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Ayurveda and Depression

More than 19 million adults in the United States alone suffer from depression.  Women are affected twice as often as men, especially after childbirth and during menopause.  Some people experience depression during the winter months when there is less light.  Others can feel depressed during stressful times.  Depression manifests in many different ways, including insomnia, social withdrawal, weight fluctuation, and feelings of low self-worth.  Ayurveda says that the heart is the seat of consciousness, and that the main cause of an emotional imbalance like depression is the inability to process emotions.  When we can process emotions quickly, then we can let go of them and move on.  When the process takes too long, then that negative feeling remains and has an effect on our other thoughts and emotions, leaving us feeling depressed.  That’s why even when things are going well in the present, if we didn’t completely heal from past pain, we can still feel depressed.  What can we do about this?  We need to raise our “Sadhaka Agni” - the fire that helps us to process emotions.  Meditation is vital to this because it helps to dissolve stresses from the past and to also become more resilient to current stresses.  Sleep during prime sleep hours is also important – in Ayurveda is it recommended that we get to bed by 10 pm and wake up at 6 am.  Take a walk outside in the morning sun and breathe deeply.  Exercises elevates the mood and the energy of the sun is beneficial for everyone.  Eliminate every morning, as constipation can cause or aggravate depression.  Drink plenty of water and eat meals at the same time each day, with lunch being the largest meal of the day.  Eat fresh, wholesome foods that are balancing for your dosha.  Abhyanga, a daily sesame oil self-massage, helps to calm the mind and soothe the emotions.  And most importantly, surround yourself with loving people.  Choose friends who are positive and supportive and who also follow a healthy lifestyle routine.

Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way: Creating Happiness with Meditation, Yoga, and Ayurveda

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