Ayurvedic Approach to Anxiety: Dinacharya
Anxiety is not a foreign concept to most. It only seems appropriate, considering the social and cultural norms that most of us subscribe to. Is it really surprising that this epidemic has presented itself amidst our culture?
Harder. Faster. Better. Richer. Hotter.
Juggling it all… emailing, meal prepping, working out, and meditating… no prob! Can you say burn out?
Do more. Feel less. Numb out.
It’s almost as if we are encouraged to operate with all cylinders firing at all times. We are reaching an epidemic of depression and anxiety in this country. If there is one thing I can promise, it’s not in your head. You are not crazy. And above all else… you are not alone.
The brilliant nature of holistic medicine is right there in the name… it is holistic and all encompassing; not one-size-fits-all. Ayurveda looks at biological and psychological markers when addressing anxiety disorders and/or episodes.
Read these 7 practices with sincerity and focus. It is up to you how much these simple practices can effect your every day life.
DINACHARYA: CREATE A ROUTINE
From personal experience and client feedback, creating a routine in the morning has had remarkable impact on quality of life, self worth, and confidence. Most of us have more active commitments, social engagements, and family obligations throughout the evening. Let’s work with the grain, not against it.
FIRST UP: Be grateful for the time that allows you to do these practices. Cherish it. Instead of waking up to the things you ‘have’ to do… try this one on for size, “I get to”.
#1. SET YOUR ALARM
Whether it takes you 3 days for your new schedule to normalize, or 3 years… this part of your day may become the routine that you cherish most.
Maybe you start by waking up 30 min earlier, or maybe you go for the full-monty and rise at 5:00am.
Create Consistency: This will pacify Vata dosha. If you are the type of person that doesn’t live the same day twice, this is especially essential for you. Anxiety is often rooted in Vata. One of the most influential ways to stabilize and balance this dosha, is to introduce consistent (harmonious) routine.
#2. BREATH WATCH
Some prefer to do this in bed, and others like to do this seated. Regardless of your positioning, take anywhere from 3-30 minutes to watch your breath.
Do Nothing: It is simple. You’re already breathing. Spend the next five minutes doing just that. Breathing and watching. Do not change the breath. Let the breath move in and out of the body as it pleases. Just like that, your body is breathing itself.
#3. MAKE YOUR BED
A classic and characterized ‘Keystone Habits’. This is something that kick starts a pattern of other good behavior.
Get it Done: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” Huffington Post
#4. DIGESTION + ELIMINATION SUPPORT
An upset stomach and a strained poo is pretty uncomfortable. Some may notice that their anxiety has an affect on these functions of the body. If that is you, focus on this simple task:
Hydrate: Drink 16oz of lemon water every morning when you wake up. Outside of that, focus on getting optimal water intake (1/2 body weight in ounces) Ex: If you weigh 100lbs, consume 50 oz of water per day
Vata: Add lemon, fresh berries, or basil to your water bottle.
Pitta: Add cucumber, mint, lemon, frozen strawberries, or orange slices to your water bottle.
Kapha: Add basil, lemon, fresh berries, apple cider vinegar, or orange slices to your water bottle.
#5. GRATITUDE PRACTICE
Many scientific studies have been executed on this very concept: gratitude increases happiness. When we facilitate the neural pathways in the brain that associate with gratitude, thankfulness, sympathy, etc, we then make it easier to access these very pathways on a day-to-day basis.
Write It Down: 3 things you are grateful for (small or big), every morning for one whole month.
#6. ABHYANGA: SELF LOVE
Although most romantic comedies and novels depict otherwise, Ayurveda prioritizes self-love and acceptance above all else. There are few better ways to do this than the act of ‘self massage’ .
Abhyanga is a traditional Ayurvedic practice that involves a self-oil massage. Applying oil externally is fabulous for your skin. It keeps it soft, strong, and feeds the microflora living on your skin! Abhyanga is great for increasing circulation, warmth, tissue tonification, organ stimulation, and relaxation.
Most importantly, it allows us the opportunity to come into positive contact with our physical body. It opens the doors for us to experience self-love and nourishment through one of our most primal senses – touch.
Oils per Dosha:
Vata: Sesame Oil
Pitta: Sunflower or Safflower Oil
Kapha: Mustard Seed Oil
Essential Oils per Dosha
Vata: Cedar, Spruce, Frankincense, Cinnamon, Vanilla
Pitta: Rose, Jasmine, Lavender,
Kapha: Eucalyptus, Bergamot, Lemongrass
It's simple: grab some oil (warm it up for the crème de la crème of Abhyanga). Start with your feet and work your way up to your neck. Really massage into the tissue and places that seldom get attention, circulation, or stimulation! There is no wrong way to do this folks, just give it a go.
#7. EATING MINDFULLY
In Ayurveda, there are thousand year old traditions around the culture of preparing and eating your daily meals.Although, this is not customary in how most of us approach meal times, it does not mean can’t adjust to new eating habits.
Embrace the Moment: Take three breaths before you eat.
Do not eat angry. When we get upset, our body activates our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight), our body prioritizes our survival instincts and puts other processes on the back burner, such as digestive system.
#8. MOVE YO’ SELF
"Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy... happy people just don't shoot their husbands!”
Break a Sweat: at least once a day. Elevate your heart rate for 30 min each day. This study supports that 30 min of walking each day (for 10 consecutive days) is enough to lessen the symptoms of SAD)
Find a place where you can engage in a community. Whether a traditional gym membership, local yoga studio, running club, group fitness classes… find a place where the atmosphere is uplifting and the people challenge you to be the best version of yourself.
What if you told yourself that each and every one of these 8 practices were the most important things you could do to elevate your quality of life.
What if you held each of these practices with honor, gratitude, and dignity?
Give it a shot for one month… see what happens.
Interested in taking this to the next level? In one-on-one sessions, we will personalize your lifestyle program according to your goals & interests. Visit my services for more information.