5 Ayurvedic Ways to Relieve Stress
Here are 5 tried-and-true Ayurvedic ways to relieve stress. As basic as they are, they make a world of a difference in your life.
In this day and age, it’s hard not to be stressed. A mere walk down the street puts you at risk of a variety of stressors – car sounds and pollution, large crowds of bustling people and compromised air quality. Then, there are the makeup, the clothing and the jewelry you weigh yourself down with day after day and the oftentimes not-so-seamless work, home and social situations you put yourself in. At the end of the day, you may think you deserve a glass (or 4) of wine, but what would the ancients say? Ayurvedic tradition is a centuries-old practice that could give you more than just a quick-fix to your stressful disposition – it can give you abundant wisdom on how to stay balance forever.
These ancient ways to relieve stress have history to support their efficacy. Are you ready to give them a try?
1. Focus on the Gut
The healing tradition of Ayurveda promotes the idea that health and well-being depend on our bodies’ ability to digest everything we consume. This includes more than just the food and drinks we take in, but also our experiences, emotions and impressions by way of our senses. The Sanskrit term “agni” translates to “digestive fire”. The strength of agni is thus dependent on how well sensory experiences are optimized. Stressed senses can both lead to and be caused by digestive difficulties.
To boost your digestion, start with the most obvious agni source: the gut. By eliminating foods that stress digestion, you can ignite your agni. Avoid processed foods, animal protein and white sugar and flour. Instead focus on plant-based meals that bring warmth, fiber and balance to your body. Avoid overeating and sip on ginger tea throughout the day and with meals. Ginger tea can smooth muscle of the intestines and relieve gas and cramping.
2. Enjoy “Me” Time
It’s far too easy to get caught up in your job, schoolwork, social dramas and caring for and about other people. Too much of this can lead to you forgetting to take care of some of your most basic needs. Put down the iEverything and do something that makes you feel good in the moment for you and only you. This may be a relaxing bath, a walk in the park or an evening to yourself to practice a hobby or do absolutely nothing. By doing this, you enter the world a more balanced, complete person, able to take on what is thrown at you with more ease and contentment.
3. Take on Aromatherapy
Essential oils are widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for their healing properties. Essential oils are concentrated therapeutic substances with very narrow therapeutic ranges. The best way to know what essential oil you should get a whiff of is to try them all. Purchase a varied range of essential oils and have them on hand in your toiletry cabinet, in your office drawer or in your room. Whenever you feel stressed, take a whiff of the oil that you feel most attracted to in the moment – that is likely the exact therapy you need to offset your mood.
4. Sleep More
You’ve heard it a million times and you’ll hear it here again: sleep! Ayurveda suggests going to bed before 10 p.m. and waking up before dawn. Unfortunately, that is not a realistic approach to sleep for most of us considering the expectations inherent in our professional, family and social lives. Try to get about 7-9 hours of sleep per night and fall into a consistent pattern that your body can get used to, so it knows when to expect shut eye and when to wake up. A few hours before going to bed, shut down all electronics and even remove them entirely from your bedroom. Avoid sleeping next to – or with – your phone. And, if you need an alarm, use a conventional table clock instead of your smartphone.
Meditation is mindful, so it’s not like sleeping or blacking out. It’s an active awareness while the body remains calm. Learning how to meditate can effectively teach you how to stay calm, even when your surroundings are stressful.
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