There is a great pain and anguish when you suffer in anxiety; a rollercoaster of mood swings, all-pervasive fears, and deep shadowy heavy depression. Maybe that’s you, or you may recognise someone else who suffers this pain.
If you are in any way a progressive thinker, you’ve tried your utmost to make an improvement to ‘those days’. You are familiar with practices of mindfulness. You’ve tried recommended natural products. You’ve talked to lots of people – heck you talked to the professionals too! You might have even taken big-boy pharmaceuticals promised to make a huge difference to your mental wellbeing.
Little has changed over the years. Most likely ‘those days’ are still a common feature of your life and you just cope, not allowing yourself to consider the possibility of genuinely enjoying this day. The day seeps into your week, month, year, and the heart silently weeps, in spite of the smile on your face.
You wonder if this can EVER really change… if this mind of yours can ever become a true buddy on this journey of life, and not continue to trip you up, often when you least expect it.
Ayurveda and Mental Health
Western medicine considers mental health as separate from our overall physical health. Yogic and Ayurvedic traditions see the two as inseparable.
For the last 4000 years, through self-enquiry and practice, yogis (yoga masters) and vaidyas (the ayurvedic healers), came to realise one simple but powerful fact: there can be no peace and clarity of mind, or stability of our moods, in a body experiencing disharmony, discomfort, pain or stress.
More recently even Greeks come to the same realisation – their now famous motto was:
“A healthy mind in a healthy body.”
Ancients knew that incorporating self-nurturing habits of yoga and Ayurveda into our daily routine would help heal the sick, and make those that are healthy stronger and at ease, more resilient, full of energy, and vitality.
In yoga we talk of ‘bliss’ often. It is a bliss of the mind, for sure! But it is a result of deeper levels of innate comfort emanating from the depths of our physical being. The yogis and vaidyas realised that there can be no true happiness & contentment if the body is suffering. The way we feel in our body will determine our mood.
The Power of an Ache
For instance, remember the time when you had a headache or a toothache. If one suffers in acute pain, you quickly realise how much your mood, and emotional mental wellbeing are affected.
We feel cranky, irritable, and uncomfortable – and not just in that affected body part.
Our whole being will be ‘squirming’ with discomfort, suffering greatly. And so will our mind. We’ll have difficulty concentrating or focusing our mind on little else but our pain. We’ll feel tired, exhausted in fact. We will want to avoid all unnecessary contact with others, or we may feel particularly needy and unsupported.
Isn’t it strange how a ‘small thing’ like a headache or toothache can affect our wellbeing on such a deep level?
Although, it’s quite simple and logical, when you look deeper within our body.
Everything in our body is connected via the huge web of neural pathways. Whenever one nerve fires, this whole web lights up, firing the signals of discomfort through the whole body-mind system.
Funnily enough, those instances of sudden or short-lasting pain, such as toothache or headache, are much more remarkable and memorable much more felt than the seemingly small niggling pains, aches, and discomfort. We become tolerant to low level chronic inflammatory processes, digestive imbalances, immune & hormonal disorders, circulatory issues that go on over a long period of time which seem to become a part of our backdrop.
Surviving by Dampening the Pain
Why? Well, the body-mind system just learns to settle into, and to dampen down signals of distress that are coming from affected parts and systems. The body-mind system always looks for homeostasis, that innate balance, and this is geared by our own survival mechanism.
If we learn to ignore our discomfort on the conscious level, we may be able to function – and in this case, simply plod on, for a little bit longer, hopefully.
But the pains and discomfort are still there, even when we’ve learned to dampen their signals from our immediate consciousness.
And we begin to feel low in our moods, we begin to accept this low as ‘normal’. As we continue to spiral down, we forget how it actually feels to feel great!
Or maybe we step up, and decide we will try to redress these ever-present low moods, so we try the talking therapy, or mindfulness, or pills, or supplements.
But it doesn’t work. After all these years, it still leaves us feeling down, defeated again.
Until we begin to re-balance our body and attune to our circadian rhythms all else will be an uphill struggle. Allow your body to heal the layers of discomfort – in your joints, gut, lungs, belly, skin, and all of your more subtle systems by simply adjusting the rhythm of your day.
The mind will be low, our moods betraying us: feeling stressed, grumpy, moody, tired – as our thoughts endlessly ‘catch’ onto the signals of discomfort emanating from the central channel of our nervous system. Continually creating stories & patterns that will keep us mentally spiralling down in spite of our best efforts.
That feeling of Bliss that yogis always speak of is not a concept of the mind. Bliss is the physical sensation of the calm and quiet nervous web, which then spills into the wellbeing of our mind. We feel refreshed, relaxed, at ease. Our mind becomes joyful & light. Our thoughts are filled with generosity, patience, tolerance, gentleness & peace. And our heart is steady, brave and determined, opened with the wonder that the world holds for us all.
How to HEAL YOUR MIND with the 10 Habits of Yogis
These seemingly simple practices will revolutionise the way you feel within and without! Rooted in ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, they have the power to transform your life in ways that you can’t possibly even dream of now!
Imagine sleeping well & waking up early each day, with a smile on your face, even before your alarm goes off. Having plenty of time for self-nourishment, exercise, enjoyment of nourishing foods. Plenty of time for reflection and play with your loved ones. Feeling energized, happy and joyful, no niggling aches or pains, at your optimum body weight.
As we automate our daily practice of 10 Habits, we allow our body, and particularly our nervous and hormonal systems to re-boot and heal, and by default our mood and our mind-set will change drastically.
Begin on this journey by taking little steps each day – start by simply going to bed a bit earlier.
Trust me – this was a BIGGIE for me – I always identified with being a Night Owl type – for many many years, going to bed at 2am was considered an early night here! Now I am regularly fast asleep by 10pm – catching that first and most important part of the night when our bodies detox and rebuild.
During the hours of 10pm until 2am we use the power of our internal Agni/Digestive Power to do do some serious housekeeping. When we wake up in the morning, our mind feels fresh and clear.
A TIP for better Sleep and more effective overnight detox: commit to eating a bit less and a bit earlier each evening.
On The Road to Bliss
You will soon notice that your mind feels rather chirpy and optimistic each morning. There is this lovely feeling bubbling up from the depths of your heart, making you feel very positive about the day ahead, and even the week ahead of you, without any particular cause… Just a sense of joy starting to surface and integrate itself into your daily perception.
As you deepen and automate your practices of the 10 Habits, you will soon be coasting in Bliss, your mind at ease, joyful & light, and feeling refreshed, relaxed, and brimming with deep vitality and zest for life.