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Depression has been becoming more common among the overall population today as the Covid-19 lockdown continues …
Let’s talk about depression and how Maharishi AyurVeda helps prevention and recovery from depression.
It is both enlightening and alarming to see how many young adults have started to talk about deteriorating mental health and depression which has been developing as the lockdown has progressed. So this week we thought to look at the causes of depression and suggest key strategies for preventing or recovering from depression.
How do I keep mentally well during COVID-19?
In many ways, western society has forgone traditions and rituals celebrating birth, puberty and menstruation, marriage, menopause and death; substituting the passing on of knowledge and wisdom from the elders to the young, for a society where you are left to work it all out yourself.
Many people feel increasingly lost and isolated as they attempt to cope with life as this lockdown has progressed.
At present, daily life can make it seem hard or nearly impossible to live a balanced lifestyle. In turn, our daily choices for sleep, exercise, nutritious food, adequate rest and relaxation and fulfilling work are less than ideal. As we feel depleted our behaviour becomes less ideal too and our relationships suffer. Just when we need it, we may be unconsciously isolating ourselves and alienating those who could support us in our hour of need.
Over time our neurochemistry becomes depleted with the constant mental and physical activity as the “on button never switches off.” Initially, this may be experienced as feeling low in mood and feeling physically drained. Over time our serotonin levels drop and eventually it becomes depression.
Maharishi AyurVeda has a detailed understanding of the mechanics of depression.
In terms of the doshas, Maharishi AyurVeda understands that depression is a result of aggravation in Sadhaka Pitta, which is the subdosha that governs the heart and emotions. Pitta is increased by mental stress, physical strain and overwork, stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine and spicy, acidic foods. Increased Pitta disturbs the lubricating quality of Tarpaka Kapha, responsible for coordinating the heart and mind, which in turn leads to imbalance in Prana Vata which governs the mind. The excess heat from Pitta, frustration and the changeability in the mind from airy Vata combine to dry up the lubricating, stabilising quality of Kapha.
By understanding what is really happening on the physiological level, the Maharishi AyurVeda herbal preparations and aromas bring balance and nourishment to all the areas that are out of balance. For example, Maharishi AyurVeda Blissful Joy (MA1402) promotes emotional balance by nourishing the heart, mind and the link between the two.
Each herbal preparation contains a combination of herbs that treat the imbalance, provide overall balance to the mind and body, and assist with assimilation of the key herbs.
Taking advantage of the cycles of nature can help to provide consistent energy levels and sound sleep.
- Arising before 6 am is vital in preventing the heaviness of depression. When you get up with the rising sun you experience the lively, light energy of Vata time.
- Sleeping into Kapha time, past 6 am, creates sluggishness in the mind and body as the channels of the physiology become blocked with impurities.
- Kapha time at night, between 6 pm and 10 pm is the best time to go to bed as the Kapha’s heaviness produces a deeper, restful sleep.
- If you stay up past 10 pm into Pitta time, you tend to get your second wind and it is harder to unwind and fall asleep.
- Pitta time at night is for processing and cleansing impurities from the body. If you are awake at this time, this function of metabolism is impeded and you tend to feel groggy and lethargic when you wake up.
- Getting plenty of rest and feeling refreshed in the morning is essential for emotional wellbeing.
Walking in the early morning also helps to open the channels and stimulate digestion and elimination.
Exercise helps to move blocked emotions and hormones from the body and increases the production of positive neuro-hormones to elevate your thoughts and mood.
- Yoga asanas are also very good for balancing emotions, integrating mind and body, and cleansing toxins and impurities from the body.
- Brisk walking, cycling and swimming are a great way to stimulate and enliven the physiology.
A diet of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains provides optimal nutrition without the heaviness of fast food, leftovers and packaged food.
Natural and unprocessed foods are more easily digested by the body. Pears, walnuts and boiled milk are nourishing for the mind and emotions.
If you are feeling depressed it is best to avoid any cold, heavy foods such as yoghurt, cheese, cold milk and chocolate as they will only increase the mental heaviness.
Small amounts of spice such as ginger, fenugreek, turmeric, cloves, black pepper, cumin and coriander assist with digestion and clearing impurities as well as offsetting the sluggishness of excess Kapha.
By understanding what is really happening on the physiological level, the Maharishi AyurVeda herbal preparations and aromas maintain balance and nourishment to all the areas that could go out of balance.
For example, Maharishi AyurVeda Blissful Joy helps keep sadhaka pitta, tarpaka kapha and prana vata in balance thus nourishing the heart, mind and the link between the two.
- Blissful Joy (MA1402). Take 1-2 tablets 30-60 minutes after breakfast and evening meals for a minimum of 3 months.
- Essential oils have a direct effect on emotions. Try the following blends: Blissful Joy aroma, Emotional Strength aroma, and Sadhaka Balancing aroma.
- To aid sleep if necessary: take a drink of Good Night Tea along with 2 Peace of Mind (MA1401) tablets at bedtime with sweetened milk or warm water. Take note of the bedtime recommendations above.
If the above advice is not enough to prevent low mood that persists for 3 – 4 weeks, further professional help may be needed. Consider a personal health consultation with a Maharishi AyurVeda Practitioner, either personally or via Skype. If symptoms persist, then also visit your doctor to bring their advice into your programme.
Wishing you the bliss of balance
Linda Sinden – Maharishi AyurVeda Consultant
Linda Sinden has been a practising Maharishi AyurVeda Consultant since 1990 in Auckland, New Zealand.
You can book a consultation in the UK with a Maharishi AyurVeda practitioner, in-person or via Skype, through either Maharishi AyurVeda Health Centre Rendlesham or Maharishi Panchakarma Centre Skelmersdale
Currently, Skype consultations are available with Susan Lincoln M.Sc. (Ayurveda) and Vaidya Amitha Rudraraju BAMS.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this document is presented for the sole purpose of imparting education on Maharishi AyurVeda and neither the information nor the products are intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition or are pregnant or lactating, please consult a health professional and it is recommended that you speak with your physician before making significant changes to your diet or routine.