Stress Free Life And How To Manage Stress
To achieve a stress free life one must understand, learn and deal with what life offers to us, even good or bad. Stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain and makes you overwhelmed or unable to cope, which would adversely affect the body. Stress can vary from person to person. Also, it differs according to our social and economic circumstances, society we live and our constitution or our genetic make-up.
Common stress factors are-
- Experience something new or unexpected
- Things that threaten yourself
- Environmental factors
- Emotional or psychological factors
- Physical traumas and so on
In Ayurveda stress can be compared with the word Sahasa, which means anything strenuous.
When we experience or expose stress, our body stimulates the stress hormone to flight or fight.
Types of stress:
Not all stress is harmful to the body. Stress types vary from
- Acute stress: The stress we experience in our day-to-day life, which is very short term.
- Chronic stress: The stress that seems never ending, unstoppable and long term.
- Episodic acute stress: Stress occurs when we experience acute stress too frequently. It often happens to those who take on too many responsibilities on their shoulders.
- Eustress: It is a positive type of stress that keep you energized and excited.
How stress impact on the body:
Many people respond quickly to stressful situations and are able to deal with certain levels of stress without any adverse effects. But when our stress becomes excessive and too much to deal, can adversely affect the body. Stress or overwhelming over a period of time vitiates the doshas (vital energies) and disturbs the Agni (digestive fire) and leads to the weakness of immunity and causes the etiology of several disorders.
Stress can affect emotional, behavioral and bodily or physical changes.
- Emotional changes include anxiety, fear, sadness, anger, frustration etc.
- Behavioral changes like indecisive, irritable, tearful, addictions, aggressive, changes in sexual habits, interaction with family and friends etc.
- Bodily changes such as headache, nausea, dizziness, breathing difficulty, aches and pains, sleep troubles, gastrointestinal diseases, cardiovascular diseases etc.
Feeling stressed over a period of time can lead to physical health issues and vice versa can happen too (many physical health issues can also lead to stress). When your brain experiences a high degree of stress your body reacts accordingly.
Stress intensity varies from the chronicity of the stress. Some stress may produce feelings of mild anxiety or frustration, and prolonged stress can lead to burnout, anxiety disorders, depression and so on.
Management of stress:
‘Prevention is better than cure’, the foremost objective of Ayurveda is to maintain and promote the health of a healthy person. When we are strong and healthy, the impact of negative energy or stress is very less.
The main 2 strategies in stress management are-
- Avoid factors inducing stress
- Increase the coping capacity of the body
Here are some important points that one has to consider and follow to lead a stress free life.
Understand and balance the doshas:
To maintain good health, it is important that the doshas must be in perfect balance. Stress is closely related to the doshas. Your dominant dosha defines your personality and hoe you respond to the stress. Knowing your dosha and your personality helps to understand the triggers of your stress so that you can choose the right way of lifestyle for a stress free life. Learn more about dosha click here.
Take time out:
Take time to relax and for practicing self-care. Bring a balance between your responsibilities to others and responsibilities to yourself, by doing positive things for you. Adequate rest and nourishing practices helps to stay centered and calm. Self-care is a part of the healing process, also a path of self-love. Each day doesn’t matter what is going on, you must follow a practice of self-care to achieve health, wellness and stress free life.
Create healthy routines and good habits:
Our entire body and every physiological action that takes place in the body is governed and related to Sun and Moon. We are our habits. Our physiology is very much depended and supported by regularity, particularly have a profound effect on the nervous system. The routines and habits included waking up and sleeping times, eating time, exercises, yoga and other spiritual practices, other morning rituals or regimens including tooth brushing, tongue scraping, bath, scrubs, massages, etc.
Sound sleep is one of the most beneficial aspects of our physical well-being and immunity. Sleep problems are common (most common in vata constitution) when you are experiencing stress. Here are some tips to improve the quality of your sleep.
- Minimize any kinds of stimulants like coffee, alcohol or other caffeinated drinks, even intense physical activities.
- Avoid using screen at least 2 hours before bed time.
- Go to bed before 10 PM or earl as possible.
- Writing journals and dairies helps your mind to unload.
- Make the plans and to-do list for the next day
- Click here to read more.
Proper gentle exercise activates a natural mood booster through the production of endorphins, which triggers a positive feeling and energy in the body. As per Ayurveda, one should perform vyayama (exercise) regularly according to the season (ritu) and body strength (bala). Exercise varies from people, depending upon the body constitution, age and overall wellbeing. When practiced properly brings strength, stability, complexion and improves digestive functions. If performed improperly, then it can lead to many diseases.
Warm oil body massage:
Abhyanga, application of oil all over the body. Self-massage is the expression of ‘self-love’. Sneha in Sanskrit meaning ‘lipids or oils’ and also ‘love’; anointing oil on the body is receiving smoothness, suppleness and love. The best oil which Ayurveda recommends for daily application is black sesame oil. Warm the oil before you apply on the body, to gain more benefits.
Daily oil massage calms the vata energy; the nervous system.
Head and foot massage:
Like the body massage, the head and foot massage has an important role in stress free life. The main regions you must apply oil is the crown (head), ears and sole of feet. These regions have lots of nerve endings, vital points (marma) and major seats of vata dosha. Massaging on these regions releases the pressure and blockages and helps to calm the nervous system, also induce sleep.
Use of herbal oils:
In Sanskrit, the word sneha refers to oil or anything which is unctuous in nature. The nourishing, softening and grounding quality of oil is intensified when it si infused with the herbs and spices. Ayurveda recommended different ways of using oils to achieve the best result and qualities including external application, instilling to the nostrils, ears, eyes, taking internally and so on.
Generally, for Vata dosha warming and grounding herbs and herbal oils are recommended. Pitta herbal oils require cooling and soothing properties and kapha dosha requires warming and stimulating herbal oils.
Here are some classical Ayurvedic herbal head oils which are beneficial to relieve stress.
Chandhanadi tailam, Ksheerebala tailam, Ksheerabala avarti oils, Asanavilwadi tailam, Bringarajadi tailam or keram, Triphaladi tailam, Neelibringadi tailam, Bala tailam, Brahmi oil etc.
Prayers, meditation, mindfulness and other relaxing techniques to help focus your thoughts and reduce the cortisol hormone level thus relax the nervous system and bring peace of mind. Pranayama (Breathing exercise) and Yoga nidra is also powerful stress-reducing activities that you can perform daily to reset the nervous system and to build up a healthier and stronger response to stress.
Ayurvedic herbal remedies:
A number of Ayurvedic herbs have an incredible support on the mental health. Herbal formulations in the form of powders, tablets, capsules, pastes, decoctions, tinctures etc. are available. In general, the herbs that are using for managing stress comes under the Rasayana category (Revitalizing or Rejuvenating – the formulations or herbs that promote all aspects of health). The common herbs used for managing stress in Ayurveda are Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Gotukola, Amalaki, Mandukaparni, Jatamansi, Vaca, Shankupushpi etc.