The Ancient Science of Stress Management: Understanding the Causes of Imbalance

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

In This Article

Stress management is an important aspect of overall well-being, and Ayurveda offers a unique perspective on how to maintain balance and manage stress. The balance of the three doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, plays a crucial role in stress management, and understanding how the doshas affect stress 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 restlessness. To manage Vata stress, 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 manage Pitta stress, 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 manage Kapha stress, it is important to consume light, dry, and warm foods and to avoid heavy, sweet, or cold foods. Herbs such as turmeric, 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 stress management and certain herbs can be more beneficial for each one.

Vata individuals tend to be creative, energetic, and spontaneous but when out of balance can be more stressed, anxious, and fearful. They may benefit from herbs that soothe the nervous system and reduce anxiety.

  • 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.
  • Brahmi-Brain: a cooling herb that supports healthy circulation, brain lymphatic drainage, longevity, and protection against stress.
  • Happy Caps: a combination of Ayurvedic adaptogenic herbs that combat fatigue and worry due to stress.

Pitta individuals tend to be confident, intelligent, and motivated but when out of balance may be prone to anger, irritability, and frustration. They may benefit from cooling herbs that help calm the digestive system and reduce their natural heat.

  • Brahmi-Brain: a cooling herb that supports healthy circulation, brain lymphatic drainage, longevity, and protection against stress.
  • Tulsi Holy Basil: balances vata and kapha as a nervous system tonic for memory, focus, and stress.
  • Bacopa Boost: studied to be a brain derived neurotrophic factor that builds brain cells while supporting mood, memory, focus, and energy.

Kapha individuals tend to be calm, compassionate, and stable but when out of balance can be prone to depression, sluggishness, and apathy. They may benefit from energizing herbs to stimulate circulation and boost energy levels.

  • Turmeric Plus: supports healthy cardiovascular circulation and a normal inflammatory response when stressed.
  • 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.

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 stress management. Some practices that can reduce stress include:

  • Waking up early: Rising early and starting the day with a sense of freshness can help regulate the body and mind, and improve overall mood.
  • Jihwa Prakshalana (tongue scraping): Scraping the tongue can remove bacteria and toxins from the tongue, which can support a healthy mouth microbiome and overall oral health.
  • Drinking warm water: Drinking warm water first thing in the morning can help stimulate the body and flush out toxins. 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 support overall health. 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 regulate the body and mind and improve overall mood. 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 the body’s natural rhythms and prevent overeating or undereating, which can impact mood and overall health. 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 while supporting overall health and mood.
  • Avoiding eating late at night: Eating late at night can disrupt the body’s natural rhythms and negatively impact mood and overall health.
  • Avoiding eating in front of the TV or computer: Eating while distracted can lead to overeating and poor digestion, which can negatively impact mood and overall health.
  • 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 stress management.

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 stress management:

The Ayurvedic Guide to the Best Sleep of Your Life (free eBook)

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