The Ancient Science of Mood Support: Understanding the Causes of Imbalance

Mood support is an important aspect of overall well-being, and Ayurveda offers a unique perspective on how to maintain balance and support mental health. The balance of the three doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, plays a crucial role in mood support, and understanding how the doshas affect mental health can help to maintain balance and improve overall well-being.

In This Article

Mood support is an important aspect of overall well-being, and Ayurveda offers a unique perspective on how to maintain balance and support mental health. The balance of the three doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, plays a crucial role in mood support, and understanding how the doshas affect mental health can help to maintain balance and improve overall well-being.

Vata individuals tend to have a delicate nervous system, which can lead to issues such as anxiety and depression. To support Vata mood, it is important to consume warm, cooked foods and to avoid cold, raw, or dry foods. Herbs such as ashwagandha, licorice, and brahmi (gotu kola) can also be helpful in reducing anxiety and promoting overall well-being. Additionally, practicing yoga, meditation, and pranayama can help to reduce stress and promote balance in the nervous system.

Pitta individuals have a strong metabolism, which can lead to issues such as anger and irritability. To support Pitta mood, it is important to consume cooling foods such as cucumbers, melons, and mint. Herbs such as shankhapushpi, brahmi, and licorice can also be helpful in reducing heat and promoting overall well-being. Additionally, practicing yoga, meditation, and pranayama can help to reduce stress and promote balance in the nervous system.

Kapha individuals tend to have a slow metabolism, which can lead to issues such as depression and a lack of motivation. To support Kapha mood, it is important to consume light, dry, and warm foods and to avoid heavy, sweet, or cold foods. Herbs such as licorice, ginger, and tulsi can also be helpful in stimulating metabolism and reducing inflammation. Additionally, practicing yoga, meditation, and pranayama can help to reduce stress and promote balance in the nervous system.

Overall, in Ayurveda, the mind and body are seen as interconnected, and maintaining balance in the doshas is essential for promoting overall well-being. It is important to understand the unique needs of each dosha, and to make dietary and lifestyle choices that support optimal mood. Additionally, regular use of herbs can also be beneficial in reducing inflammation and promoting overall well-being.

Herbal Supplementation    

Herbs play a crucial role in Ayurvedic medicine, as they possess unique healing properties that can be used to address a wide range of health issues and bring balance to the doshas. Each dosha has unique needs when it comes to supporting mood and emotional well-being, and certain herbs can be more beneficial for each one.

Vata individuals tend to be more anxious and restless and may benefit from herbs that reduce anxiety and promote calmness. 

  • Happy Caps: a combination of Ayurvedic adaptogenic herbs that combat fatigue and worry due to stress.
  • Bacopa Boost: studied to be a brain derived neurotrophic factor that builds brain cells while supporting mood, memory, focus, and energy.
  • Brahmi-Brain: a cooling herb that supports healthy circulation, brain lymphatic drainage, longevity, and protection against stress.
  • Ashwagandha: the most well studied adaptogen able to support deep sleep while boosting daytime energy, stamina, mood, and immunity. Balances vata and kapha.

Pitta individuals tend to be easy to anger, irritate, or frustrate and may benefit from herbs that are cooling and soothing to promote a sense of inner peace.

  • Brahmi-Brain: a cooling herb that supports healthy circulation, brain lymphatic drainage, longevity, and protection against stress.
  • Bacopa Boost: studied to be a brain derived neurotrophic factor that builds brain cells while supporting mood, memory, focus, and energy.
  • Amalaki: an antioxidant berry rich in vitamin C that balances all three doshas and is well studied to support heart and cardiovascular health.

Kapha individuals tend towards lethargy, depression, attachment, and emotional insecurity. They may benefit from herbs that promote energy and reduce feelings of depression and emotional instability.

