Topic of the Month
Anxiety is an unpleasant emotional state of
uneasiness and distress, or feeling of impending doom, although
there is no obvious threat. It is characterized by apprehension
and worry. Some anxiety is normal; it becomes a problem when it
interferes with normal activities. According to Ayurveda, anxiety
is a classic sign of imbalance in the body. Prolonged anxiety,
stress, and tension affects the nervous system, and can cause many
further complications if left uncorrected.
Ayurveda, the "Science of Life," provides a clear, concise,
cohesive regimen to help people correct conditions such as anxiety
in a natural way. Yet it is much more than just very effective
holistic treatments. It provides a complete system of preventive
medicine and health care which has proven its effectiveness over
thousands of years in India.
Typical symptoms of anxiety are shown below:
Inability to relax.
Feelings of tightness in chest.
Belching, nausea, occasional diarrhea.
Tendency to be irritable without an obvious
Tendency to be cry without an obvious reason.
What is an anxiety
An anxiety attack affects your body, your
mind, and your behavior. During an attack, you become worried
and anxious about something you believe will be dangerous in the
future. Then your body and mind become focused on this fear.
* You may have physical sensations such as
tension, shakiness, stomach distress, or sweating.
* You may find it difficult to stop worrying
about this future danger that you are afraid will occur. If you
are worried about certain themes such as your health or the
well-being of loved ones, it may be hard to focus on anything
* Focusing on these concerns, you may prepare
yourself either by avoiding certain places and activities, by
constantly checking to make sure you are safe, or by
procrastinating because your excess worry is blocking
* The diagnostic manual that mental health
professionals use categorizes worried thoughts and gives names
to the condition associated with these thoughts. People with
social phobias, for instance, fear being embarrassed in social
situations. People with a generalized anxiety disorder often
worry about issues such as health, physical danger, losing their
job, and financial problems.
Herbs that are useful in Anxiety:
Brahmi (Bacopa monniera)
Bacopa monniera (also sometimes referred to as Bacopa monnieri or
Herpestris monniera) is a medicinal plant used for centuries
in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. More recently it has gained
popularity as a 'brain tonic' capable of improving mental ability,
anxiety and memory. It improves memory and builds energy by
increasing the circulation to the brain.
Aside from increasing intellectual and cognitive function, Brahmi
induces a sense of calm and peace in its users. It is unique in
its ability to invigorate mental processes whilst reducing the
effects of stress and nervous anxiety. This makes Brahmi extremely
applicable in highly stressful work or study environments where
clarity of thought is as important as being able to work under
pressure. Many people have the intelligence to perform to strict
standards, but lack the composure and self-confidence to reach
them. Additionally, Brahmi helps soothe the restlessness and
distraction that nervousness causes. Brahmi is ideal for students
and workers faced with this problem.
Tulsi (Holy Basil)
anxiety and depression can reduce productivity as worsen the
quality of sleep. Effective remedy for all these and other
associated symptoms, Alert, restores peace of mind.
It is said that tulsi, when
taken internally, can relieve gas and reduce stomach cramps and
nausea, headaches, fevers, colds and anxiety. Applied
externally, (essential oil), it may be beneficial for tension,
cuts, wounds, abrasions, bites and stings and as a face wash for
acne. Some use it in their hair rinse for shine. Tulsi
(essential oil) is also said to be anti-spasmodic and may boost
the immune system.
Popularly known to treat sleep disorders - stress and anxiety,
Shankapushpi is quoted in Charaka to be the single greatest herb
for enhancing all three aspects of mind power -- learning (Dhi),
memory (Driti), and recall (Smriti). Thus it is called the
greatest Medhya Rasayana (that which enhances the mind). It helps
the quality of sleep by improving mind-body coordination.
Shankapushpi is very beneficial for the nervous system, enhancing
the quality of bone marrow and nerve tissue.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera).
is highly valued for its restorative action on the functioning of
the nervous system and counteracting high blood pressure. It
corrects loss of memory arising out of long term stress, illness
and overwork. Restores vitality in those suffering from overwork
and nervous exhaustion. In fact, having the ability to nurture the
nervous system, counteract anxiety and stress to promote a calm
state of mind, plus having powerful anti-inflammatory properties,
it is specific in Ayurvedic practice for treating arthritic and
Generally, Ashwagandha stimulates the immune system. It has also
been shown to inhibit inflammation and improve memory. Taken
together, these actions support the traditional reputation of
Ashwagandha as a tonic or adaptogen. It counteracts the effects of
stress and generally promote wellness.
Helping People with anxiety :
Talking about the problem This can help when
the anxiety comes from recent knocks, like a spouse leaving, a
child becoming ill or losing a job. Who should we talk to? Try
friends or relatives who you trust, whose opinions you respect,
and who are good listeners. They may have had the same problem
themselves, or know someone else who has. As well as having the
chance to talk, we may be able to find out how other people have
coped with a similar problem.
Self-help groups These are a good way of
getting in touch with people with similar problems. They will both
be able to understand what you are going through, but may be able
to suggest helpful ways of coping. These groups may be focused on
anxieties and phobias, or may be made up of people who have been
through similar experiences - women's groups, bereaved parent's
groups, survivors of abuse groups.
Learning to relax It can be a great help to
learn a special way of relaxing, to help us control our anxiety
and tension. We can learn these through groups, through
professionals, but there are several books and videotapes we can
use to teach ourselves (see below). It's a good idea to practice
this regularly, not just when we are in a crisis.
If this is not enough, there are several
different kinds of professionals who may be able to help - the
family doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, nurse or
Lifestyle Solutions :
Don’t procrastinate, hide, or run away. Believe
that you have the power to overcome your anxiety. Immediately, it
may not feel good to face your fears directly, but if you apply
this strategy consistently, it always works.
Often anxiety is rooted in exaggeration of one’s worst fears and
negative thoughts. If you are the kind of person who embraces
“worst-case scenarios” regularly, you may need a cognitive
tune-up. Strategies such as thought stopping might be helpful.
Whenever a negative or anxiety-based thought occurs such as “I’m
going to make a fool of myself” or “I don’t measure up,” tell
yourself to STOP! Stopping these types of thoughts is essential to
interrupting the cycle of anxiety.
Managing Anxiety with Yoga
Before starting your yoga practice to control
anxiety, spend ten minutes in the Corpse Pose. Use this time
mentally to separate yourself from your experiences of the past,
and from the anticipated happenings (real or imaginary) of the
Simple Breathing Exercise for Managing Anxiety
Lie on your back in a comfortable place. Breath
slowly through your nose. Use your diaphragm to such air into your
lungs. Allow your abdomen to expand at the same time. After the
abdomen is fully expanded, continue to inhale as deeply as
possible. Reverse the process when you breath out. Contract your
abdomen while exhaling slowly and completely. Repeat this exercise
Ayurvedic Supplements :