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These days, everyone is stressed. It’s something we’ve taken for granted in our lives – a side effect of this fast-paced modern lifestyle we’ve chosen for ourselves. Some even throw it around casually – “I’m so stressed these days, yaar!” – like it’s something they’re proud of.
But stress is not a status symbol. It is an unwelcome guest in your house, one that brings ill health in its wake. According to Ayurveda, stress is triggered by "asatmya indrya artha samyoga", or unwholesome contact between the senses and their objects.
Ayurveda also recognizes a second set of causes that leads to an imbalance – ‘ati’ (overuse), ‘heen’ (underuse) and ‘mitya’ (wrong use) of our senses. In this regard, ati is especially important since it talks of extreme preoccupation of the senses in the superficial value of objects.
This, very often, leads to the individual becoming overwhelmed by sensory experience. Furthermore, this can impact the three gunas of the mind – Sattva (purity, knowledge), Rajas (passion, action), and Tamas (ignorance, inertia). If there is a decrease in Sattva and increase in Rajas or Tamas, the Sadhaka Pitta (sub dosha of Pitta controlling emotions) and Prana Vata (sub dosha of Vata controlling sensory perception) get affected, leading to depression, anxiety, nervous debility, and fear.
So what do you do? How do you combat stress? How do you stop yourself from becoming a victim of its debilitating effects?
Start by asking yourself where your stress is originating. Is it because of internal factors (lack of sleep, negative emotions, low self-esteem) or external factors (like financial worries, work pressure, personal problems)? Once you know what is causing you so much stress, you can work towards fixing it.
Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner as well. Ayurveda doesn’t take a cookie cutter approach to stress management and their techniques are based on a complex understanding of each individual. No two people are ever the same, and the stress experienced by them is likely to be different too. An Ayurvedic practitioner makes an assessment based on individual factors and prescribes a customized stress management therapy.
At the end of the day, don’t ignore stress and don’t dismiss it as something you have no choice but to live with. Unshackle yourself and live a free, wholesome life.
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