Every person who fulfills his or her potential can cope with the everyday stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to his or her community. Mental health is the foundation for an individual’s effective communication, learning, emotions, thinking, and self-esteem. It is integral to all aspects of human life, whether in interpersonal relationships, emotional well-being, or effective contribution to society. There are various Ayurvedic tips for improving physical and mental health that help to keep the mind and body healthy.
The word mental illness is often used as an umbrella term for all diagnostic mental disorders involving significant behavior changes. These changes include thought processes, emotions, behavior, and functional problems.
A study was conducted by the Neuropsychiatry branch of medicine dealing with mental disorders on April 6, 2020, on people who were in lockdown. The study estimated that 40.5% of the participants had either anxiety or depression. About three-fourths (74.1%) of the participants reported a moderate stress level, and 71.7% reported poor well-being.
Concept Of Physical Health In Ayurveda
Mental well-being is defined in Ayurveda as ‘Swasthya’ that includes physical and spiritual well-being. Life, according to Ayurveda, is a conglomeration of the four interdependent components. These components are the body (Shareera), the sensory & motor faculties (Indriya), the mind (Satva), and the soul (Atma). A healthy life needs excellent complementary support for all these factors. Thus, the concept of health encompasses physical, mental, sensory, and spiritual domains.
It also indicates that a person with Swastha Mana (healthy mental state), Prasanna Aatmendriya (delighted soul with the proper functioning of sense organs), Sama Agni (proper metabolism), Sama Dhatu (proportionate body organs and tissues), and Sama Kriya (good physiology) is perfectly healthy.
Attributes of Physical Health
- The desire for timely intake of food followed by proper digestion.
- Timely evacuation of evacuant products.
- Lightness to the body
- Proper and satisfactory sleep
- Normal growth and development of body
- Nice complexion, texture, and luster of the body
- Good immunity
Mind in Ayurveda – Physiological Aspect
Manas is derived from the root ‘man,’ adding the suffix ‘Asuna’ having the meaning, ‘to perceive,’ ‘to lead to knowledge,’ and ‘to analyze by special knowledge’. There are various synonyms of Mana such as Chitta, Chetas, Hrit, Hridd, Manas, and Satva.
“Chittam chetah hrdayam svantam hrnmanasam manah iti”. (Amarakosha 1/4/3)
The meaning of the above shloka is, “Mana is the entity through which knowledge is obtained, which is closely related with Atma. Through Atma, one can perceive. Mana is the superior analyzing faculty, the seat of soul or Atma, and controls the whole body. It accommodates the special senses and is the seat of knowledge.
Ayurveda proves that the existence of the mind is the existence of knowledge (Lakshanam Manaso Jnana). Ayurvedic tips for mental health helps to maintain the brain’s health and improve its functionality.
Attributes of Mental Health
While explaining the concept of Swasthya, Ayurveda has also included the following attributes of mental health:
- A well-balanced and pleasant state of mind.
- Being cheerful and gracious.
- Proper and satisfactory sleep.
- Steady and well-balanced mental faculties.
- Pleasant and active state of sensory attributes.
Relationship Between Body and Mind
It is known even from earlier times that body and mind influence each other. Psychological suffering is often expressed through somatic problems. In individuals with difficulty recognizing and expressing emotions, physical manifestations are often seen. These manifestations include loss of sleep, decreased/increased appetite, loss of libido, vague aches, pains in the body, etc.
Some physical diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, autoimmune diseases, blood pressure, etc., are thought to worsen by mental factors such as anxiety and stress.
The current mental state of a person can influence how bad a physical disease is at a particular time. Hypochondriasis, Conversion disorder, Somatization disorder, etc., are believed to be rooted in mental problems. Certain chronic conditions and life-threatening conditions, such as Cancers, Renal Diseases, etc., also affect the mind retrospectively.
The mind can also exert a positive or negative impact on the effect of a treatment on the body. The positive effect of a placebo on treatment is due to the impact on the mind. The innate positivity also guides the positive response of a patient to therapy.
The concept of Satvavajaya Chikitsa in Ayurveda is centered on the mind by promoting positive vibes to the individual. Ayurveda believes in the individual as a whole, encompassing body and mind together, and treatment is also aimed for both.
Ayurvedic Tips For Improving Physical And Mental Health
Ayurveda believes that it is essential for an individual to have a healthy mind and body for overall well-being. So, people suffering from a disease can counter that disease with the power of reason and willingness.
Here are some of the Ayurvedic tips that you can follow to keep your mind healthy:
According to Ayurveda, good health foundations include a nutritious diet, adequate sleep, and a balanced lifestyle. In Ayurveda, the management of digestive and metabolic fire is the starting point to achieve dosha balance for mental and physical health.
Follow a Seasonal and Daily regimen
Align with natural rhythms; spring could be an anxious time with Vata Dosha imbalance and winter with Kapha Dosha imbalance.
Here are some tips on balancing these Doshas:
- Practice physical exercise for mental health regularly, such as concentration exercises.
- Include warm beverages in your diet.
- Don’t consume stale food.
- Use liberal amounts of sesame oil, Ghee, butter, olive oil, and coconut oil.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and chocolate.
- Avoid raw or gas-forming vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc.
- Have some boiled milk with cardamom and Haldi before bed.
Medhya Rasayana or brain tonics inherently boost immunity. Some other herbs also are beneficial for brain health to improve memory, concentration, and other brain functions.
These herbs include:
- Shakti Drops
- Kalyanaka Ghrita
Try Abhyanga (self-massage), Nasya (oil or herb application in the nostrils), Shirodhara (pouring of warm medicated oil on the forehead), and a full Panchakarma (a comprehensive, individualized therapeutic cleanse). These therapies will help to remove mental and physical fatigue. They also cure various psychological and physical diseases like stress, anxiety, joint pain, headache, insomnia, etc.
Ayurvedic scholars attribute the decline in our collective physical and psychological immunity to losing our connection with nature and the ability to withstand stress. Ayurveda also encourages healing relationships with nature and commitment to sustainability.
According to Ayurveda, undigested food is the root cause of toxins spread across the body. These toxins are making the body unhealthy and sick. It may cause infections, illnesses and finally weakens the immune system. Hence, detoxification is essential, and you can do it by regularly consuming lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and juices.
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Ayurveda has many benefits. There is nothing better than going the Ayurveda way of eating healthy and taking care of physical and emotional health. Being the oldest medicinal system globally, Ayurveda helps build internal power and strength. Holistic healing helps to increase immunity for the body to combat many diseases and infections. There are many causes of mental and physical health loss, including genetic factors, poor mental health, pollution, poor diet, lifestyle, and metabolic issues. You can overcome all these problems with the help of the above self-care tips for mental and physical health that are easy to follow.