Ayurveda is about taking a holistic approach to wellness and health and the management of stress is no exception. The ancient teachings offer many practical methods to deal with stress by enhancing your body’s natural mechanisms to counter stress, for both mental and physical relief.
Stress according to Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, the mind has a very important influence on our body and overall health. Just as agni or the digestive fire plays an important role in removing toxins and impurities from our body, the connection between the mind and body is integral as well, because mental toxins such as unresolved emotions or stress can also lead to disease and ill health.
Stress is referred to as sahasa in Ayurveda which when in excess can create a loss of immunity making our physical health susceptible to various diseases. Ayurveda says that the mind depends on the three qualities of sattva, rajas and tamas which when shifted out of balance due to stress upsets the mental balance of a person. This in turn has an impact on the balance of our internal energies or dosha – vatta, pitta and kapha – of which we each have a unique combination.
Most job roles in modern work life call for multitasking and always being on the go or on call. Workplace stress can happen when the day-to-day workload and challenges start to accumulate making it difficult for some people to handle. This can cause excess feelings of anxiety and fatigue, inability to focus, insomnia, anger and stress headaches.
Ayurvedic practices to manage stress in the workplace
Thankfully, despite being an ancient life science, ayurveda has practical steps and methods to help you with stress management at the workplace. These practices can be used to mitigate the stress and the effects stress has on your work performance and daily life.
Diet – In Ayurveda what we eat is key to enjoying a healthy life, such as seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables instead of those filled with preservatives. Fresh organic produce like dark leafy greens, whole grains nuts and seeds go a long way towards helping combat stress. Stress and fatigue can be caused by free radicals which can be reduced by eating foods like fresh fruits and vegetables because they are rich in antioxidants. You can also consult an Ayurvedic practitioner to receive guidance on the best diet for your dosha type to regain a healthy physical and emotional balance.
Herbs and supplements – Ayurveda recommends many herbs and natural supplements that help reduce the effects of stress and its related symptoms bringing natural relief. A few of these include brashmi, ashwagandha, amla, vacha and turmeric.
Mindfulness – Stress is also caused by anticipating problems and worrying about how a future event will turn out. Being mindful helps you focus on the current time and be aware of what you can control instead of worrying about future events. Ayurveda recommends taking a little time throughout the day for mindful breathing, self-reflection and meditation to calm and strengthen the mind.
Implementing ayurvedic practices at work
As mentioned, ayurveda teachings offer simple and practical methods to help reduce stress which can easily be adapted to the workplace environment as well, for a less stressful workspace.
Taking adequate breaks is very important as it gives your mind a break from the continuous stressful focus. Go for a quick walk outside or even a run if your work break can accommodate it. Keep a pair of walking shoes in the office so that you will be inspired to go out.
Find time to practice mindful breathing exercises or meditation. You can use a guided meditation app or just listen to some calming music. Focus on your breathing while aiming to shut out all external distractions. Five to ten minutes is enough to boost you mentally.
You can also use aromatherapy, if permitted, to create a calm vibe in your workspace. You could even spritz a calming scent such as rosewater or lavender, onto your writs or a hanky to enjoy its calming effects.
Drink herbal teas or even just warm water as the act of sipping a warm drink is calming within itself and helps to relieve stress.
Try chatting to office colleagues during breaks to help you get out of your own head and to focus on subjects that are not work-related.
Daily practices and rituals
If you are someone prone to overthinking then work-related issues will surely cause you immense stress. If you find yourself spending time anticipating the worst instead of focusing on your immediate work, then Ayurveda suggests taking a minute to breathe and then putting your mind to solving the requirement. Working on an immediate task and completing it acts as a natural mood booster so always aim to finish any tasks that can be done immediately, as it will give you a sense of control as well.
Try waking up a little earlier daily to practice yoga and meditation. It will start your day on a calmer footing. Aim to walk as much as possible even if it is within the office or going for a lunch break walk or run. Physical activity is imperative for good mental health and is known to help reduce stress. Stay hydrated and breathe deeply.
Organisational implementation of Ayurvedic practices
Organisations can adopt certain Ayurvedic practices to enhance the wellbeing of their employees such as initiating morning exercises, to promoting short breaks during the work day. Wellness initiatives such as stress management workshops that explain how to incorporate Ayurveda for natural stress and anxiety management will help employees deal with tension while also feeling valued and appreciated.
Ayurvedic practices are a simple yet effective means to reduce mental stress and thereby improve your productivity and concentration while at the workplace and in life in general. Incorporating Ayurveda practices into your daily life reduces not only workplace stress but overall stress as well.