Overcoming Anxiety Syndrome
   Date :29-Oct-2023

Anxiety is a common emotion invariably found in all human beings. It becomes a matter of concern after it obtains a form of syndrome. Anxiety syndrome is a feeling of fear, tension or uneasiness leading to sweating, fast heart beat, hyperventilation etc. Anxiety syndrome activates bad hormones like adrenaline and cortisol in the body, causing sadness, depression, apprehension, etc. If not controlled in the beginning, it becomes OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This mental state is characterised by excessive and repetitive fearful thoughts. A severe form of anxiety syndrome leads to panic attacks where a sudden rush of fear is felt by the subject and he experiences a mentally chaotic state. In the course of prolonged anxiety syndrome, neurosis appears where there is intense feeling of danger or dread leading to a crippling effect on the psychophysiological mechanism of human beings. The worst stage of anxiety syndrome is psychosis where there are delusions, hallucinations and incoherent behaviour. Psychologists and psychiatrists have delved deep into the pathology and remedy of anxiety syndrome. Anxiety syndrome may be due to some real stressful and problematic situations in life. Genetic disorders are also said to be the cause of anxiety syndrome. Traumatic experiences may also be responsible for such anxiety problems.
According to experts, even if the above causes of anxiety syndrome do not exist, our habitual anxiety producing thoughts become the major factor of these mental problems. Mental groves are caused in our neural path of the brain, activating these anxious thoughts. In the Indian system two words have been used - Vyadhi for physical illness and Adhi for mental diseases. In Ayurveda andYoga numerous techniques are prescribed to alleviate these diseases. According to Ayurveda, when there is an imbalance of three types of Doshas - systems which operate our body and mind, psychophysiological disorders occur. Kapha is the cooling system of the body. Pitta is the heating system and Vata is the system which controls our gaseous exchanges. By correcting imbalances in these systems, any diseases may be cured. Diet, herbs and other purificatory practices along withYogic activities are prescribed to deal with these problems. Two Yogic practices are found very effective in alleviation of anxiety syndrome. First is the Bhramari Pranayama where humming is done for five to ten minutes. Due to this humming effect, nitric oxide is released in the nasal sinuses leading to the relaxation of the nervous system. Second is the Nadi Shodhan Pranayama where inhalation, holding the breath, exhalation and again holding the breath in a rhythmic way calm down the nervous system. Slow and rhythmic breathing with longer exhalation tones the vagus nerve of the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for relaxing the body.
Meditation is a great tool to calm the anxious thoughts. Neuroscience and Positive Psychology have prescribed very effective techniques to deal with anxiety syndrome. According to Neuroscience, anxious thoughts need to be changed in the brain by doing some activities which generate neurobiological impulses in the brain. The best way is to walk, jog or run. As a result of such activities brain waves change immediately and one feels relieved. In addition to it, good hormones like endorphins are released in the body leading to a happy mood. Writing down anxious thoughts is also found to be relaxing. Washing the face with cold or hot water dissolves anxious thoughts. At the intellectual level one needs to cultivate the notion that thoughts are only thoughts and almost the majority of fearful thoughts do not manifest in real life. Not to fight thoughts is a good tool to neutralise anxious thoughts. Observing thoughts without getting attached to it is the best form of mental therapy to deal with anxiety syndrome. This is called Sakshi Bhava in theYogic philosophy. It needs long and regular practice to cultivate this bend of the mind. Anxiety is related to the future. So being grounded in the present is the best way to deal with it. Being aware of the environment and ongoing activities around us are good antidotes to anxiety. (The writer is DG Police & CG, Homeguards, Maharashtra)