Seven Ways to Stop Stress in its Tracks
Maharishi Ayurveda approach to stress
Stress has become part of life for many of us. High levels of stress cause excess build-up of free radicals in the physiology, and can lead to disease and premature aging. The ancient science of Ayurveda offers many ways to combat day-to-day stress and enhance your natural ability to throw off the effects of stress. Here, Vaidya Nitin Agrawal of Maharishi Ayurveda describes some of these approaches.
1. Start the Day Stress-Free
"The Maharishi Ayurveda approach to stress is unique because it is a total approach, and includes mental, physical and emotional aspects," says Vaidya Agrawal. Many of these approaches are included in the ayurvedic daily routine, called dinacharya. When you begin the day with a routine, it sets you up for a stress-free day by helping to keep Vata in balance.
Vaidya Agrawal suggests creating a schedule to make it easier to plan your time. If you have to leave for work by 8:30 a.m., for instance, it's easy to fit these steps in if you wake up by 6:00 a.m.
Schedule for the Ayurvedic Morning Routine
- Wake up in the morning before 6:00 a.m.
- Empty bowel and bladder.
- Wash your face, giving special attention to the eyes.
- Brush your teeth, scrape your tongue and rinse your mouth. This is also a good time to drink a cup of water.
- Perform abhyanga (ayurvedic oil massage).
- Because it's best to wait an additional 10-15 minutes for the oil to soak in between your massage and bath, to save time you might want to spend this time shaving, flossing your teeth, or starting your Surya Namaskara or Yoga Asanas.
- Bathe or shower. Use warm rather than hot water.
- Perform Yoga Asanas and Surya Namaskara (Salutation to the Sun Exercise).
- Practice deep breathing or Pranayama.
- Practice Transcendental Meditation® for twenty minutes.
- Have breakfast — a stewed apple or pear and warm cereal is ideal.
- Take herbal food supplements and Rasayanas.
- School or work.
2. Create an Armor against Stress
Abhyanga is an excellent way to build resilience to stress. "If you don't have time for the full-body massage, at least massage your hands, feet, and neck region," advises Vaidya Agrawal. These are major stress areas. Vaidya Agrawal recommends the Moisturizing Massage Oil if your job is a high-stress one or the Youthful Skin Massage Oil for nourishment of body and mind.
3. Meditate to Release Stress
While all parts of the daily routine are important, the Transcendental Meditation program is the most effective way to reduce stress. While there have been over 600 studies conducted on the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation technique, perhaps the most impressive research indicates reduction in the stress hormone cortisol; lactic acid, an indicator of stress; and anxiety. At the same time, serotonin, which is a sign of relaxation, increases dramatically.
4. Calm Anxiety with Therapeutic Aromas
"Therapeutic aromas work very well in relieving stress and have a proven calming effect," says Vaidya Agrawal. Maharishi Ayurveda recommends Cooling Pitta Therapeutic Aroma Oil.
Flowers in the home also create a natural soothing aroma. You can enjoy stress-reducing aromas wherever you are by using an aroma locket, a diffuser or incense sticks. Or you can add six drops of aroma oil to your bathwater for a calming effect.
5. Listen to Serene Music
"Music has a vital effect on your nervous system, mind and emotions," notes Vaidya Agrawal. That's why Maharishi Ayurveda recommends the soothing, serene melodies of Gandharva Veda music, which align biological rhythms with nature's rhythms. When you listen to music for its therapeutic effect, keep the volume low. Increasing the volume causes noise pollution and actually increases stress.
6. Drink Stress-Busting Beverages
"Often when people feel stressed they drink large amounts of coffee," says Vaidya Agrawal. But if they start gradually substituting Worry Free Tea or Raja's Cup in place of coffee, they will feel more relaxed and less stressed and toxic.
Rasayanas are special herbal formulations that promote all aspects of health. Research on Amrit from Maharishi Ayurveda indicates that it helps increase your ability to withstand stress and nourishes all aspects of your physiology. A powerful free radical scavenger, Amrit is recommended as lifelong support. Other Maharishi Ayurveda Rasayanas for mind/body health include Vital Man or Vital Lady, which help create outer dynamism and inner balance and strength.
Vaidya Agrawal encourages everyone who faces a stressful day to use these tips. He says, "Even if you apply only 50 percent of these recommendations, you'll see definite results."
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.