These are uncertain and challenging times. It is probably the first time where all of humanity, in every corner of the world, is collectively affected. The most difficult aspect is the lack of clarity about the future. Everybody is anxious—from children to seniors—about health, money, travels, and much more.
Thoughts and emotions affect everyone, but how you respond to them can vary. Ayurveda talks about different mind-body types, called doshas, and how, depending on your type, you process and react to stress. This is what stress can do to you depending on your type:
- Vatas (or air predominant) can get anxious very easily. They can become fearful, restless, sleepless, and terribly worried.
- Pittas (or fire predominant) can get angry, petty, agitated, impatient, and overly critical.
- Kaphas (or water predominant) can become lazy, dull, heavy, depressed, and depleted of energy.
Now, imagine you have all of these mind-body types living under one roof in quarantine—it can heighten stress levels substantially!
However, there are specific positive emotional antidotes you can use. For example, you can combat fear with trust or faith, anger with love, and depression with motivation. These positive emotions, along with affirmations, can help to alter your mindset and make you feel relaxed and purposeful. Here are some ideas for you to check out during these trying times.
Meditation is great for mental health and well-being and can help relieve stress. Different doshas respond to the same meditation technique differently, but all enjoy the benefit of it. For example:
- Vatas can feel supported by the higher self or divine and are less anxious and fearful after meditation. They feel the presence of grace, which helps to restore their faith during uncertain times.
- Pittas can feel the love and stability during a situation that is beyond their control after meditation. They can willingly surrender in the “gap” and feel calm and content.
- Kaphas can feel the ever-changing energy of consciousness that lifts their depression and allows them to feel uplifted and motivated after meditation.
Breath is the link between the individual and collective consciousness. It can help you deal with the fight-freeze-flight mode. Practice two minutes of deep diaphragmatic breathing several times a day.
Practicing a conscious breathing exercise (pranayama) is a great way to link your mind with your body. Pranayama can help soothe a restless Vata’s mind, an impatient Pitta’s mind, and a heavy Kapha’s mind.
3. Accept the Wheel of Time
What goes around, comes around. For example, if you are worried about money, trust that it will get better. It is the cycle of nature. Even though space-time is an illusion it does affect the mind-body types differently. For example:
- Vatas tend to be more futuristic, thinking and worrying about the future.
- Pittas tend to stay present and overly focused.
- Kaphas often lament about things in the past.
Consciously slowing down the pace of life by meditating helps the dosha types learn to be present. They appreciate the present moment and do not feel anxious about the past or future. It may take a few more months to normalize these uncertain times, but be aware of and grateful for what you have right now. Conserve your resources and get ready for a new future with a better understanding of your finances and priorities in life.
4. Connect with Friends & Family
Humans are social beings, and Vatas especially, like to be touched and hugged. It calms their mind and makes them feel connected. Vatas like sunshine, bright colors, and a variety of experiences. Pittas enjoy sports, competition, and greenery. Kaphas enjoy the warmth outside, gardening, and lifting weights. Physical movements have a calming and relaxing effect on each mind-body type. If this activity is done with friends and in groups, it can be even more motivating and fun.
It is important to stay connected with your core group of friends, family, and loved ones who know you well and can provide unconditional love. Chat with them, laugh, share, and go down memory lane with them to get a better perspective on how far you have come with people who have watched you succeed. When life is stressful, it is great to be able to lean into your support group.
5. Feel Your Feelings
Your feelings are genuine. Your dosha-specific mind can generate thoughts, feelings, and emotions that affect your physiology instantly. Vatas’ minds are worried, anxious, and fearful when under stress. Pittas’ minds can be impatient, irritable, and reckless in a situation that is beyond their control. Kaphas’ minds may feel dull, heavy, and unmotivated.
Do not be afraid to share your feelings with others and even yourself. It is always a good idea to release the emotional pressure and gain insight into what you are feeling. When you talk to someone, you can replace feelings of helplessness with uplifting feelings of motivation.
Give others what you want for yourself. All dosha types respond best when they feel valued, appreciated, and grateful. When you give, it comes back to you. If you want to feel less anxious, help someone else calm down. If you listen to others and their needs, counsel them, provide them with resources, or simply try to understand their pain, you will feel calm, content, and relaxed. It is human nature.
7. Avoid Unwanted Clutter
Information is everywhere. News channels, conspiracy theories, and internet rumors sap your peace of mind and vitality. Vatas tend to easily and quickly reach information overload, Pittas can get very logical and overanalytical when overstimulated, and Kaphas can feel overwhelmed and depressed with confusing information. Replace the information clutter with something that you like—a favorite movie, music, or an inspiring Ted Talk.
The same goes for your physical space too. Clutter in your home, can lead to clutter and anxiety in your mind. During the stay-at-home order, it is even more important to keep a tidy dwelling since that is where you will be 24/7.
8. Avoid Nonessential Shopping
Shopping can be addictive. Vatas especially can get very tempted with various websites, sales, and promotions. Pittas can spend hours comparing products. Kaphas can get possessive and start hoarding things. Try not to buy anything that you do not need for now. Minimize unwanted financial burden by being selective and prudent.
9. Move Your Body
Keep yourself active. Physical movements help you unwind and relax. Practicing sun salutations, jogging, lifting weights, or enjoying some other fun-filled activity all help to improve your circulation. Vatas respond well to slow movements like Yoga or Tai Chi. Pittas tend to prefer cardio, weight, and sports. Kaphas may benefit from slow, long-distance hikes, cardio, and sauna.
10. Believe in the Divine
Every dosha needs to establish a connection with the Divine. It makes Vatas feel supported, it deflates the egos of Pittas, and helps Kaphas feel uplifted and motivated. Believe in something bigger and better than yourself. A deity, guru, spiritual teachings, or prayer that connects you with a greater field of consciousness and allows you to rise above the present crises with the wisdom of eternity.
Understanding your mind-body type and cultivating a positive lifestyle are great ways to help you maintain calm during these uncertain times. You should try to fill your day with mindful activities, positive affirmations, and extra emphasis on diet, sleep, and exercise.