April 09, 2019

Stress, Weight & Ayurveda

stress, ayurveda, weight

Stress affect so many of us, and there are many different ways to manage it.  In my study of Ayurveda, I believe we have an extremely rounded way of looking at our approach to the prevention of this aspect of our lives that we often feel powerless to deal with.

The concept of stress continues to rise amongst us and manifest itself in all kinds of different behavioural, cognitive, emotional and physical symptoms. It’s essentially our response to increased demands on us whether these be emotional, physical, real or even imagined. The response is the secretion of the hormones cortisol, adrenaline and non-adrenaline from the adrenal glands. Persistant exposure of our bodies to cortisol can result in weight gain.  An important aspect of managing weight is understanding stress.  Here I aim to help you understand the holistic ayurvedic perspective of stress and give you some simple tips on how to you can begin to adopt stress-reducing behaviors.

An Ayurvedic Science

The science that is Ayurvedic medicine offers us a deep understanding of all of our unique traits. It also recognises stress as a sign of imbalances in our body, which then prevent us from being able to cope with situations.

By understanding our own unique constitution and how everything from certain foods, our lifestyle choices, the weather, even the time of day can affect us, we can start to truly know how to shield ourselves. It’s also worth noting, that no matter what the disease, the mechanism for removing the contributing factors is the same, which is why Ayurveda can be so successful in helping us deal with modern day stresses as a result.

Learn Your Triggers

We're predisposed to a certain degree by our natural constitution, but we can still at least learn to deal with stress and acknowledge our own unique triggers. For example, poor time management, communication, unhealthy relationships and lack of self-fulfilment in areas of our lives can all contribute to stress. Working on these areas goes a long way towards relieving it.

Ayurveda theorises that the body is governed by three functional principles known collectively as Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) and they work together to maintain equilibrium.

We are all made up of our own unique Doshic attributes. Ayurveda identifies disease as an imbalance of one or more of the three Doshas. If you’re Vata, then stress often presents with irritability, irregular lifestyle choices such as skipping meals or even eating at unusual times, insomnia, fear and anxiety. If you’re more Pitta, then stress may present with argumentative and angry outbursts, hostility and judgement. On the other hand, Kapha dominant people may find that their stress symptoms consist of feeling more lethargic and they may start overeating and experience depression as a result. No two people will ever present in the same way, making an understanding of your Doshas an essential starting point  for your own personal health and wellbeing.

Here are my five top tips for lessening the day to day build-up of stress: 

  1. Take 5-10 minutes in your day to just pause and focus on your breathing
  2. Put that phone away before bed! - Switch off all electronic devices in the evening. Blue light suppresses the release of melatonin, which in turn disrupts our sleep of which a lack of is a large contributing cause of stress
  3. Listen to how your body feels when you wake up, if you don't feel like eating breakfast don't
  4. Mindful eating - Chew slowly, really making a connection with the food you’re eating
  5. Try not to eat less than three hours before going to sleep as this puts unnecessary stress on your digestive system when it should be ‘resting’

Give these a go and if you'd like to learn more about how I can help you with managing your weight, book a call with me.

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