Long-term emotional balance is key for health and happiness. Ayurveda’s approach is to balance Sadaka Agni—the processing of emotions.
Whether you’re born with low Sadhaka Agni or whether you’ve acquired it through poor diet, lifestyle or behavior, the solution is the same: to restore balance by lifestyle changes that nourish wellness. This is done by adopting an Ayurvedic diet, use of Ayurvedic herbals, routines, lifestyle and more.
Meditation for emotional balance
One of the best tools for emotional balance is transcendence through meditation. Transcendence is a word that refers to the experience of the most settled state of human consciousness.
Scientific research shows this is a state characterized by deep physical rest, mental stillness and pronounced balance. Research also shows that the repeated experience of this state in meditation infuses both mind and body with its qualities, and that these qualities begin to grow and endure in our day-to-day life.
Transcendental Meditation® is well known by researchers in this particular regard. Other meditation practices may also be useful to reduce stress. What is paramount is that whatever meditation technique one practices, it brings the mind to the subtler states of awareness until it transcends any mental activity (thoughts) and experiences the silent settled field of awareness, the most subtle awareness or consciousness.
The experience of this deeply settled state dissolves stress from the past and builds resilience to daily stresses. Through the regular experience of transcendence, one contacts the source of pure intelligence, pure bliss, pure Sattva within.
Over time the mind and body retain (remember) this experience, so even when we are confronted with the changes and losses of life, we are able to identify more with the eternal, unchanging state of transcendence.
In Ayurvedic terms this silent state is known as Atma or Self. This state is important for emotional healing because its nature is deep stillness, and it cannot be overwhelmed by daily ups and downs. Through repeated experience, this state of completely quiet consciousness becomes stabilized in both mind and body.
The habit of returning to this blissful state of rest and balance again and again helps emotional stresses to be dissolved or processed. In other words, the practice of meditation allows us to process emotional stress more quickly and helps prevent low moods.
15 Lifestyle practices to balance emotions
1. Practice an effective stress-reducing, quieting meditation
To relieve emotional, physical, mental and environmental stress.
2. Get on a good bedtime routine
Try to turn out the light before 10 p.m. Having a good routine and getting enough rest is essential for emotional health. Falling asleep during the Kapha time of night (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) generates a deep, restful sleep that truly refreshes mind and body. If we stay up beyond 10:00 p.m., after the Pitta time of night (10 p.m. to 2 a.m.) starts, we are likely to have more trouble falling asleep and possibly tend toward other behaviors that can be unhealthy, such as turning on the TV or eating snacks, both leading to more issues with sleep deprivation.
Lack of rest is tied to a myriad of physical and emotional health issues. High-quality sleep is a powerful Ayurvedic emotional healer, and a first line of defense against emotional imbalances.
3. Wake up with the rising sun
Waking up early is critical to preventing feelings of sadness, because sleeping during the late morning, after 6:00 a.m. (into Kapha time of morning, from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m.), causes the build-up of ama (toxins in the body), leading to the shrotas or channels of communication in the body clogging with impurities. This can lead to dullness of mind, depressed moods and slow communication between heart and mind.
4. Walk outdoors when the sun is rising and breathe deeply
Daily exercise is essential to combat unhappiness, because exercise helps move blocked emotions and hormones out of the body. It increases the power of agni, our strength of digestion, and helps improve digestive processing power. Exercise also releases positive neurohormones, elevating mood and positive thoughts.
The early morning sun adds an extra boost, because you become infused with the positive energy of the sun when it is at its most sattvic time that is most beneficial for all body types. Walking is one of the ideal exercises, according to Ayurveda, and doing so in the morning is ideal.
5. Make sure elimination takes place each morning
Occasional constipation can cause head discomfort, dullness, fatigue and feelings of sadness. If your elimination is sluggish or blocked, start your day with cooked apples, prunes and figs. Taking Organic Triphala Rose every evening and, in more extreme cases, two Herbal Cleanse capsules at night before bed will help greatly.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Eat your meals at the same time each day, with the main meal between noon and 1 p.m. and a lighter meal in the evening. The early morning walk will go a long way to supporting regular elimination.
6. Don't resist natural urges
According to Charaka Samhita, one of the ancient definitive texts of Ayurveda, it is unhealthy to suppress urine, bowel movements, semen, gas, vomit, sneezing, belching, yawning, hunger, thirst, crying, sleep and accelerated breathing due to exertion.
The Charaka Samhita states, "The above natural urges should not be suppressed when already manifest and they should not be forcefully stimulated when non-manifest. In other words, don't suppress them and also don't try to force them to happen. Resisting or artificially stimulating natural urges causes an imbalance in the doshas, and can contribute to anxious feelings and emotional imbalance.
7. Eat intelligent foods
These are unprocessed, organic foods and contain more of nature's intelligence. They are digested quickly by the body and create ojas. According to Ayurveda, ojas is the essential energy of the body that is equated with the substance of life. Ojas is the product of good digestion that creates bliss, stable emotions and good health in the body.
Eat intelligent proteins such as soaked seeds and nuts with raisins; paneer (fresh cheese); and Ayurvedic buttermilk or digestive lassi rather than yogurt, as these lighter drinks do not increase Kapha and are better for lightening emotions. Please note that Ayurvedic buttermilk is not the same as the buttermilk you buy in the store.
8. Spices such as black pepper help to enhance medhya agni
Black pepper is a Medhya agni herb, meaning they improve coordination between different functions of the mind. Other spices promote digestion and balance the emotions.
9. Avoid eating "unintelligent" or junk food
Avoid leftovers as well as canned, frozen or packaged foods, as these are not fresh and tend not to enhance creation of ojas. Rather, they may promote the creation of ama, the sticky waste-product of incomplete digestion that blocks our microcirculatory channels (shrotas).
