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5 Ayurvedic Remedies for Holiday Anxiety

5 Ayurvedic Remedies for Holiday Anxiety

by Kate Lewin November 23, 2016

5 Ayurvedic Remedies for Holiday Anxiety

5 Ayurvedic Remedies for Holiday Anxiety

There’s a lot to be anxious about these days. Most of us are already trying to cope with the stresses of everyday life; competing demands of work, school, children, finances and personal relationships, combined with the approaching holiday season. Then along came the 2016 presidential election! No matter your political view, there is no question that the outcome exposed a tragic rift in the country’s social fabric which has resulted in a collective sense of anxiety for many. During times like this we can be grateful for natural healing practices like Ayurveda for gifting us with powerful ways to deal with anxiety! 

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is the feeling of worry, unease, and fear of both the known and unknown. It is estimated that 40 million, or 18% of adults in the United States, suffer from anxiety, making it the most common mental disorder.[1] And nearly half of those suffering from anxiety also suffer from depression.[2]

Anxiety can take many forms and can be mild to utterly debilitating. A little anxiety is normal and usually temporary, such as fretting over a job interview or passing an important test. But when anxiety gets out of control it can be devastating to one’s quality of life and overall health.

How does Ayurveda approach anxiety?  

In Ayurveda, anxiety is considered an imbalance in Vata Dosha (comprised of the air and space elements) in the mind channel (manovaha srotas). Anxiety often results from excess Vata in the mind, accompanied by its close cousins insomnia, fear, nervousness and depression. With excessive thinking and worry around the presidential election, combined with the seasonal shift into colder, drier, windier weather and the approaching holidays, we are presented with the perfect formula for Vata aggravation. Ayurveda offers many ways to pacify Vata dosha through diet, lifestyle and herbs that counter the cold, rough, dry, mobile and subtle qualities of Vata.

Below are 5 time-tested Ayurvedic remedies for dealing with anxiety:

  • Ayurvedic herbs have been used for thousands of years to calm Vata and the nervous system. One of the best known of these herbs is Brahmi. Aptly named after Brahman or universal consciousness, Brahmi has long been used to enhance the mind and memory while reducing stress on the nervous system. Brahmi capsules and Brahmi Ghritam (medicated ghee) are excellent for treating anxiety. Ashwagandha is another of those adaptogenic wonder herbs that works directly on calming Vata in the nervous system, among dozens of other healing benefits. Ashwagandha Arishtam is a potent nervine tonic used in the treatment of anxiety and related conditions such as chronic fatigue, memory loss, sluggishness, weakness, and other Vata disorders. 
  • Self-Massage/Abhyanga is one of the best practices for balancing Vata in the mind and body. For soothing anxiety, a sesame-based oil like Mahanarayan is ideal for its warm and nourishing qualities. Regular self-massage reduces anxiety and stress, balances the nervous system, increases ojas (or the body’s vital essence), strengthens tissues, and relieves insomnia and pain. Brahmi oil can be used to massage the head for optimum results. Before bathing, spend about 10-15 minutes massaging the warm oil all over your body, paying special attention to the joints. Use a straight motion for the long bones and a circular motion for the joints.
  • Shirodhara is an ancient Ayurvedic treatment that involves the continuous flow of hot herbal oil over the forehead to calm and balance the nervous system. Shirodhara has often been called the “3rd eye” treatment given its profound healing power on both the physical and metaphysical layers. The 3rd eye is associated with clarity of thought, foresight, intuition and consciousness. Shirodhara is effective in treating nervous system disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, PTSD, chronic fatigue and fear. Look for a practitioner in your area that offers this powerful healing treatment. For those in the Los Angeles area, the health clinic at the Southern California University of Health Sciences in Whittier, California offers Shirodhara.
  • Meditation is how Ayurveda came to be! As the story goes, sages meditated at the foothills of the Himalayas and knowledge of Ayurveda came to them through the wisdom of universal consciousness. If that sounds a little too woo-woo for you, modern science has confirmed the profound benefits of meditation in study after study. In addition to reducing chronic stress, anxiety, fear and insomnia, a simple google search reveals hundreds of benefits of regular meditation practice. The best part is, it is absolutely FREE and requires no additional heavy or expensive equipment. You don’t have to practice a specific style of meditation to be a successful meditator. Start with just sitting quietly in a peaceful place for 5 minutes with no other distractions. Once you’ve mastered that, increase your time by 5 minute intervals. You will soon be a transformed person which will have ripple effects on your household, office, community and so on. Let’s be the change we want to see and meditate for inner and outer transformation!
  • Pranayama Breathing: Ayurvedic sages and yogis were well aware of the power of the conscious breath. In today’s stress-ridden society we often forget to breathe. Our breath is shallow and sporadic or even non-existent at times. When we breathe consciously we open up the channels of the mind and body to the flow of our prana, or life force, and we allow the natural mechanisms in our bodies to function properly without obstruction. One of the best breathing exercises for reducing anxiety is Nadi Shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing. Nadi Shodhana activates the parasympathetic nervous system which reduces the body’s stress response and lowers the heart rate and blood pressure, bringing an overall state of calm to the body and mind. Practice this breathing technique for at least 5 minutes a day and notice the before and after shift in your state of being. 

Anxiety is already an epidemic and with the current global climate it will only continue to rise unless we make a conscious choice to focus on what we can control-- our own actions and ability to tap into our body’s natural healing capacities. If you are suffering from anxiety, find solace in knowing that you are not alone. If the list above seems daunting, seek out a supportive community or an Ayurvedic or holistic practitioner who can help guide you in your healing process. Start incorporating these practices one baby step at a time, accepting no judgement from within or without. As Rumi wisely remarked, always remember that, “the garden of the world has no limits, except in your mind.”

If you are interested in furthering your healing with Ayurveda, please book an initial consultation with me so we can get you started on your journey to perfect health! Namaste and happy healing <3 

Naomi Boas, H.E.A.L. Ayurveda LA

P.S. For 10% off of our order, use my discount code NAOMI 


The purpose of this article is to provide information about Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health problems please consult a trained health professional. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic practitioner or doctor, call (800) 215-9934 or email us at and we will provide you with our affiliated practitioners. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.

Kate Lewin
Kate Lewin


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