Cleanse The Mind’s Palate

Photo by Ina RH on Unsplash

Do you often wish that you can make the mind completely fresh and new?

It seems as though it is filled with so many thoughts and impressions.

Some are truly our thoughts but majority are impression left behind by the content we consume and what we are exposed to in our environments.

The mind does not take long to get dirty, specially in this chaotic digital era.

Our minds need more cleansing than do our bodies, in fact it should be cleansed multiple times during the day.

At least this feels true to me.

There are many ways to cleanse the mental palate.

Some that I found to work are:

Meditation – It is just a simple act of taking the attention away from the mind and into the rising and falling of the abdomen (as a result of the breath). This does not mean that the mind will not generate thoughts, but rather your energy and attention will not be drained by the mind during meditation. So the thoughts generated by the mind will be less. Its that awareness that the mind is just another organ like the heart and we do not need to get fixated on it. And in fact you begin to realize that thoughts are very random and discrete the way they happen. You realize that it is not a narrative reciting your life story on the background.

Grounding is another a great tool. Just spending time outside in nature seems to clear the mind. The research has now been found that its due to the electrical nature of our bodies. We need to ground our system to get the electrical balance back into the body. There is a movie that covers all the science behind this on you tube, which I stumbled upon and was really fascinated.

Ocean – Spending time near the ocean has always been really calming and relaxing to me. This goes for bathing in salt water too. I am not sure what the science behind this is. But it seems calm the mind and cleanse the body from pent up emotions.

Mantra/ Affirmations – Certain sounds seem to have a calming effect on the mind. There are certain ancient mantras that people recite to calm there minds and bodies. The sound vibrations are said to affect the water molecules in the body. Water is highly affected by vibrations as they have proven with many experiments. The very structure of the water molecules seems to change based on what it is been exposed to. So this is another tool. I find that it is quite effective. This is a common practice that is followed in the vedic tradition.

People have gotten used to escaping into their minds when the outer world is not so pleasant. Additionally , there is now another escape in the way of social media and content online which adds further content to the mind.

So it has become a necessity to cleanse the mind multiple times a day.

I know that people who are in the habit of praying multiple times a day automatically do this.

But the others need to make a conscious effort. It needs to become part of the daily routine for many people to get the mind back into balance.

I know that I need to do this. Being a compulsive thinker and analyser, I need to use one of the tools above often to get a sense of peace.

Thanks for reading~~

Managing stress through an Ayurvedic life style

Over the years, I keep going back to Ayurveda every time I become overwhelmed with stress. Because I never kept this life style going for more than a few months, I am always reminded again and again each time I go back, how import this system has been for me to help me identify my unique stress symptoms and the life style changes that help me manage them.

Ayurveda is the ancient medical system of India which is over 2000 years old. It treats each individual based on their unique body type. Unlike our modern systems of treatment, in Ayurveda, two people with the same symptoms may not be treated in the same way. The focus is also on getting to the root of the problem more so than treating symptoms. What I am mostly fascinated with is the lifestyle management aspect of Ayurveda.

In Ayurveda, there are three basic body types which are called doshas which means qualities. Each dosha has its own unique characteristics under normal circumstances and also display unique symptoms during stress. The three body types are known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Doshas and Stress Symptoms

Vata body type is governed by air and ether. This body type tends to be slimmer, taller, drier specially the hair and skin, cold, easily stimulated, like movement, agile, has an active mind, fearful, restless, lively, easily changeable and talkative. When stressed all the above qualities become more extreme. The person experience more dryness, coldness and lack of appetite. Their minds start to raise and become hyper analytical. This often leads to anxiety and insomnia. Not only that, their minds become spacious and they may even experience disassociation from their bodies. They can become very fearful and often resort to fleeing their situations and circumstances.

Pitta type is governed by the elements fire and water. This body type tends to be medium build, strong, active, goal orientated, sharp, easily angered, impatient, intelligent, like being in control, make good planners and executers, have hot skin and thick hair and like physical activity. When stressed their body type experience anger, impatience, skin reactions like rashes and become super focused on achieving goals. They can become like fighters when stressed.

Kapha type is governed by the element water and earth. This body type tend to be bigger in built and has a tendency to hold on to moisture and mucus, kind and loving by nature, can be stubborn, slow to anger but once angered hard to recover, can remember things for a long time once learnt, move with slow grace, like to stay with their community and what is comfortable, responsible and have good stamina. When stressed, this body type become even slower preferring to just do nothing, can become sulky, can stress eat and put on weight, can become insecure and envious, start preferring sweets and stop physical activity all together.

A person can be one or two or in rare cases all three of the above body types at birth. This is said to be their body type in normal circumstances. But throughout our life, as we loose balance we develop negative qualities of our doshas. We may even develop qualities of another dosha when external circumstance change in some cases. The whole aim of ayurveda is to get back to our normal state using food, herbs and other life style changes. Often this involves cultivating the qualities of the opposite dosha to what you are showing symptoms of.

Stress Management

Vata type needs to cultivate Kapha and Pitta qualities to get back into balance. This means slowing down, staying rather than fleeing, trying to get involved in the community, showing love to one self and others, increase hot qualities in the body and manage anxiety and insomnia. Some lifestyle changes they can adapt include meditation and yoga each morning to manage anxiety and to become slower, use mantras to do with self love/community/belonging each morning, eat heavier root vegetables, avoid cold food, incorporate some spice in the food for heat, introduce fatty food for lubrication, do warm oil massage, introduce a routine and stick to it which will help ground the vata person.

Pitta type needs to cultivate more Kapha and Vata type qualities to get back into balance. This means meditating to avoid angry thoughts, do loving kindness meditation to develop acceptance towards others, eat light, cold and sweet food like salad, fruit and smoothie, swim for a intense yet calming physical activity and take time to just relax.

Kapha body type needs to cultivate Vata and Pitta type qualities to get back into balance. This means eating warm and spiced food to heat up the body and to cut the build up of mucus, introduce more physical activity to generate more heat in the body and more mental stimulation, try new things and move out of their comfort zone more to overcome insecurity and allow Vata and Pitta friends to take them to new places.

The above is just a very brief description of the body types and different lifestyle recommendation I learnt from reading on the internet and reading some books. Personally I found that knowing all three qualities and what to do for each is helpful as our bodies change seasonally and through out life. But our doshas at birth will always dominate through out our lives. For me this tends to be mostly Vata followed by Pitta. So for me, most of my lifestyle choices needs to be focused on cultivating Khapa type qualities. But more recently I experienced a Kapha imbalance initially triggered by medications. So it takes some awareness and paying attention to the current needs of the body to adapt our lifestyles to suit the current conditions.

I found this to be such a great way to tailor a lifestyle for my unique nature. Though given my vata nature I struggle to stick to routines, I still feel most balanced when I follow a lifestyle according to what’s prescribed for my constitution/body type.

I am hoping that this time I will continue with this lifestyle and I will still allow my self some time for my vata/pitta nature each day so I don’t loose the routine.

~~Thanks for reading~~

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash