Autumn anxiety is an annual increase of anxiety people experience and begin to feel at the beginning of autumn or rainy season; in Ayurveda, this is known as the Vata time.
It is commonly known as seasonal affective disorder, the SAD cycle, which appropriately also stands for stressed, anxious, depleted.
This seasonal state has a variety of contributing factors that affect it, from the external weather conditions, to your inner emotional, spiritual and body-mind connection.
This is what I love about Ayurveda, it holistically takes everything into account, to provide you with practical solutions that help you maintain balance.
Externally, this tendency for people to suffer from anxiety and low mood during the autumn months is attributed to the days becoming shorter, the nights being longer, and the weather getting colder. As a result, we are exposed to less sunlight and Vitamin D deficiencies lead to anxiety and depression.
Nature reflects beautiful examples of change; the leaves on a tree changing to golden hues, only to finally dry up and fall toward the earth, carried away by the crisp, cool wind.
As we are a part of nature, we feel both the excitement and the challenges of change as well as uncertainty in times of rapidly shifting energies. Fall’s clearing away makes room for new beginnings, but let’s face it, this can also feel quite unsettling. For some of us, this can result in an anxious and overactive mind, chilly body, and an overall spacey, ungrounded feeling.
You might experience further symptoms, such as:
- Low mood and depression
- Anxiety and excessive worry
- Lethargy, sleepiness, and fatigue
- Loss of interest in everyday activities
In Ayurveda, Vata is the energy that is associated with movement, space, and air, which can often become unbalanced during this time of year. These Ayurvedic qualities relating to this subtle body of energy are:
According to Ayurveda, “like increases like” and “opposites bring balance”, meaning that we can use the opposing qualities to counterbalance something that we have in excess or that we lack. To put this into a clearer context, let’s use anxiety as an example…
The qualities of anxiety include light, mobile, cold, and dry, therefore to establish balance you should avoid foods with these qualities (e.g. caffeine, cold cereal, raw salad, green juice, cold-raw smoothies).
And which foods should you be favoring? Those that contain the opposing qualities of heavy, grounding, warm, and moist (e.g. golden milk, soups, kitchari, stews, porridges, oatmeal).
Another consideration is our innate body-mind awareness; it warns us the autumn and winter months are tough, which leads to your inner programming: “I am going to have a tough time”.
Then there is the spiritual root cause of anxiety, based on a lack of trust in life and yourself. Anxiety is a fear of the future, the upcoming colder months, as opposed to depression, which is living in the past.
Eager to learn more about this fascinating subject?
In my masterclass “From S.A.D. to happy in autumn” you can learn more about it. Message me to receive the masterclass.