Ama slows Sadhaka Agni and blocks the communication between heart and mind, causing negative emotions to be stored in the body instead of being released. If the shrotas, or channels, are clear, negative emotions and stress can be processed more easily and released quickly.
10. Give yourself a daily abhyanga (Ayurvedic oil massage)
Abhyanga massage has many benefits: it increases circulation, allows toxins to be cleared from the tissues, invigorates the body, calms the mind and soothes the emotions. The sense of touch is associated with emotions, and even if you are massaging yourself you are giving your skin, the largest tactile organ in your body, the stimulation needed to balance Vata dosha and calm anxious feelings and stress.
For your massage oil, consider using Youthful Skin Massage Oils for Men and Women. Follow your massage with a warm bath to flush out the toxins that have been pushed out from the cells with the massage.
11. Consider moderate exercise in addition to your half-hour walk in the early morning sun
It's important to include Vedic exercise such as yoga asanas in your schedule. Yoga asanas promote digestion, stimulate the Sadhaka Agni, cleanse toxins from the channels and cells of the body and improve overall balance and health. They are excellent for clearing away the toxins that lead to feelings of sadness.
12. Do gentle breathing exercises such as pranayama
Prana is the life force, and pranayama opens the mental channels, the tiny, microscopic channels that convey oxygen to the brain. It balances the solar and lunar energies in the body: the element of agni, or heat, and the quality of soma, or ojas. Pranayama clears away impurities, and creates clearer thinking and balanced emotions.
13. Take Maharishi Ayurveda Rasayanas
Rasayanas are elixirs for bliss and rejuvenation, and are the cream of the herbal kingdom, prepared according to ancient methods that can take weeks and even months to make. Maharishi Amrit Kalash is one of the most powerful of all the Rasayanas, and it has the ability to create bliss, contentment, and ideal health.
Like any true Rasayana, Maharishi Amrit Kalash has the ability to enhance medhya, or the coordination between the mental functions of learning, retention and recall. This kind of coordination is important for balancing the emotions and helping to prevent feelings of sadness. It is also a great antioxidant, a quality associated with anti-aging.
14. Create a loving environment
It's very important to surround yourself with positive, loving people who support you emotionally, and who also support you in leading a sattvic life. Choose friends or co-workers who also are interested in following a healthy routine and eating healthy foods. You'll also want to choose the company of people who respect you and who create an uplifting feeling.
15. Practice Achara Rasayanas, or behavioral Rasayanas
According to Charaka Samhita, if you practice these positive behaviors on a daily basis, you will gain in overall health and well-being.
- Freedom from anger
- Non-indulgence in alcohol
- Avoiding overexertion
- Sweet speech
- Experience transcendence through meditation.
- Respect toward teachers, parents and elders
- Love and compassion
- Balanced in sleep and wakefulness
- Use ghee regularly
- Act appropriately to time and place
- Keep the company of the wise
- Positive attitude
- Be devoted to studying truth
5 Traditional Ayurvedic herbs for emotional Balance
Genuine Ayurvedic herbals are created with one goal in mind: to restore balance to the mind and body. When properly taken, along with proper lifestyle, they support the role of restoring good health and supporting the experience of more subtle states of awareness. As discussed in this article, these refined states of awareness are stabilizing to our emotions.
- Rejuvenating brain functioning, mental activity, and overcoming feelings of occasional nervousness or restlessness greatly support long-term emotional health. Brahmi (Bacopa) is a popular Ayurvedic herb that has been revered in India for over 3,000 years. Traditionally, it was used as a brain tonic to support memory, learning, and concentration. In ancient Ayurvedic literature, Brahmi was used by scholars and students to help with memorizing lengthy Vedic texts. Due to its calming and nurturing properties, Brahmi is also very useful for highly stressful work or study environments.
- Altering the automatic and immediate emotional reaction you have to stress is an important practice, and herbs can help. Worry Free simultaneously calms the nervous system while supporting mental acuity; you'll find yourself sailing through the same situations that used to cause a meltdown. It's not about having a different attitude—it's about changing the automatic and immediate emotional reaction you have to stress. And let's face it—life is not going to slow down for most of us. So support a healthy emotional response with Worry Free; it's vital for your health and peace of mind.
- Sadhaka Pitta, the subdosha of Pitta governs emotional health. The herbs in Stress Free Emotions soothe the nervous system, promoting self-confidence, positive thinking and feelings of fulfillment. Arjuna, Ashwagandha, Mica, Pearl and Holy Basil promote coordination of mind and emotions.
- It’s not just about what you add, but what you clear from the physiology that supports emotional—and total—health. Blissful Joy nourishes the mind-body connection by helping to remove toxins that make you feel dull or sad. It supports the memory of bliss in your cells, and balanced hormones. The result is a renewed feeling of energy and happiness, and an overall sense of well-being. These herbs are excellent nutritional support for emotional balance.
- It’s no secret that stress directly impacts emotions. Stress Free Mind supports natural resistance to daily mental stress and fatigue. This traditional blend of whole herbal extracts, powders, and minerals nourishes and supports the immune system, which is often taxed by everyday mental stress.
Bacopa, Dwarf Morning Glory, Gotu Kola and Indian Tinospora in the formula work to support learning, retention and long-term memory. Pearl, Greater Galangal, Licorice, Jatamansi and Ashwagandha aid overall mental energy. The Ayurvedic synergy of all herbs and minerals in the formula supports mental resistance to stress.
Many factors impact emotional wellbeing. Ayurveda offers numerous tools to support balanced health and happiness—long term. For more on the Ayurvedic theory of emotional balance, head to The Ayurvedic Understanding of Emotional Balance, Part 1.