May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an important time to raise awareness of the stigma surrounding mental illness and promote understanding and support for those who may be struggling.
Mental health is an extremely important aspect of overall well-being, and it is crucial to take care of it in the best possible way. The ancient Indian principles of Ayurveda and Yoga have been used for centuries to promote physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Why is it important to take care of your mental health?
In today’s fast-paced society that emphasizes achievement and productivity, it may be easy to overlook just how essential it is to take care of one’s mental health. Numerous factors contribute to the importance of maintaining one’s mental health, including physical health, social interaction, and productivity. Regardless of whether one has a diagnosed mental illness, everyone requires some level of care to maintain their overall well-being.
One of the most critical reasons to prioritize mental health care is because good mental well-being is a fundamental component of good physical health. Recent studies show that physical and mental health are interrelated, with poor mental health affecting physical health and vice versa. For instance, stress and anxiety can lead to physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, headaches, and fatigue. Investing in mental health care may help to reduce the occurrence of physical problems.
Furthermore, maintaining mental health contributes to productive social interaction. A person struggling with mental health issues may experience social problems, leading to isolation, withdrawal, and even suicidal behavior. This impacts not only the concerned person but also their loved ones and community. Conversely, investing in mental health preserves and enhances healthy relationships, making it more comfortable for someone to interact with others and fulfill their social roles.
Prioritizing one’s mental health is also important for one’s personal productivity and creative capabilities. Poor mental health can lead to fatigue, a lack of motivation, and reduced engagement with work, leading to decreased productivity.
Another reason for prioritizing mental health care is to reduce healthcare costs in the long run. When a person with undiagnosed or untreated mental health problems requires medical attention, the healthcare system is burdened with the resultant costs. Investing in mental health care may help to reduce healthcare costs, allowing healthcare professionals to address other medical concerns.
Finally, investing in mental health care contributes to overall social change and public health awareness. When more people prioritize their mental health, the stigma associated with mental illness is reduced. Greater awareness of mental health issues can help to address these conditions more effectively. Investing in mental health care at the individual level also contributes to more extensive healthcare policy and resources for mental health care, which can lead to better outcomes for communities.
How Ayurveda and Yoga can help you in improving your mental health?
Panchkarma Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that originated in India thousands of years ago. It is based on the belief that the body is made up of three doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, and any imbalance in these doshas can lead to physical and mental health problems. The Swastha (Healthy Person) according to Ayurveda is the one who enjoys the perfect balance of Tri-doshas, Agni (digestive Fire), Dhatus (Body tissues) & Malas (production and elimination of waste products), but this is only the physical level. For complete health, along with physical health Ayurveda advocates for a Prasanna Atmendriya Manaha, which means a balanced mind, balanced sense organs, and a contented spirit. The mind, body, and soul are like Tripod on which the individual sustains & enjoys life.
According to Ayurveda mind is controlled by Trigunas which are considered as 3 Mind Types. These Trigunas of Manas (Mind) are:-
We can translate these 3 Gunas as Wisdom, Activity & Ignorance. Sattva Guna helps us to achieve mental harmony and balance but Manas (Mind) gets afflicted by Rajas & Tamas. Tamas is characterized by laziness, drowsiness, dullness, and resistance to any kind of action. Rajas means hyperactive & dynamic for materialistic gains. Sattva means essence or wisdom, all the good features in all of us. These people will be contented with what they have and show characteristics of love, compassion, self-control, sharing, and sympathy.
Yoga, on the other hand, is a holistic practice that involves physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. It is based on the belief that the mind and body are interconnected and that practicing Yoga can help regulate and balance them. When Ayurveda and Yoga are combined, they can be a powerful tool to promote overall mental health.
Ayurveda offers various treatments and remedies that can help manage mental and physical health disorders such as depression, anxiety, stress, and Detoxification. One such remedy is the use of Brahmi, an Ayurvedic herb. Brahmi has been found to have a positive effect on the brain, improving cognitive function and reducing anxiety. It is also a natural stress reliever and can help promote relaxation.
In addition to Ayurvedic remedies, practicing Yoga regularly can also have a positive impact on mental health. Yoga involves various breathing techniques that help reduce stress and anxiety by calming the mind. One such technique is Pranayama, which involves controlling the breath to promote relaxation. Regular practice of Yoga can also help improve mood, increase feelings of well-being, and reduce symptoms of depression.
Furthermore, the physical postures or asanas in Yoga can help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s relaxation response. This, in turn, can help reduce the body’s response to stress and promote feelings of calm and relaxation. it’s very helpful in Rejuvenation.
According to Yogic philosophy, the first stage of disease (Psychosomatic Diseases) starts with our mind (Manomaya kosha), then it slowly percolates to Pranamayakosha and finally to Annamaya kosha which is our physical body. There are several Yoga practices that are beneficial for our mental health, such as Asanas, Pranayama, Mudras & Dhyana (Meditation, which will eventually calm our mind and reduces anxiety. Some simple Pranayama techniques like Bhramari, Anulom vilom, Nadanusandhana, Sitkari, and Sitali are very beneficial for mental health. Yoga practices like Yoga Nidra, Om Chanting, and Japa-Ajapa meditation practices are helpful to keep our mind calm & focused.
The ancient Indian practices of Ayurveda and Yoga can be a powerful tool to promote mental health and well-being. Ayurvedic remedies and Yoga techniques can help manage symptoms of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and stress. By incorporating Ayurveda and Yoga into our daily routines, we can improve our mental health and lead healthier and happier lives.