Stress in the Workplace
How to Combat it with Maharishi Ayurveda
Stress on the job creates a variety of symptoms, including anxiety, fatigue, increased anger, problems with relationships, inability to focus properly, stress headaches, insomnia and a variety of stress-related diseases.
Stress results when the mind, body or emotions receives an overload of stimulus, whether good or bad. Workplace stress occurs when the mind is not able to handle day-to-day events and challenges. Some people seem to handle daily challenges without any evidence of stress, while others are stressed by the normal changes that the modern workplace presents.
According to Maharishi Ayurveda, this lack of ability to handle daily stress is due to an imbalance, or lack of coordination of the three main mental functions of dhi (learning), dhriti (retention), and smriti (long-term memory). Maharishi Ayurveda offers many recommendations for strengthening these mental functions, and thus gives the person more resilience to stress.
When Prana Vata, the subdosha of Vata that supports mental functions, gets disturbed, the coordination of dhi, dhriti and smriti breaks down and mental stress results.
When Prana and Vyana Vata (the subdosha located in the heart that supports circulation) together are disturbed, it affects not only the mind, but also the communication between the heart and the mind, thus creating mental and emotional stress simultaneously. Emotional stress is usually associated with an imbalance in Sadhaka Pitta, the subdosha of Pitta that supports the emotions and is seated in the heart.
According to ayurveda, if you are unable to perceive the reality of life, which is blissful, that is an indication of Pragya-aparadh, or mistake of the intellect. Charaka Samhita, a major ayurvedic text, defines Pragya-aparadh as the lack of coordination of dhi, dhriti and smriti. Pragya-aparadh is the source of all disease, because disease originates when the heart, mind or body loses its connection with nature's intelligence. When we lose the memory of bliss, the connection with our own true nature in pure consciousness, this is the source of stress and ill health in the body.
The recommendations of Maharishi Ayurveda aim to restore the balanced functioning of the doshas — of mind, body and emotions — and thus to restore the connection of every part of life to bliss consciousness, which is our true nature.
Stress Management with TM®
The Transcendental Meditation® technique, when practiced morning and evening, is the most effective way to relieve anxiety and stress, according to research conducted at Stanford University and according to hundreds of other research studies. In studies comparing the Transcendental Meditation technique with other programs of self-development available today, the Transcendental Meditation technique was found to far surpass the others in results.
One major cause of stress in the workplace is lack of creativity or mind power to solve problems on the job. Because the Transcendental Meditation technique heightens creativity, IQ, memory and clarity of thinking, it helps relieve workplace stress in this way also.
Relationships with other employees and with superiors have also been found to improve with the practice of Transcendental Meditation, even if you are the only one practicing it. Positive, harmonious behavior is a direct result of clearer thinking, reduced stress and balanced emotions, and if you are experiencing those positive results, it will be reflected in better relationships.
One reason that the Transcendental Meditation program is so effective is that it provides such deep rest that it actually can dissolve deep-rooted stresses that are lodged in the structure or chemistry of the body. It dissolves stress that deep sleep cannot reach, infusing the mind, body and emotions with pure consciousness and restructuring the physiology in the shape of bliss.
Overcoming Mental Stress
Mental stress is caused by an imbalance in Prana Vata. Following the ayurvedic daily routine is probably the most important thing you can do to prevent stress on the job. The daily routine is designed to prevent stress from covering over the bliss of balanced living.
The morning routine includes waking up early, before the sun rises, and starting the day with an abhyanga, or ayurvedic oil massage. Abhyanga not only removes toxins from the body; it stimulates the organs and enlivens the flow of intelligence in the body. By the time you finish your oil massage and bathe, your mind will feel fresh, energized and awake, without the need for coffee to start the day.
The practice of yoga asanas is also balancing to mental, physical and emotional stress, as are deep breathing exercises known as pranayama. The Transcendental Meditation program completes the morning routine.
