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There is a reason why autumn is called Fall in many Western countries. With the golden days of summer behind us and cold winter setting in, we start longing for the warmth of summer and also develop some form of depressive thoughts. Instead of taking medication to cope with this type of depression, it is better to improve your general health based on your Ayurvedic constitution, or prakruti, and your dosha (combination) during each season.
An ancient wellness system, Ayurveda, offers a unique perspective on seasonal depression. Stress, anxiety, and depression are worldwide concerns, but seasonal variations can make them worse.
It's normal to feel stressed and blue sometimes. But if you always feel this way during the fall months, you may have a seasonal affective disorder that requires professional help.
Because of the lack of sunlight in winter, many people develop a form of depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Ayurveda recognizes this effect and advises specific regimes during different seasons, as well as special cleansing processes at the beginning of each season. While it might be too much for us in the West to follow these suggestions exactly, there are many things we can do to help us cope with our long and dark winters.
The key to beating autumn depression is to remember that it happens to you during that weather. The lack of sunlight creeps up on you and hits you in October and November, by then you wish you'd put some things in place earlier.
Generally, depression is treated using prescription medications that alter the amount of serotonin in the brain and psychotherapy that teaches you to recognize negative thoughts, develop positive coping skills, and explore unresolved issues from the past.
Ayurveda uses the behavioral science model to explain how different bodies and minds are affected by the qualities of nature. Ayurveda divides these energies into three types: doshas. Each person has a unique genetic makeup, or constitution, which accounts for many differences in our looks, feelings, and behaviors; however, it can be easily disturbed by environmental factors, stress, and improper diet.
The three doshas are;
Autumn depression affects different people in different ways. The dosha that is most likely to be out of balance is our predominant one, but various factors in our lives may make another one go out of balance.
There are three distinct types of depression, corresponding to the three doshas. Those suffering from depression can be classified according to their primary dosha; if their dosha(s) are out of balance, they may also experience depression as a secondary symptom.
common and longest-lasting type of depression--due to the inherently slow-moving nature of Kapha dosha. During this condition, Ayurveda suggests moving more to increase vitality and remove toxicity.
Pitta depression is more agitated than a Vata- or Kapha-type depression. It is characterized by frustration, anger, irritability, and impulsivity. Pitta depression can be eased by cooling, soothing techniques.
Vata depression is a combination of anxiety and depression. It is characterized by worry, restlessness, insomnia, and a lack of grounding. A person with Vata depression usually has an overload of the stress hormone cortisol.
A characteristic feature of Vata depression is—an overactive mind that can't rest or shut off thoughts. Grounding, warming, and soothing are essential practices for healing Vata depression.
A way to manage depression is to establish healthy routines. These include waking at the same time as the sun rises, avoiding rushing and anxiety, and eating fresh, chemical-free food that's well prepared. Sattvic spices such as ginger, cardamom, and basil help open the mind and heart. Herbal formulas can help you grow and heal.
Also, pranayama, the practice of controlling breath, is the best way to increase prana. This is a powerful technique for dealing with depression.
If you are experiencing the "blues" in autumn, it is essential to see a professional who can help you deal with the changes of the season. With the Ayurvedic approach and lifestyle modifications, your depression can be managed to lead a happier life.
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