Life gets us all down at times. We all have days when we aren’t feeling our best. Sometimes it is hard to see the silver lining in a situation and random mood swings might make it hard to cope with the harsh realities of life. It’s okay to feel sad or upset at times. It isn’t a big deal if those moments are fleeting.
However, if you find yourself feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness or general dissatisfaction with life and the feeling seems to last for really long periods of time, then it might be indicative of a much larger, underlying issue. When those feelings prevail for extended periods to the point it starts to interfere with your day-to-day activities, it implies that you might be depressed. A mood disorder that can significantly disrupt your daily life and make it difficult for you to carry out simple tasks or function normally, depression is a major mental health issue that more than 250 people in the world suffer from, irrespective of age.
Whether it is the pressures and demands from work, a toxic relationship, or a turbulent domestic atmosphere, a depressed mindstate can be caused by a variety of factors.
The following are a few symptoms that indicate a person might be going through depression:
- Feelings of anger, irritability, restlessness
- Feeling hopeless, worthless, or empty.
- Losing interest in your favorite activities.
- Getting tired easily
- An inability to concentrate
- Experiencing difficulty in completing tasks owing to a general sense of apathy
- Restless sleep patterns
- Hereditary factors such as a family history of depression or similar mood disorders may put you at risk of developing a depressive illness.
- Environmental factors such as Early childhood trauma and your living circumstances can affect the way you react to certain stressful events.
- Medical conditions like Chronic illnesses, insomnia, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, are all risk factors.
- low self-esteem
- A personal history of mental illness
- Stressful events such as economic problems or the loss of a loved one.
- An imbalance of hormones and neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.
The Ayurvedic perspective on Depression
According to Ayurveda, nature is made up of three Gunas (qualities or principles). They are psychic energies known as sattva(tranquil energy) ,rajas(active energy) and tamas(inertia or dullness). The food you consume may have one or more of these Gunas in different proportions. They end up affecting your body’s basic constitution of sattva, rajas and tamarisk energies.
In Ayurveda, depression is characterized by a reduced sattvik energy and an increase in the rajasik and tamasik energies along with an imbalance in the body’s three life forces, namely: Vata, pitta, and Kapha. It is mainly attributed to a weakened Ojas (the refined and subtle essence of a physically healthy body which is a manifestation of toxin-free, positive energy) which will disturb the Prana Vayu (associated with respiration, the flow of breath and oxygenation) a sub dosha of Vata that is responsible for the maintaining health and the proper functioning of the mind. When the prana vayu is disturbed, it fails to stimulate the mind.
Lack of energy, absent-mindedness, sluggish movements, low self-esteem is all indicative of a weakened ojas. Apathy, sadness, and despair, on the other hand, indicate an imbalance in the body’s rajasik and tamasik energies.
Managing depression through Ayurveda
Ayurveda advises therapies, lifestyle changes, and herbal medication to clear the mind of all toxic mentalities and imbibe a positive outlook towards life. The following are a few diet and lifestyle changes that Ayurveda recommends to help combat depression:
- Waking up early in the morning, avoiding late nights.
- Do physical exercises, play games and engage in outdoor activities to keep your mind occupied and inclined towards a positive state.
- Maintain regular meal times
- Eat fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables
- Maintain a calm and relaxed atmosphere during meal times. Don’t get into heated discussions or arguments while you’re eating.
- Yoga, Pranayama (a breathing exercise) and meditation are all effective things you can do to enhance your mental and physical strength.
2 Home Remedies to help lighten your mood.
- A teaspoon of asparagus powder with half a teaspoon of honey and a glass of warm milk is a great brain tonic that can help uplift your mood.
- Having a teaspoon of licorice root powder with water in an empty stomach in the morning is a great remedy that can improve your mental state. It is known as mind rejuvenator (Medha Rasayana).