Mental and Emotional Wellness
By
Prof. Subhash Ranade and Prof. Norbert Lotz


 

 

Highlights of Article
What is Mind ?
Functions of Mind –
Qualities of Mind -
Psychological Constitution -
Sattvic constitution-Sattvic constitution and health –
Rajasic Constitution
Tamasic Constitution
What is Emotion ?
Emotions –Ayurvedic View –
Emotions –Ayurvedic classification –
Relation between Physical Doshas / Psychological Doshas –
Vata Emotions classification –
Pitta Emotions classification –
Kapha Emotions classification –
Positive and Negative Emotions –
General causes of all diseases –
Common causes for all psychological diseases –
Pathogenesis flow chart of the psychological diseases –
Herbal Therapy –

 

Mental and Emotional Wellness
What is Mind ?
First late us take a look at the Ayurvedic concept of Mind.
Manas in Sanskrit, means to think, believe, imagine, suppose. It is the internal organ for
perception.
Link of Atma (Soul), mind, sense organs and their Objects gives the knowledge.
Atman (Soul) is the basis of all experience, while Manas (mind) is only instrument of experience.
According to Ayurveda, it is atomic and eternal.

Functions of Mind –
Chintya (Thinking) - Thinking of what to do and what not to do etc.
Vicharya (Analysis) - Analysis of the subject. If we do it, will it be beneficial or not.
Uhya (Speculation) - Speculation and find out probabilities
Dhyeya (Aim/Goal) - Goal setting. – Objective.
Sankalp – (Decision )- of doing various activities to achieve a goal- Determination.

Qualities of Mind -
These are super qualities responsible for creation
of the Universe and Man. Qualities of mind also.
Sattva – Sat / mind, reality, truth, light, intelligence.
Rajas – Raja / stain, smoke, distraction, turbulence and mind agitated by desire.
Tamas – Tama/ dullness, darkness, inability to perceive, heaviness, lethargy and mind clouded by ignorance and lack of mental activity.

Psychological Constitution -
Predominance of these qualities creates psychological constitution of the
individual. Sattva is considered as good quality and Rajas and Tamas creates
diseases when in excess.
Sattva persons are health conscious by nature, Rajas persons have to be convinced and Tamas are ignorant about health.

Sattvic constitution
Sattvic person is intelligent, sensitive and understanding, ever seeking balance. He possess a good intellect and memory, and have an inherent instinct for cleanliness and purity.
Sattvic constitution and health –
Although these persons have a great deal of knowledge, they always try to gain more. They have a good will towards others and allow others to prosper. They are friendly and courteous, have faith in the Divine and devotion to what is good.
Since these persons are health conscious, they follow all the rules and regulations of good and healthy life style.
They have good immunity.
They rarely become sick and even if some disease appears, it can be quickly recovered.

Rajasic Constitution
Rajasic person is active and aggressive, but agitated and restless. Rajasic types have a nature that tries to overpower others and have a brave but jealous and sometimes cruel character.
They manifest a propulsive and dynamic energy that is ever seeking and striving and which is never contented. Seldom satisfied with the positions and possessions they achieve, they are ever trying for more. They are ambitious and industrious in nature.
Rajsic constitution and health –
Although they do not follow health rules and regulations, if they are properly convinced, they are immediately start following proper healthy routine.
They tend to develop Pitta and Rakta diseases. Hence they should take proper precautions.

Tamasic Constitution
Tamasic people are lazy and ignorant and do not make any real efforts to improve their condition in life. Similarly, they are not curious about things but hold to what they already know as final. Usually they are less intelligent, prefer not to work and are interested mainly in eating and sleeping. They lack cleanliness and are not health conscious. Owing to their ignorance, they are afraid of many things and do not initiate any changes on their own. For this reason they are very difficult to treat.
Tamasic constitution and health –
These people are ignorant about the health rules and they also do not want to learn them.
Hence they suffer from Kapha and Meda diseases and are very difficult to treat as they have low immunity.
They also suffer from various psychological disorders.

What is Emotion ?
According to Modern Psychology Emotions are evaluative responses to environmental events that coordinate various physical and psychological sub-systems for the purpose of a best possible response.
Emotions are required for our survival, communications, making decisions and happiness.

Emotions –Ayurvedic View –
Thoughts create emotions. They are associated with mood, temperament, personality, disposition and motivation.
These are the effect of increase in rajas and tamas qualities of mind. They are created due to “failure of intelligence” (Pradnyaparadha) or volitional transgression which is the main cause of diseases.

Emotions –Ayurvedic classification –
Joy (Sukha /Ananda)- Pleasure, Cheerfulness, Zest, Contentment.
Grief (Dukkha) – Sorrow.
Love (Kama)–Affection, Attraction, Attachment, Infatuation,
Longing, forgiveness, compassion.
Intoxicating mood (Mada) – Lust, Passion.
Anger (Krodha) – Rage, Disgust, Torment.
Envy (Matsarya) – Jealousy.
Greed (Lobha) -
Sadness (Vishada) –Suffering, Disappointment, Shame, neglect.
Depression (Udvega) -
Fear (Bhaya)– Horror.
Anxiety (Chinta) - Worry, Nervousness.
Competitiveness (Irshya) -
Surprise – Frustration, irritation.