  • Ashwagandha: the most well studied adaptogen able to support deep sleep while boosting daytime energy, stamina, mood, and immunity. Balances vata and kapha.
  • Bacopa Boost: studied to be a brain derived neurotrophic factor that builds brain cells while supporting mood, memory, focus, and energy.
  • Adrenal Boost: a blend of Ayurvedic adaptogens (rhodiola, ashwagandha, ginseng, shilajit, and ginger) that build back energy reserves while paying back exhaustive energy debt. 
  • Turmeric Plus: supports healthy cardiovascular circulation and a normal inflammation response when stressed.

If you are new to taking Ayurvedic herbs or supplements, we highly recommend downloading this short free ebook to set you out on the right track from the get-go:

Dinacharya (Ayurvedic Daily Routine)

Dinacharya, or daily routine, is an important aspect of Ayurvedic medicine and can greatly support mood and emotional well-being. Some practices that can support mood and emotional well-being include:

  • Waking up early: Rising early and starting the day with a sense of freshness can help regulate the body’s circadian rhythms and improve energy levels, reducing feelings of fatigue and depression.
  • Jihwa Prakshalana (tongue scraping): Scraping the tongue can remove bacteria and toxins from the tongue, which can improve overall oral health and reduce stress levels.
  • Drinking warm water: Drinking warm water first thing in the morning can help hydrate the body and stimulate the digestive system, reducing feelings of sluggishness and fatigue. Option: add juice of ¼ lemon.
  • Gandusha (oil pulling): In the shower, swish oil around the mouth for 10-15 minutes to support a healthy mouth microbiome and protect against undesirable bacteria and gum issues. We recommend using LifeSpa’s Swish Oil Pulling Therapy.
  • Nasya (nose oiling) and Karna Purana (ear oiling): In the shower, add a few drops of LifeSpa’s Nasya Oil in the nose and ears. This is an easy way to keep the sinuses, eustachian tube, and cervical lymph lubricated, clear, healthy, and functional. 
  • Abhyanga (self-massage): Applying warm oil to the body while showering or before bathing can calm Vata, fight stress, improve circulation, and help stimulate immunity. This can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and improve overall physical and emotional well-being. We recommend using LifeSpa’s Tri-doshic Massage Oil or Lymphatic Massage Oil
  • Grounding practices: Practicing yoga, pranayama (breathing), meditation, or other forms of exercise in the morning before starting your day can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and improve overall physical and emotional well-being. Practice my One Minute Meditation up to ten times per day to help cope with stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Eating at regular intervals: Eating at regular intervals can help regulate blood sugar levels, reducing mood swings and reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. Make breakfast and lunch the main meals of the day.
  • Eating a balanced diet: Eating a diet that is balanced in terms of the six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent) can help ensure that all the necessary nutrients are being consumed and that the digestive system is functioning properly, reducing feelings of sluggishness and fatigue.
  • Avoiding eating late at night: Eating late at night can disrupt the body’s natural rhythms and negatively impact sleep patterns, potentially leading to feelings of fatigue, anxiety, and depression. 
  • Avoiding eating in front of the TV or computer: Eating while distracted can lead to overeating and poor digestion, potentially leading to feelings of sluggishness and low energy levels.
  • Get to bed early: Settle into bed early around 9:30 PM so you are asleep by 10 PM.

In Ayurveda, the daily routine, known as Dinacharya, is considered a crucial aspect for leading a fulfilling life, which is why I created the 28-Day Ayurveda Challenge. Each day in this eCourse, you will learn a new challenge to incorporate into your daily routine that relieves stress, promotes health, and quiets the mind. By the end of the Ayurveda Challenge, you will have effortlessly incorporated a daily routine that lasts for 20-30 minutes, and it will be simple, enjoyable, and impactful. You will soon experience feelings of calmness, focus, and increased energy. This daily routine will not be seen as a chore, but rather a means of reward, as the benefits far outweigh the small time investment.

Nutrition

According to Ayurveda, each dosha has specific dietary needs and practices that support mood and emotional well-being.

