rice and wheat, nuts, oils, and even milk products. Add spices such as ginger, cinnamon, and cardamon.
- Exercise is a great way to relieve stress! But, try to go for slow, mindful, and gentle forms such as slow yoga flows, walking, or even biking in nature. Avoid intensive cardio!
- Drink sweet calming teas like fennel or camomile. It is not a good idea to drink coffee or caffeinated teas when in times of stress.
- Add adaptogens to your daily smoothie or tea. Ashwagandha is an example of a botanical with powerful properties. It is balancing to the body and has a great ability to reduce a stressful reaction. It promotes a “rest and digest” response, through the autonomic nervous system, which enables our bodies and minds to be calm.
- Add soft music, meditation, and sweet aromas! The burning of jasmine, lavender or cinnamon incense is great. Avoid hash sounds or loud music. Music has a tremendous effect on our physiology! It can change completely our mood.
- Spend time in nature! It will connect you to the real rhythm of life, where everything happens at the perfect time, without a rush, without any overthinking. This is a powerful tip that can help you get aligned with your spirit.