Relation between Physical Doshas / Psychological Doshas –
Vata = Vayu + Akasha = Rajas 3+ Sattva 2 + Tamas 1
Pitta = Fire + small water= Sattva 3 + Rajas 2 + Tamas 1
Kapha = Earth +Water = Tamas 3 + Sattva 2 + Rajas 1

Vata Emotions classification –
Vata and Sattva – Joy, Surprise.
Vata and Rajas – Hyperactivity, Nervousness, Fear, Anxiety.
Vata and Tamas – Confusion, Lack of direction, Indecisiveness, Sadness, Suffering, Shame, Grief or sorrow, Neglect.

Pitta Emotions classification –
Pitta and Sattva – Longing.
Pitta and Rajas - Aggressive
competitiveness. Intoxicating mood, lust, passion, disgust, infatuation.
Pitta and Tamas - Anger, Rage, Hatred, Envy, Jealousy

Kapha Emotions classification –
Kapha and Sattva – Love, Affection, Attraction, Compassion, Forgiveness.
Kapha and Rajas – Attachment, Greed, Possessiveness.
Kapha and Tamas - Confusion, Depression.

Positive and Negative Emotions –
It is really difficult to classify all the emotions according to its effect on the mind and body. Because the same emotion may have different effect depending on the situation. However in general following classification can be given -
Negative emotions are- ashamed, abandoned, abused, accused, apathy, grief, fear, hatred, shame, blame, regret, resentment, anger, hostility.
Positive emotions are - interest, enthusiasm, laughter, empathy, action, curiosity.

General causes of all diseases –
All diseases originate in the consciousness.
Pradnyaparadha or misuse of intellect – faulty intelligence, courage and memory.
Wrong contact of sense organs with their objects - Absence of analysis of any subject can lead to depression, excessive analysis can lead to anxiety and improper analysis leads to improper behavior.
Time – dosha aggravation.
Withholding of physical urges and suppressing emotions.

Common causes for all psychological diseases –
Emotions are responsible for causing all psychological diseases and Ayurveda has classified common causes according to two main reasons -
Getting things which are undesired-
Hatred, Anger and Depression.
Not getting things which are desired –
Greed, Envy, Worry and Anxiety.

Pathogenesis flow chart of the psychological diseases –
Bhagvad Gita, the religious book of Sanatana Dharma has explained following flow chart for the pathogenesis-
Thinking of pleasure / Vishaya
Attachment of objects with sense organs / Sanga
Lust for pleasure by sensual objects / Kama
Non fulfillment of pleasure
Anger/Krodha
Delusion / Sammoha
Vitiation in Recollection / Smruti vibhrama
Damage of intelligence / Buddhinasha
Destruction / Vinashyati.
Disease formation.

How to treat Emotions –
By conscious efforts all the emotions should be kept under control.
One should observe negative emotions with detachment, allowing them to dissipate. For example, one is taught that when anger occurs, one should be completely aware of it, watch the feeling as it unfolds, learn the nature of the anger, then let it go, releasing.

Examination of the patient –
In order to treat the patient successfully, one must carefully examine the patient with following view points-
Understanding Mind –Body relation and counseling is very important.
Requires expertise, attention and application.
The root cause is in the consciousness.
To remove this methods like meditation and Yoga practices are always useful along with Ayurvedic Therapies.

Controlling sense organs –
In fact this is the key for treating all emotions.
Our sense organs are constantly focused on the outside world.
To focus them inwards is the best method of controlling them.
Ayurveda and Yoga (Pratyahara) have stressed the importance of this to void the diseases. Chitta vritti nirodha.
Pranayama or breathing exercises are helpful for this.

Treatment of emotional diseases -

For treating all emotional problems the best way is to increase Sattva quality in Mind.
This can be effectively done by Sattavajaya Therapy or by following methods to make the mind more calm and quiet and focused.

Satvavajaya –Ayurvedic Psychotherapy –
These therapies mainly aim at withdrawing sense organs from their outside world and following Sadvritta or Ethical code of conduct.
These are simple rules to be observed while moving in the society and at home – speaking truth, giving honor to elders and teachers, not stealing money etc.

Daivavyapashraya /Divine or Spiritual therapy -
In practice it has been observed that many emotions have connections to the bad deeds in the past. Hence some spiritual methods to reduce bad deeds in the past life, with the help of various rituals, wearing gems and colors as well as chanting of mantras and the prayer to specific deities are used.

Yuktivyapashraya/ Rational therapy -
These are using appropriate foods, herbs and clinical therapies of opposite qualities to that of aggravated doshas.
Use of proper food, herbs and other therapies like Pancha Karma.
When emotions are too deep and strong like depression, medicated emesis or vamana is very effective. For anxiety treatment of Shirodhara is extremely useful.

Herbal Therapy –
For treatment purpose, emotions can also be classified as due to –
1. Excitement – extreme joy due to winning lottery, anger, jealousy, lust, surprise.
2. Suppression – Depression, sadness, fear, anxiety.

For treating emotions due to excitement –
Specific herbs that produce calm and quiet mind are used –
Gotu kola / Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri),
Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi),
Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Valerian (Valeriana wallichi),
Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina),
Manduka parni (Centella asiatica),

For treating emotions due to suppression-
herbs that have stimulating effect on mind are used –
Calamus / Vacha (Acorus calamus),
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera),
Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis)
Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)