There’s a lot to be anxious about these days. Most of us were already trying to cope with the stresses of everyday life: competing demands of work, school, children, finances and personal relationships, combined with the approaching holiday season. Then along came the 2016 presidential election! No matter your political view, there is no question that the outcome exposed a tragic rift in the country’s social fabric which has resulted in a collective sense of anxiety for many. During times like this we can be grateful for natural healing practices like Ayurveda for gifting us with powerful ways to deal with anxiety!
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is the feeling of worry, unease, and fear of both the known and unknown. It is estimated that 40 million, or 18% of adults in the United States, suffer from anxiety, making it the most common mental disorder. And nearly half of those suffering from anxiety also suffer from depression. Anxiety can take many forms and can be mild to utterly debilitating. A little anxiety is normal and usually temporary, such as fretting over a job interview or passing an important test. But when anxiety gets out of control it can be devastating to one’s quality of life and overall health.
How does Ayurveda approach anxiety?
In Ayurveda, anxiety is considered an imbalance in Vata Dosha (comprised of the air and space elements) in the mind channel (manovaha srotas). Anxiety often results from excess Vata in the mind, accompanied by its close cousins insomnia, fear, nervousness and depression. With excessive thinking and worry around the presidential election, combined with the seasonal shift into colder, drier, windier weather and the approaching holidays, we are presented with the perfect formula for Vata aggravation. Ayurveda offers many ways to pacify Vata dosha through diet, lifestyle and herbs that counter the cold, rough, dry, mobile and subtle qualities of Vata.