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Is there anyone among us who can confidently claim that they are stress free? Not likely. It is, in fact, a part and parcel of our daily lives. From relationship hassles to professional upheavals, stress forces its way into each of our lives, affecting our health and relationships in profound ways.
In holistic terms, stress is a state of agitation, which can end up impacting everything, from our daily decisions to our health. Most modern diseases like hypertension, diabetes, autoimmunity and cancer are born out of this agitated state of mind. In our ancient Indian system of healing, Ayurveda, stress is known as sahasa, and Charaka, an ancient exponent of Ayurvedic medicine, had warned us about the debilitating effects of stress, even before modern medical science did.
Ayurveda suggests some ways in which we can mitigate devastating effects of stress, on a day-to-day basis. These simple, everyday tips can be incorporated in our daily routine to take some edge of stress.
Starting the day
The way you start your day dictates how the day will unfold. So ensure you begin the day on a good note. Instead of reaching out for your smart phone to check angry emails from your clients, sit upright on your bed cross-legged and chant your favourite mantra. If you don't feel like chanting, you could simply meditate for a couple of minutes. Meditation has been known to found to be beneficial in reducing stress. With your mind fully relaxed, you are now ready to face the world.
Flush out the toxins
Once you are up, what you need first thing in the morning is an internal cleanse. And no one is better at the job that our little friend the lemon. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a glass and add some warm water to it. Sip on this slowly and feel the refreshing drink cleanse your system from within. Ayurveda says citrus fruits like the lemon contain antioxidants that can target the damage-causing free radicals in your system.
Your morning cuppa
Admit it. The best part of waking up is the steaming cup of chai waiting for you on the table. Ayurveda says you can add these two ingredients to enhance your chai's stress-busting properties: clove and ginger. These two are staples in the Indian household and have been prized for their free-radical fighting qualities that reduce oxidative stress in the body. By adding a piece each of ginger and a clove, you can supersize the anti-inflammatory powers of your humble cup of tea.
Take a refreshing bath
A warm bath is great for relaxing your frayed nerves and releasing some of the pent up tension in your system. But for ultimate relaxation, Ayurveda suggests adding a cup of ginger powder to your bathwater. Ginger has been traditionally known to encourage circulation and detoxification. If you have a bathtub, add it directly to the water and soak in it. Alternatively, you can also add it to a bucket of warm water and bathe with it.
There is no need to stress on the importance of a nutritious diet. But no matter how healthy the food, sometimes you could experience gastric issues like indigestion. When food is not digested right, it releases toxic waste products or ama into your blood stream and ama can be bad news for your health. What you need is a digestive aid like carom seeds or ajwain. Chew on some seeds after a heavy lunch to ensure digestion takes place properly.
Conventional wisdom says that a healthy individual should drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. Although water is great on its own, why don't we turn it into an antioxidant-rich super drink? Steep few bruised leaves of tulsi in your water and drink the liquid throughout the day. According to Ayurveda, you will be supplying your body with powerful antioxidants that fights oxidative stress throughout the day. You could also add a dash of lemon juice to your water. You can also replace your chai with tulsi tea. Less caffeine is always good.
Breathe in relaxation, breathe out stress
Eucalyptus or nilgiri has a lot of amazing health benefits, one of which is aiding relaxation. Inhale a few drops of nilgiri oil or add it to your diffuser. The entire room will smell of this fragrant herb, setting the perfect atmosphere for you to unwind after work.
Ending the day
Ideally, you should end your day exactly the way you began it with meditation. Before you hit the sack, avoid binge watching shows till late in the night or check your work mails at home. Instead, sit cross-legged on your bed with your back straight in padmasana or sukhasana and meditate for ten minutes. You could also chant your favourite mantra or meditate for a while. When you lie down to sleep, your mind will be relaxed and your body will be clean.
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