By and large, all of us want to de-stress with yoga, pranayam, etc. but end up wanting to rush back to the world of constant pressure once the session is done. We tend to use the session to switch off our mind and escape from the stressful thoughts that sap our life away, but end up getting more stressed when we return to the real world of worries and rushes.
We forget, or simply are unaware, that stress is not what happens to us, but is more about how we react to our surroundings. De-stressing, therefore, should mean managing our reactions to the sudden change in environment. It is futile to simply shut off our minds or mentally run away. And invariably when we get back to our daily routine or re-enter the real world, we find ourselves worse off than before.
So what is the way out? Surely not by ignoring, but by staying alert and remaining completely aware of our reaction to any situation, at all times. This is achieved by mindful meditation, practiced by Tibetan Buddhists through the centuries. The Dalai Lama is a staunch practitioner of this technique, which he has studied in great depth with the help of scientists at the University of Wisconsin.
Mindfulness meditation equips you with the ability to leverage the power of your mind. You observe and study your own mental processes, along with how they respond to stressful thoughts and behaviours.
There is no escape, and therefore, no re-entry into stress. You need to be able to inculcate the skill to observe yourself objectively, from a distance, in-order to figure out the root cause of the problem. This thought-process requires prolonged periods of training, but it is very much achievable, as proven by Dalai Lama.
Shutting your mind off and trying to escape is easier said than done. Therefore, medicinal support is available to help with this process. Ayurveda offers number of therapies for mental illness. Certain herbs, collectively called as ‘Medhyarasayana’, are used as nerve tonics in mental illness. Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Mandukparni, Shankhpushpi, Jatamansi and Yastimadhu are all proven to be useful in stress management and to stay alert. Panchkarma therapy viz. Nasya, Shirodhara, Shirobasti, Vasti and Virechana is also commonly recommended for treating mental illness.
So the next time you feel stressed, don’t shut off your mind or try to escape. Stay alert and manage your mental reaction better.