For Vata dosha individuals, it is important to consume warm, cooked foods that are easy to digest, such as soups and stews. Spicy, cold and dry foods should be avoided, as they can aggravate Vata. It is also beneficial to include foods that are high in healthy fats, such as cultured ghee, olive oil  and avocado, to help lubricate the digestive tract. It is recommended to eat at regular times and to chew food well. Although it is important for everyone to eat seasonally all the time, it is especially important for Vata individuals to eat seasonally during the Fall and Winter seasons when Vata individuals are at greater risk of accumulating an excess of Vata that can lead to fatigue, weak immunity, and poor sleep. 

We recommend downloading our Winter Grocery List for examples of what to eat as a Vata during this season. For Vata body types during the winter months, it is especially important they follow these Vata-balancing dietary rules:

  • Reduce foods that are pungent, bitter, and astringent or have a cold, dry, and light quality.
  • Increase foods that are sweet, sour, and salty or have a heavy, oily, and hot quality.

For Pitta dosha individuals, it is important to consume cooling foods such as fruits and vegetables. Spicy and sour foods should be avoided, as they can aggravate Pitta. It is also beneficial to include foods that are high in healthy fats, such as coconut oil, cultured ghee and flaxseeds, to help cool the digestive fire. It is recommended to eat at regular times and to chew food well. Although it is important for everyone to eat seasonally all the time, it is especially important for Pitta individuals to eat seasonally during the Summer when Pitta individuals are at greater risk of accumulating an excess of Pitta that can lead to indigestion, irritability, and skin concerns. 

We recommend downloading our Summer Grocery List for examples of what to eat as a Pitta during this season. For Pitta body types during the summer months, it is especially important they follow these Pitta-balancing dietary rules:

  • Reduce foods that are pungent, sour, and salty or have hot, dry, and light quality.
  • Increase foods that are sweet, bitter, and astringent or have a heavy, oily, and cold quality.

For Kapha dosha individuals, it is important to consume warm, light and dry foods such as salads and steamed vegetables. Heavy and oily foods should be avoided, as they can aggravate Kapha. It is also beneficial to include foods that are high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, to help keep the digestive tract moving. It is recommended to eat at regular times and to chew food well. Although it is important for everyone to eat seasonally all the time, it is especially important for Kapha individuals to eat seasonally during the Spring when Kapha individuals are at greater risk of accumulating an excess of Kapha that can lead to fatigue, sadness, congestion, and heaviness.

We recommend downloading our Spring Grocery List for examples of what to eat as a Kapha during this season. For Kapha body types during the spring months, it is especially important they follow these Kapha-balancing dietary rules:

  • Reduce foods that are sweet, sour, and salty or have heavy, oily, and cold quality.
  • Increase foods that are pungent, bitter, and astringent or have a light, dry, and hot quality.

It is important to note that these are general recommendations and it is always best to consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner to determine the best dietary plan for your individual needs.

As humans have advanced, we have grown more and more disconnected from the natural cycles and circadian rhythms which leaves many of us scratching our heads when we’re asked to eat seasonally. To help us reconnect with these rhythms, I created a free program that delivers seasonal guidance and recipes every month directly to your inbox. I call it the 3 Season Diet Guide, I highly encourage you to check it out. New research suggests that our gut microbes are meant to change seasonally with the foods we eat. Seasonal microbes optimize digestion, mood, and immunity, the way nature intended! 

Cleansing

Cleansing plays a crucial role in Ayurveda as it is aimed at purifying the body and restoring balance to its natural systems. At times, the imbalances in our doshas can become so severe that regular dietary changes, herbal remedies, and lifestyle practices are not sufficient to bring us back into balance. In such cases, a more comprehensive detoxification program, known as a cleanse, may be necessary. Cleansing can correct doshic imbalances that are negatively affecting our physical and emotional health, thereby enhancing our overall well-being. These cleanses can be performed seasonally, in Spring and Fall, or as needed to support the body’s natural cleansing processes. LifeSpa offers a wide variety of cleansing options to fit your unique needs, discover the perfect cleanse for you here.

Further Education 

Expand your knowledge by exploring these comprehensive ebooks and engaging online courses related to mood support:

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Gratefully,
Dr. John