Overcoming Emotional Stress
Base your work relationships on the Vedic principle of ahimsa, or nonviolence. Ahimsa, or non-harm to all living things, grows naturally as you grow in your practice of meditation, but it's also a good idea to practice it as a Behavioral Rasayana (achara rasayana), because it will not only improve your relationships, but it will also improve your health and act as an elixir to your mind and body. Recent research shows that positive behavior is linked with longevity. If you cultivate positive, nourishing behaviors in your workplace, you'll find those behaviors reflected back to you.
It's very important to feel safe in the workplace. If someone is feeling underpaid or overworked, or in some way mistreated on the job, these kinds of thoughts float in the environment and can affect the creativity and productivity of other workers. If you have a choice, choose a work environment in which people are treated with respect and are given the emotional support they need to produce.
Herbal Products to Balance Mental Stress
Both Worry Free and Stress Free Mind contain Shankapushpi (Dwarf Morning Glory), and Stress Free Mind also contains Brahmi (Bacopa) as a main ingredient. These herbs are the most important Medhya Rasayanas in ayurvedic terms, which means that they enhance the coordination of dhi, dhriti and smriti.
Stress Free Mind supports natural resistance to stress and also increases alertness and mental sharpness while reducing anxiety and fatigue. It enhances learning, retention and long-term memory (dhi, dhriti and smriti); increases mental energy by supporting Prana Vata; and supports mental resistance to stress.
Herbal Products to Balance Emotional Health
If you are feeling emotional stress, negativity toward your boss or co-workers, or sadness, try Stress Free Emotions. The herbs in Stress Free Emotions include Arjuna, Winter Cherry (Ashwagandha), Shankapushpi (Dwarf Morning Glory), Mica, Pearl and Holy Basil to help improve coordination of mind and emotions. Arjuna, Mica, Pearl, Cabbage Rose and Leptadenia help support emotional stability by improving self-confidence, positive thinking, motivation and feelings of fulfillment. All of the herbs together create the synergistic effect of supporting resistance to emotional stress.
Other Tips to Relieve Stress
Stretch and breathe deeply even when indoors to energize the body and bring more oxygen to the brain. As mentioned earlier, taking frequent breaks is good.
Instead of drinking coffee, which only creates toxins and adds to mental, emotional and physical stress, bring a thermos of Worry Free Tea to work and sip it throughout the day.
Drinking warm fluids throughout the day also helps in detoxifying the body. Warm, non-caffeinated fluids also help reduce Vata dosha and mental stress. Many times people experience fatigue and headache on the job due to simple dehydration. This is especially a problem in windowless office buildings that rely on dry, forced air for heating and cooling.
Aromatherapy is another excellent way to infuse bliss into the workplace, and also helps purify the air. Use Worry Free Therapeutic Aroma for dissolving mental stress, and Blissful Heart for emotional stress.
If you feel hungry during the workday, eat healthy snacks instead of junk food from vending machines. If you feel at all angry or emotionally stressed, eating a sweet, juicy pear can reduce Pitta dosha and have an immediate effect in balancing your emotions. Eating a teaspoon of Organic Rose Petal Spread can also give immediate relief to agitated emotions.
Taking these small steps will have an effect in balancing Sadhaka Pitta, Prana Vata and Vyana Vata, and enhancing the coordination between dhi, dhriti and smriti. They are very simple, but many of my clients have found these recommendations help create a good environment for both the heart and the mind, and help to lessen mental and emotional stress.
It's wise to avoid creating such huge demands in your life that you don't have time to practice Transcendental Meditation, to follow the ayurvedic routine, and to relax. Certainly you can earn more dollars by increasing your workload, but there is a point where this becomes self-defeating. If you are destroying your spiritual sattva, your mental peace of mind in order to purchase more physical amenities, this is not a good choice.
Relaxation and enjoyment are very important to health. Sometimes people think they can work an extra job on the weekends to buy a bigger house. Why are they building a bigger house in the first place? Probably to become more relaxed and to enjoy life more. Ironically, the excessive house payments often create stress and prevent relaxation, so the hard work actually brings the opposite results.
Instead, it is important to follow the ayurvedic diet, the daily routine and other recommendations in order to gain the benefits. If you do follow this simple advice, however, the results will be more than worthwhile. The ayurvedic solutions to stress and other problems in life are, in the end, amazing in their simplicity and effectiveness.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.