Stress happens when we are not able to effectively cope with what is on hand, at a physical or mental level. This is a normal phenomenon and has known to help in certain situations too.
For e.g. when you are running tight on a deadline, stress can lead to the secretion of hormones in the body, including adrenaline, which speeds the heart making you breathe faster and releases a burst of energy, allowing you to work faster. This is called the fight-or-flight stress response. However if stress happens too often or lasts too long, the bodies becomes stiff while the mind is hyperactive. This hyperactive state leads to disturbed sleep and insomnia, leaving us tired and exhausted. It can be linked to headaches, an upset stomach, back pain, insomnia, cardio-vascular issues as well as strokes. It can weaken the immune system, making it harder to fight off disease. This is further exacerbated when we skip regular meals and eat unhealthy foods.
If left untreated, Stress can also take a toll on one’s mental health, affecting relationships and causing depression.
De-stress through Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, an imbalance or lack of coordination of the three main mental functions: Dhi (learning), Dhriti (retention) and Smriti (long-term memory), and a lack of Ojas energy in the body is what triggers stress.
A Stress Management Program aims to relieve that stress, sometimes accumulated over years, by achieving proper hormonal balance and reinforcing mental strength to better cope with stress in the future. Panchakarma is one such therapy used to balance the Tridoshas in our mind and body. The therapies specific to stress are Shiroabhyanga, Shirodhara, Shirovasti, and Abhyanga.
De-stress through Yoga
Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines stretching exercises, controlled breathing and relaxation. It can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve heart function. Asanas like Shavasana (corpse posture) brings about a relaxed state of mind and practicing it daily is very useful in reducing stress.
Yoga nidra or yogic sleep is another effective method to calm the mind. While yoga postures ‘warm up’ the body; yoga nidra ‘cools it down’ by sleeping consciously. The goal is greater inner awareness of the body, our states of consciousness, and how the mind manages the body. The benefits of yoga nidra include relaxation of the heart, skeletal muscles, and nervous system, reduction of stress and stress-related diseases, and deep, conscious rest that reduces the need for sleep.
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