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Stress is your response to any change which needs an adjustment or reaction. Stress can reduce the body's immunity and make it more vulnerable to other conditions. Ayurveda has an integrative approach to handle stress through diet, yoga, meditation, and detox therapies such as Panchkarma.

What is stress?

Stress is your response to any change which needs an adjustment or reaction. The body responds to these regular changes in life with physical, mental, and psychological interventions. You can experience stress in the environment, your body, or even your ideas. Though most kinds of stress are emotional, they activate an assortment of physiological changes. These modifications include ones in the immune function, suggesting a link between the stress and immune system.

Stress-related Instances have grown phenomenally over the past couple of decades. Psychiatrists believe that the expansion has been about a thousand times in the past ten decades. The typical stress symptoms include changes in:

· Biochemical parameters like epinephrine and adrenal steroids,

· Physiological parameters like heart rate and blood pressure, and

· Behavioural effects like anxiety & fear

Stress can lead to a host of other conditions like palpitation, eating disorder, ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome, heart attack, migraine and tension headache, diabetes, backache, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression. The list is endless.

See: Ayurvedic herbs for detoxification

Stress symptoms

What are some symptoms of stress?

Typical symptoms of stress can be sleeplessness, loss of mental concentration, anxiety, absenteeism from work, depression, substance abuse, intense anger and frustration, family conflict, and physical disorders, such as heart disease, migraine, headaches, stomach problems, and back issues.

See: Ashwagandha benefits for anxiety

How does Ayurveda view stress?

Causes of stress & anxiety - the Ayurvedic perspective

Today, stress and fatigue are commonplace. Practically everyone has to confront stress to a degree. Everyone should try to manage the out of control hectic lifestyle that seems to be spiraling out of control.

Ayurveda clarifies that three sub-doshas control the mind. The Prana Vata is the sub-dosha of Vata that modulates the mind, sensory perception, and the brain. Tarpaka Kapha, the sub-dosha of Kapha, modulates the cerebrospinal fluid. The sadhaka pitta (the sub-dosha of pitta that governs the emotions and their effect on the heart) can also be involved.

There are three states or functional qualities of mind. These are sattva, rajas, and tamas. Sattva (goodness) is a healthy frame of mind. Rajas (passion) and tamas (ignorance) would be the unhealthy conditions of the mind. When rajas or tamas dominates the mind, the sub-doshas go out of equilibrium. Sadhaka pitta starts to make a burning effect, and prana Vata generates a drying effect. Then Tarpaka Kapha creates extra cerebrospinal fluid to counteract this effect and protect the brain.

But when our mental capacities are overused (because of an excess of tamas and rajas), the lubricating value of Tarpaka Kapha becomes excessive. It starts to decrease the metabolizing or digestive fire or Agni. It's at this time that ama (toxins) begin to form. Ama accumulates in the openings and nodes of the mind, and blends with the fluids made by Tarpaka Kapha, creating a damaging sort of cortisol, an indicator of stress.

Cortisol in itself isn't harmful as it's generated by the body to protect the brain. However, when Tarpaka Kapha becomes excessive, and there's ama from the structure, it has the potential for far more damage than good. That is when stress attacks and other signs of anxiety take over.

See: How To Lower High Cortisol Levels Naturally

Ayurvedic treatment for stress

There are several types of integrative Ayurvedic therapies & treatments that relieve stress.

1. Ayurvedic Herbal remedies for stress:

Herbs known as Adaptogens are beneficial in relieving stress. These herbs help you adapt better to stress triggers. These include wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), chamomile (Chamaemelum Nobile), Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), borage (Borago officinalis), licorice (yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), ginseng (Panax ginseng), nettle (Urtica dioica), and milk thistle (Silybum marianum). 

Ayurveda recommends jatamansi (muskweed), shakhpushpi, ashwagandha, shakpushadi, Brahmi (Gotu kola), dhatri rasayan, and other herbs to decrease tension and repair the imbalance at the Vata dosha. Research shows that Ayurvedic formulas made from herbs like Brahmi (Gotu kola), shankapushpi (aloeweed), and Guduchi (Heart-leaved moonseed) reduces stress, and increasing alertness.

These special Ayurvedic herbs are known as medhya herbs in traditional Ayurvedic texts. They are proven to not only independently nurture specific regions of the brain sensitive to anxiety effects but also to nurture coordination among them.

Ashwagandha or winter cherry enriches the brains' overall ability to resist stress since it assists overall mental functioning. Jatamansi (muskroot) and greater galangal are herbs that can help. These herbs detox our mind and body of harmful substances. Ashwagandha (winter cherry) is a sharp, naturally cleansing herb and improves Agni (digestive fire) and reducing ama (toxins). When used in conjunction with jatamansi (muskroot) and greater galangal, it becomes an even more effective agent for clearing the toxins.

2. Ayurvedic Dietary treatment:

Stress can reduce the body's immunity and make it more vulnerable to other conditions. A healthy and nutritious diet is beneficial in preventing this depletion. Following the correct diet specifically for handling stress is also very important. In Ayurvedic terms, this means to decrease 'rajasic' and 'tamasic' foods and include 'sattvic' diet.

Avoid coffee and the other carbonated drinks, as caffeinated substances produce anxiety, sleeplessness, jitteriness, and restlessness. It's best to avoid carbonated and alcoholic beverages also. 

High-protein animal foods may raise levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain that are associated with high levels of stress and stress. Instead, eat a lot of fresh green vegetables, fruits, and fruit juices. Avoid white flour and sugar products, and all frozen, preserved and leftover food. Include whole-grain cereals - they encourage the creation of the brain neurotransmitter dopamine, which induces a warm & fuzzy feeling of well-being.

3. Detox & cleanse with Panchakarma:

Ayurvedic treatment of Panchakarma helps maintain an active and healthy metabolic rate. It is useful to keep harmful toxins from accumulating in the body and mind. The Panchakarma procedure involves identifying the origin of a stress problem and adjusting the crucial balance of mind, body, and emotions. Panchakarma is effective before any rejuvenation therapy (Rasayana or herbal medications). This treatment helps to cleanse the body, improve digestion, strengthen the metabolic rate, and cleanse one's thought process.

4. Meditation, Yoga, and Pranayama:

In addition to the treatments mentioned above, Ayurveda incorporates Yoga, meditation, and Pranayama (breathing exercises) to handle stress. Certain gestures called "mudra" can also be valuable. Positive thinking, tidiness, a clean environment, and keeping stability at all levels is essential for getting rid of stress permanently.

See: Ayurvedic Diet

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