Struggling with Anxiety and/or Depression?

anxiety ayurveda depression imbalance medicinal food meditation mindset sensory sleep vitality circle Jul 31, 2022

In the past, I have struggled immensely with anxiety, sometimes with depression, and even had a couple of panic attacks when I was in college.

I was medicated for anxiety for a short time in my mid 30's which caused all sorts of other health issues for me.

This is all to say that anxiety and depression are something I understand, and they are not uncommon.

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that “an estimated 31% of US adults experience an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives." This number has significantly increased in the past two years, during the Covid pandemic and global/social unrest. We know from modern Western medical research that antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs significantly disrupt the gut microbiome AND that a healthy microbiome is important for balanced brain chemistry. None of the drugs currently in use today were designed for long-term use, yet they are prescribed as long-term solutions.

It wasn't until I found Ayurveda and learned about my constitution that I began to understand how anxiety stems from too much of the light, dry, and mobile (Vata) qualities that affected my nervous system and impacted everything I had going on in my life.

Some examples of what creates anxiety:

  •   Lack of routine (sometimes skipping meals, taking on too many projects and not planning how they would all get done)
  •   Irregular sleep patterns (sleeping in and staying up late).
  •   Eating too many cold, raw, dry, or crunchy foods and snacking in between meals
  •   Not cultivating nourishing breathing = not exhaling enough
  •   Eating refined sugar and processed vegetable oils
  •   Overloading my senses (sounds, lights, etc and multitasking)

With guidance and support from coaches and a dynamic community of other health seekers, I was able to get off of the meds and learn how to understand my body's signals that my nervous system was about to go into overwhelm mode.

These days, I have so many tools. It doesn't mean I don't ever experience anxiety or depression, but when I do, I am able to tend to it through practices like:

  •   Sticking to routines and scheduling time to get specific tasks done, so I don’t get overwhelmed
  •   Making sure I get regular sleep, going to bed before 10pm and waking before 6am
  •   Eating warm, cooked foods at 3 regular mealtimes daily, and avoiding snacking
  •   Avoiding refined sugars and processed oils
  •   Doing breath work - anything that involves deepening the breath and focusing on exhalation
  •   Meditating at the start of the day
  •   Being mindful of not overstimulating my senses with sound, light, multitasking, etc.

These guidelines are derived from the wisdom of Ayurveda. I wish that all doctors knew to turn to these dietary and lifestyle tools before prescribing medications.  Meds often lead people seeking relief from suffering into a cycle of dis-ease because of the long term affect of the medications. Drugs can be helpful short term, but they are not long term solutions. This is why I am so passionate about empowering women to heal using diet and lifestyle changes, within the container of a supportive and evolutionary community. I have seen profound changes in myself ,as well as with the women I work with in the Vitality Circle who have also struggled with anxiety and depression. 

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