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Cases of depression are on the rise around the globe. In 2017, the WHO published figures which revealed Australia’s population to have one of the highest rates of depression and anxiety disorders in the world.

Depression can have many different causes and can manifest itself in a number of different ways. Stress, major life events, medical conditions, and loneliness can all play a role. Considering the profound effect COVID-19 has had on people in the past year, mental health is something that needs to be taken seriously.

There are many different ways of coping with depression. Different coping methods will work for different people. Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” cure, and those suffering from a depressive disorder may have to try many different remedies before finding something that is truly effective for them.

Today we’ll be looking at suggestions for alternative and natural ways of coping with depression through the medium of Ayurveda.

What Is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is an ancient method of healing dating back over 3,000 years, to the Vedic period in India. Some consider it to be the oldest healing science in the world. It takes a natural and holistic approach to health, focusing on introspection, meditation, and balance.

According to Ayurveda, the body is comprised of three different types of energy or Doshas: Pitta, Vata, and Kapha. Pitta is related to the nutrition and digestion of the body, Vata is associated with the body’s natural movements, and Kapha refers to the overall structure of the physical body.

In Ayurveda, there are three main types of depression a person can suffer from, based on the three above Doshas. Pitta depression is characterised by agitation and anger. Vata depression often involves stress, restlessness and anxiety. Lethargy and general lack of motivation are two of the most common elements of Kapha depression.

Based on which type of depression a person suffers from, different remedies may be recommended. As well as the specific remedies that might be suggested, the tenets of Ayurveda themselves can also offer some useful coping skills to help with depression.

1. Encourages Mindfulness

One of the main things Ayurveda teaches is mindfulness. When a person really listens to what their heart and their mind are telling them, it is easier to seek help and to begin to heal themselves.

Meditation and introspection can help a person to be mindful of any negative thoughts they may have, and why they are having them. This is one of the first steps towards changing negative feelings to positive ones.

2. Reminds Us of the Interconnectedness of the World

Ayurveda believes in the interconnectedness of the mind, body and spirit. It also promotes the belief that humans are all connected to each other, and to the universe. In fact, the interconnectedness of the macrocosm and microcosm, or the universe and an individual person, is one of the core concepts Ayurveda is based upon.

Depression can leave sufferers feeling isolated and alone. Acknowledging how inherently connected every aspect of life is, and humans are to each other, can help to alleviate these feelings.

3. Promotes Self-Affirmation and Self Confidence

As Ayurveda takes a holistic view of wellness, it believes that part of being healthy and balanced is being self-confident. Many cases of depression can stem from a lack of confidence or self-worth.

In Ayurveda, meditation and affirmations are favored over negative self-talk and self-doubt

4. Makes Us Conscious of What We Put Into Our Bodies

Eating different types of foods to produce different physiological and emotional results is a big part of Ayurvedic teaching. Different types of food and herbs are recommended for different ailments, while some types of food are avoided completely.

Nutrition and digestion are so important for humans. They can affect our mood drastically. In fact, scientists have even found a link between depression and some bowel diseases.

5. Takes a Holistic Approach to Health

In Ayurveda, health and wellbeing are holistic, and balance is key. If one part of a person’s life or one of their Doshas is off-balance, it can lead to negative consequences in other aspects of their life.

Ayurveda encourages those who are ill or unhappy to address this negativity in all aspects of their life: mind, body and spirit, in order to make a permanent and positive change.

6. Addresses Imbalances in Energy

Ayurveda is all about energy. The energy in the world around us and the energies within us.

Through simple steps such as yoga practice, massage, changes in diet and meditation and mindfulness, Ayurveda aims to redirect and rebalance these energies for a more synergistic and harmonious existence.

7. Shirodhara

Shirodhara is an ancient Ayurvedic healing technique which involves pouring a liquid – such as oil, milk or water – over a person’s head. It is often also accompanied by a head massage. Shirodhara produces a calming and soothing effect and can be effective in treating some of the common symptoms of depression such as anxiety and stress.

8. Addresses the Different Symptoms of Depression Individually

Because Ayurveda believes there are three main types of depression, each with its own characteristics and symptoms, it also has different recommendations and remedies for each one.

Everyone’s experience with depression will be different, but being able to identify what methods might help with the specific symptoms you are suffering from can be helpful to someone who doesn’t know where to start.

9. Acknowledges Everyone Is Different

Every person is different. People have unique body types, energies and issues. In Ayurvedic medicine, any medicines, herbs, treatments, or exercises prescribed to a patient will have been done so especially with them and their unique history in mind.

An Ayurvedic consultation can help to identify energy imbalances, discover what body type a person is and allow practitioners to recommend diet or lifestyle changes to address the root cause of any negative feelings they may have.

Coping With Depression

Living with a burden such as depression can be difficult, especially without the right kind of assistance. If you feel as though you haven’t yet found effective ways of coping with depression and anxiety perhaps Ayurveda can have something to offer.

A completely natural, holistic and mindful way to deal with the untold difficulties depression can bring, Ayurveda has been healing people around the world for centuries.

If you’re interested in learning more about Ayurvedic methods of coping with depression, or you’d like to book an appointment with one of our specialists, please get in touch with us today.

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