Anxiety, Insomnia, Emotional Health, Headaches



We currently experience an epidemic of mental health problems – affecting around 20% of adults and 25% of our youth. Anxiety disorders are the most common. Anxiety can manifest as worry, agitation, nervousness, restlessness, tremulousness, disturbed sleep, panic attacks or may present as more physical symptoms such as headache, abdominal bloating, gaseous indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, Find-a-Practitioner--w248h44irregular menstruation etc.

In Maharishi Ayurveda these are all typical symptoms of a Vata imbalance – in particular imbalanced Prana Vata. Aggravated Prana Vata is experienced as excessive thinking and excitation. The cause of anxiety is not so much the outer circumstance. The cause is in your inability to appropriately deal with the outer situation. The more balanced is your Vata, the less proned you are to getting stressed and anxious.


To correct the imbalance underlying anxiety it is recommended to avoid:

  • Late nights
  • Hot spices, legumes and bitter tasting foods
  • Missing sleep
  • Root vegetables except carrots
  • Work related activities or computer work in the hour before bed
  • Fat reduced diet
  • Rushed and irregular routine
  • Restraining or forcing natural urges
  • Too much travel
  • Strenuous exercise or excessive sexual activity
  • Excessive use of mobile phones and computers
  • Smoking, coffee, cola and energy drinks
  • Dry, cold and raw foods
  • Early bedtime
  • Warm, freshly cooked easy to digest food
  • Regular practice of Transcendental Meditation
    to reduce stress and enhance your ability to
    more effectively cope with life’s challenges
  • Warm milk, ghee, almonds, walnuts and sweet juicy fruits
  • Yoga asanas
  • Eat in a settled mind away from TV, study and walk
  • Regular unrushed lifestyle
  • Clean orderly home and office
  • Calming activities such as gardening and leisurely walks
  • Calming and soothing essential oils like lavender and mandarin
  • Daily oil massage
  • Herbal food supplements to enhance resistance to mental stress
  • Early morning walk

I worry a lot by Maharishi Ayurveda (3.22mins)

Please note that these recommendations don’t replace the advice or treatment recommended by your doctor

Emotional Balance

Often we become so accustomed to how we feel that we think it is “normal” to not feel our usual self. Hence depression can be insidious in its onset. It may present as a loss of interest in things we used to enjoy, lack of get up and go, low energy, sleeping too little or too much, reduced or excessive appetite, low libido, irritability or simply low mood.

According to Maharishi Ayurveda, depression is a result of imbalanced Vata or Kapha or both. Vata imbalance is associated with worry, anxiety, sleeplessness and low appetite. If we are anxious and sleep deprived for long enough it can lead to depression.

A primarily Kapha imbalance is associated with inertia, lack of motivation, excess sleep, excess appetite and tendency to isolation. In either case the brain becomes depleted of the happy molecules – which makes us depressed.

If you are experiencing moderately severe symptoms it is important to seek expert assistance from your doctor or counsellor, as soon as possible.

To correct the underlying imbalance, it is recommended to avoid:

  • Sleeping in of a morning
  • Cold and heavy foods to digest
  • Daytime sleep
  • Stale, canned, left over and processed foods
  • Heavy or late evening meals
  • Dwelling on negative thoughts
  • Alcohol

And to favour:

  • Rise early (ideally before sunrise)
  • Warm organic, freshly cooked, light to digest food
  • Early morning walk and other forms of exercise
  • A diet suited to your predominant dosha
  • Regular practice of Transcendental Meditation to reduce anxiety and restore the chemistry of happiness
  • Essential oils like lavender to calm or neroli to uplift
  • More quality time with the family
  • Herbal food supplements enhance mental resistance to stress and promote emotional stability
  • Conversations, books and movies that are uplifting and funny
  • The company of people who are positive and supportive
Please note that these recommendations don’t replace the advice or treatment recommended by your doctor


Insomnia can be experienced as difficulty getting to sleep or waking often through the night or both. It is generally due to imbalanced Vata but sometimes it is associated with imbalanced Pitta. Sleep is a natural function and is essential for us to recover from the fatigue of the day. Therefore it is not necessary to try to fall asleep – in fact the more we try to fall asleep the less likely it is that sleep comes.

What is necessary is to reduce the excess Vata and automatically you will fall asleep at the appropriate time.

To correct the underlying imbalance, it is recommended to avoid:

  • Daytime sleep
  • Restraining or forcing natural urges
  • Irregular or rushed lifestyle
  • Strenuous exercise or excess sexual activity
  • Mental stimulation in the evening especially in the hour before bed
    i.e. computer work, work related activities,
    problem solving or thriller movies.
  • Cold, dry or raw foods
  • Exercise in the evening apart from a stroll after dinner
  • Fat reduced diet
  • Work related activities, watching TM or studying in your bedroom
  • Hot spicy, bitter and astringent foods (chick peas etc)
  • Root vegetables except carrots

And to favour:

  • Regular practice of Transcendental Meditaion to reduce anxiety
  • Sweet, juicy fruits including raisins and dates
  • Daily oil massage especially before bed
  • Almonds and walnuts
  • Warm milk and ghee with a pinch of nutmeg before bed
  • Regular unrushed routine
  • Yoga asanas
  • Herbal food supplements that are calming and that enhance resistance to stress
  • Calming aromas
  • Essential oils like lavender and chamomile to settle the mind before bed
  • Warm, freshly cooked, organic food
Please note that these recommendations don’t replace the advice or treatment recommended by your doctor


According the Maharishi Ayurveda headaches are of 3 main types: Vata, Pitta-Vata and Kapha-Vata. The Vata type which is light a tight constant band around the head – corresponds to tension headaches, The Pitta-Vata type is sharp, throbbing, preceded by visual effects and accompanied by nausea and intolerance of light. It corresponds to migraine headache. The Kapha-Vata type is dull, heavy ache mainly in front of head associated with sinus congestion.

Once the underlying imbalance is identified the appropriate recommendations can be made. Please note that these recommendations don’t replace the advice or treatment recommended by your doctor.

If you are experiencing moderately severe symptoms it is important that you seek assistance from your doctor as soon as possible.

Related content:

Video by Maharishi Ayurveda (2.55mins)

Please note: This ayurvedic information is education. It does not replace medical advice or treatments.
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