Part One & Two of Ten Natural remedies to Suffering
Last week we spoke about the defended self and the increasing links between our sociocultural and personal pasts in relation to perceived threat, their relation to depression and anxiety and our body’s inflammatory response to such.
We also discussed that there is a very real sense of disconnection that we all feel, and that quite often making small changes to our environment and behaviours can help to move us towards connection. This week we delve a little deeper into the ten natural remedies we suggested, and towards cultivating an environment that enhances optimal wellbeing.
In order for these remedies seem less overwhelming we will be posting two a day for the next five days. So too, if the information seems overwhelming or requires further explanation, please do not hesitate to send through your enquiry via the comments here or my Facebook page – quite often others are wondering the same!
Remember, though the natural path towards wellbeing is something the Yoga Sutra’s brought to light, and now what integrative science recognizes, it is vital to remember that if you have experienced trauma, grief, or loss, connection with a trained therapist in this area is recommended to help create a safe and secure environment for release.
One and Two of Ten natural remedies to depression and anxiety.
1. Nurture an internal environment of relaxation
There is so much research and data being brought to light currently about the power of our mind-body connection. One of the more prominent idea’s that has been valuable for centuaries is the ability to create an internal environment of relaxation. Though this idea may seem to some to be quite elusive, if we take the time to become mindful, we have the capacity to reduce stress in day-to-day life.
Beginning to understand and cultivate mindfulness in everyday is one of the first steps towards lessening stress and thus inflammation. Mindfulness in today’s society has many interpretations; however the mindfulness the Sutra’s speak of is that where we allow ourselves to experience the present (“here and now”) moment(s) more often, rather than being swept away in the past or the future.
Mindfulness is the ability to be aware and intentional, to be non-judgmentally open and flexible to possibilities, and to feel in presence without grasping (Brown & Ryan, 2004; Kashdan, Ciarrochi & Harris, 2013; Siegel, 2010). The cultivation of mindfulness involves a steady progression of learning to be receptive to thoughts, to attune to the sensations of the breath and body, and to become aware of the “when” or time of feelings (Siegel, 2010, p. 6).
Being intentionally mindful everyday will open the pathways towards nurturing an internal environment of relaxation and further towards optimal wellbeing.
2. Cultivate heightened positive affect (energy in motion or emotions)
Alongside being mindful we can also begin to reduce depression and anxiety by doing more of what we love as well as creating more positive relationships. This is not an invitation of frivolous hedonism, but rather a mindful awareness of appreciation and gratitude in what we do and whom we do it with. That is, both the appreciation, and the overt recognition of this appreciation, of the times spent in enjoyable (enjoyable = the delicate balance between challenge and skill) activities with self or with another in joyous communion. So too, positive affect can be cultivated in the sharing in someone else’s accomplishments or excitement through selfless enthusiasm and genuine interest in another.
Cultivating heightened positive affect is essential in optimal wellbeing and is reflected in the first two rungs of the Eight-fold path of the Yoga Sutra’s (2.28-2.39)
Practice of these limbs of yoga, impurity is overcome and wisdom and an enduring capacity to make disinctions are achieved. ||28|| The limbs of the eight-fold path are as follows: respect for others (yama) and yourself (niyama); harmony with your body (asana), your energy (pranayama), your thoughts (dharana), and your emotions (pratyahara); contemplation (dhyana); ecstasy (samadhi). ||29|| Respect for others (yama) is based on non-violence (ahimsa); truthfulness (satya); not stealing (asteya); non-covetousness (aparigraha); and acting with an awareness of higher ideals (brahma-charya). ||30|| Showing respect for others without regard for social station, or for place, time, or circumstance in all spheres of this respect is a great virtue. ||31|| Cleanliness (shaucha), contentment (santosha), self-discipline (tapas), learning from yourself (svadhyaya) and accepting your fate (iishvara-pranidhana) automatically translate into the practice of respect (niyama). ||32|| Uncertainty concerning implementation can be overcome via orientation with the reverse. ||33|| Violent thoughts (himsa) induce unending suffering and ignorance. In such cases, it makes no difference whether you’re the perpetrator, the person who gives the orders, or the instigator; or whether the thoughts are provoked by greed, anger, or delusion; or whether small, medium or large scale action is involved. This is why orienting yourself toward the reverse is helpful. ||34|| Once a condition of durable non-violence (ahimsa) has been established, all enmity will be abandoned in your environs. ||35|| Once a state of truth (satya) has been permanently established, each statement will form the basis for a truthful result. ||36|| Once non-stealing has been permanently established, all riches will be available. ||37|| Performing each action with an awareness of a higher ideal (brahma-charya) engenders tremendous strength. ||38|| The permanent reign of non-covetousness (aparigraha) engenders knowledge concerning the goal of earthly life. ||39||
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to join us in conversation, and as this is the first of five posts, we welcome you tomorrow for
- Mindful, peace orientated eating, and
- A focus on balanced diet
Remember, it is okay if these practices seem overwhelming, and certainly with ten remedies towards optimal wellbeing presented over a week, it can seem all too much. Why not consider joining Celia Roberts at a retreat? At Celia Roberts Retreat in Brookfield, Brisbane, Qld, we offer meditation and yoga retreats throughout the year enabling you to experience and to learn in the presence of a trained guide.