By Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya
Experts in America discuss stress as the cause of death, describing the inability of people to handle the reality of messy lives. Unrealistic and ideal expectations cause people to strive for perfection at the cost of balance, relationships, sleep, meals, and overall health. Indeed, excellence is given great importance in modern society while denigrating the position of falling in at second, losing a race, or opting for a less ambitious career that will get less attention or promotion even if it provides better relationship care for loved ones.
People suffer from mental problems of living, which become physical ailments as the brain’s chemicals affect the body. This connection between mind and body was not validated by doctors just 20 years ago, as they laughed at the idea that the mind could alter the body and create heart disease, thyroid disorders, or cancer. But slowly abundant and irrefutable evidence has emerged of the connection between the mind and brain.
The ability of the mind’s thoughts, emotions, and reactions to produce chemicals that affect the body has now been established, and the same doctors who laughed two decades ago now proudly tout their understanding of the influence of the mind on the body!
Ayurvedic Wiseman tracked millennia of real-life situations of stress and only then captured the wisdom into its medical science. Live, practice-based evidence, in humans, in different environments, and of different ages, with different medical conditions is the basis of Ayurveda. This makes the wisdom priceless while quietly throwing light on the discrepancies of modern medical science.
Overall, the middle road of balance is prescribed for anyone nearing their personal edge of ability. It did not encourage people to venture to the edges of excellence until they were stable at their core. People with Vata body constitutions have movement more familiar to them, but they are also prone to more unwieldy mental and emotional reactions, leading to anxiety, panic, and indecision. People with Vata diseases tend to have the same tendencies when imbalanced Vata overtakes their normal and optimal body constitution. They are prescribed consistency and stable footing on the earth, to ground them and give the movement better flow. Warmth and softness, which are depleted in the sharp, fast movement, reemerge when Vata types are given prescriptions for planting their feet on the earth, yoga on the mat, warm cooked root vegetables and soups, and longer sleep starting in mid-evening.
As autumn emerges from a hot summer, the temperature cools outdoors and we reflexively put on warmer clothes and enjoy hot beverages and warmer, softer foods. We know unconsciously how to give our senses certain comforts. To overcome the dangerous effects of stress, we must also undertake the commitment to understand what affects us in our deeper senses.
Each person has different triggers for stress that reflect our personal unresolved issues. Most of these have to do with our relationships. Assess your relationship with your home. If it were a metaphor for your inner body, would you consider it healthy? Do you have treasured collections? How are they useful to you? Do you hoard supplies? Do you regularly clean shelves and cupboards and air out everything you own? Do you have items squirreled away that have no active users in your life? Why do you keep them? What security does each item in your home have for you?
Assess your relationship with money. How much is enough money for you? What would you spend money on? If someone gave you a credit card for buying a million dollars a year, what would you spend it for? Do you enjoy giving money to others? Do you use the money to manipulate others? Do you deprive yourself of using money?
Which of the issues in your life give you stress? Can you walk daily in nature, and give some of that worry or fear, anger or resentment, lust or laziness away to Mother Earth, who can absorb everything? Can you feed your soul and grow it so that the stress is lessened?
As you learn to work with the underlying issues giving you stress, you will become immune to the temptations that society offers for suppressing your stress, and you will become stronger. It is not the stress-free life that we need. It is the ability to manage stress, process it, and master the underlying reasons we felt stressed that we actually desire.
Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya