Depression, Anxiety & Ayurvedic Mind-Harmonisation

Dylan Smith looking at the sea
Drugs for depression, anxiety, and attention problems are given out in huge numbers almost like a new panacea.
Apparently we can change our brain chemistry and balance our emotional state with drugs alone.
We aren’t being taught to first consider natural alternatives or lifestyle changes
In this approach, we are also losing sovereign composure over of our own brain chemistry.
We are now becoming dependent upon and perhaps even addicted to drugs for our sense of well-being and to maintain “balance” in our physiology throughout the circumstances of life.
This doesn’t only refer to anti-depressants, chemical sedatives, benzodiazepine (anti-anxiety), Methylphenidate (ADHD), or amphetamines alone, but we can develop an unsustainable relationship with nutraceuticals, supplements, narcotics, psychedelics, and our bi-monthly “plant-medicine ceremony.”
All the above certainly have their time and place in mental disease or imbalance, and no doubt can be extremely useful. I have seen them to be lifesaving for patients in my clinic. 
Pills
But I believe overall we need to create a greater perception for a holistic way of balancing the mind and nervous system and treating mental illness. 
Luckily, nature did not leave us without natural medicines for the mind. There are special herbs that support improvement of the mind, mental state, senses, brain and nervous system.
There are a group of herbs in Ayurveda called “Medhya Rasāyanas” that have been taken for millennia to “rejuvenate wisdom”, expand states of consciousness, promote deeper meditations, rejuvenate the mind and improve brain function.
And now, they have a new application in our modern age - to mitigate mind disturbance from screens, social media, work, relationships, collective stress, mental toxins, media etc.
One of my favorite Medhya Rasāyanas for this application is the powerful herbal formula “Bliss” by One Eleven Health.
But it is not just about supporting the body’s nervous system and mind with herbal rejuvenators, we also have to consider other such factors for balancing mental health for a radiant mind and body:
Bliss by One Eleven Health
  1. A suitable meditation practice for that individual
  2. Light cycles - what light are you exposed to in the day and after sunset?
  3. Prana (Life-force) content of food, water, and air
  4. Sun-exposure
  5. Time in nature
  6. Counseling
  7. Relationships and community
  8. Time in energetic vortexes of healing (vāstu / Vedic architecture)
  9. Electromagnetic fields
  10. Sleep
  11. Activity, work, service, role in society and community (dharma)
  12. Working with a quality health practitioner
  13. Body-work therapies and treatments
Please reach out for any support in balancing your mind and emotional state. You have the capacity to and birth-right for emotional and mental stability, we have to enliven the memory of that.
How do you promote the health of your mind and nervous system? Please comment below to inspire others.

Nature Deficit Disorder

A paved path surrounded by a forrest - a good place to recover from nature deficit disorder

Yep it's actually a thing.

This contemporary phenomenon, “Nature Deficit Disorder,” is slightly controversial in the medical industry in regards to it being recognised as a mental disorder.

Richard Louv, an author who came up with this “phrase” has stated:

“Nature-deficit disorder is not meant to be a medical diagnosis but rather to serve as a description of the human costs of alienation from the natural world.”

And boy, what health costs it can have…

  • Younger generations are being at risk of having a shorter lifespan.
  • Behavioural problems are developing as well as Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) and depression. Studies from the University of Illinois is showing a strong link to ADD, and recent studies in USA showed classrooms and other forms of education that used outdoor classrooms and other forms of experiential education produce significant student gain in social studies, science, language, arts and math.
  • Eye problems like myopia (short-sighted) due to lack of exposure to bright (natural outdoor) light are in jeopardy. (3,4).
  • Childhood obesity is a growing problem and an influential cause of it is separation from nature. (5)
  • A Harvard study showed a strong correlation with mental health as women living in the greenest environments were happier and less depressed.(1,2).

According to Ayurveda, spending time in nature or green space around plants builds “Ojas” – a substance linked to longevity, vitality and radiant health.

A plentiful reserve of Ojas is reflected in the lustre of the eyes and skin (like the glow in a baby), strong physical strength, immunity and libido, good digestion, vigour and spirituality.

It could be in your garden, or a park. It could be regularly hiking, bushwalking, camping or meditating on a beach — it all builds Ojas.

Another one of the best ways to consistently build Ojas is to eat a diet of fresh unprocessed, seasonal whole food and have a balanced agni to support the process. A handful of certain foods even metabolise to nourish and build Ojas more directly and quickly.

Depleted Ojas leaves the body vulnerable to disease.

Regularly employing these methods to building Ojas is an important action to overcome fatigue and increase vitality.

Check out this article:

Ojas: Invigorate your Vitality

Illustration of nature elements sprouting from a human being

“When you feel life coming down on you, Like a heavy weight.
When you feel this crazy society, Adding to the strain.
Take a stroll to the nearest waters And remember your place.
Many moons have risen and fallen long, long before you came.”
~ Xavier Rudd

Photo: Routeburn Track, NZ  by Dylan Smith

References
(1) http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/15-10363/
(2) https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_158317.html
(3) New research an eye opener on cause of myopia". 2011-06-01. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
(4) Nature Deficit Disorder, No Child Left Inside Archived January 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
(5) National Environmental Education Foundation