How Stress Affects Your Well Being

No one can escape from the causes of stress in life.  Stress usually means a feeling of pressure, carrying heavy burdens, anxiety, not enough time and too much to do, problems that don’t seem to have a solution, worries, fears, or frustrations.  Our own personal problems may cause stress – financial, relationships, health issues, failures or fears; or perhaps reading the news and concerns about the environment, politics, the suffering of others can cause stress – especially if we feel helpless to change things.

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Habits can also cause stress – staying up too late, sleeping in, late eating, or eating foods not compatible with the constitution, or with unhealthy ingredients can all add to stress.  Watching unwholesome entertainment or scary movies can affect the mind, even a lot of necessary or enjoyable travel can up the stress level in the body and mind.  Living in urban environments with air, noise and light pollution can take its toll, as the human body is designed to have some silence, peaceful darkness and clean air to breathe; which we don’t always have in our lives.

Anxieties and stress, if not taken care of, can affect the health of the body and mind in several ways, depending on the individual constitution – dosha – and any imbalances we may have.  It is important to look for relief from stress or anxiety that may be building up, before it affects the health in a serious way.  Ayurveda and Yoga have many methods to unwind and clear out stresses from the body and mind that are not only simple to do, but pleasurable as well.

stressed up

Here are some ways stress can affect the health:

  • Anxiety and worries can affect the Vata dosha negatively, with physical results of possible hearing lossheart palpitations or anxiety attacks; but more subtle ill effects can include nervousness, fear, free floating anxiety, with loss of appetite, constipation or indigestion, stomach aches, or even triggering chronic Vata ailments such as arthritis. Chronic stress can aggravate fears or even phobias that can affect the heart long term and even aggravate conditions such as asthma and allergies.
  • Stress can affect the Pitta dosha with frustration, irritation and angerbecome habits; such hot emotions can cause acid indigestion, ulcers, colitis, affect the blood pressure, or cause resultant headaches and eye pain. Feelings of intolerance and anger can affect relationships negatively, causing emotional pain, and even affect the heart physically.
  • Stress can aggravate Kapha and cause depression, leading to feelings of dullness and lethargy, eating for comfort, thus causing weight gain with its associated health risks, and leading to a downward spiral of feeling helpless, hopeless or depressed. Lack of motivation caused by stress can affect the thyroid gland, cause digestion and metabolism to slow down, and even aggravate high cholesterol or blood sugar imbalances.
  • Any of the doshas can react with sexual dysfunction or female cycle problems, digestive problems, under or over active appetites, and either lack of energy, or aunpleasant feeling of pent-up energy.

Think of stress as an opportunity to improve your life rather than an insoluble problem; feeling overburdened with stress is a chance to seek for a better and more positive way to deal with anxieties or pressure.  Yoga and Ayurveda offer so many ways to not just escape from stress, but to rise above the worries, calm the mind, feel peaceful within, often with simple habits that take only minutes a day.

 

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