Understanding Anxiety, Depression, and Chronic Stress
Anxiety disorders are characterized by a chronic sense of uneasiness, distress, or dread that can prevent patients from sleeping, concentrating, socializing, or even leaving their homes. From an Ayurvedic point of view, this condition is caused when excessive vata accumulates in the nervous system.
On the other hand, depression is characterized by feeling helpless, hopeless, or worthless for extended periods of time. Those with depression often have a hard time finding meaning in their life, be it in work, hobbies, family, or friends. Ayurveda often considers depression to be caused by an excess of kapha dosha in the body.
Chronic stress is one condition that lies at the root of both anxiety and depression. With chronic stress, individuals often feel like they have little or no control over certain aspects of their life. This causes the body to flood with stress hormones, putting us in a never-ending fight or flight response. Over a long period of time, this has a negative impact on almost every system in the body, contributing to both physical and mental illnesses. So, if we hope to cure anxiety and depression, it’s often important to first address the stress that underlies these conditions.
Thankfully, Ayurveda has tools for all three of these ailments. The first one we’ll explore is yoga.