Mental Health Tips from Bhagavad Gita to Overcome Stress

There are common psychological factors behind many mental health disorders, also known as transdiagnostic factors. Bhagavad Gita insights into how positive mental health can be assured. Health is a determinant of daily well-being encompassing individuals’ emotional, psychological and social upkeep. It dramatically affects day-to-day productivity depending on how individuals think, feel, and act when dealing with common lifestyle issues and problems. The knowledge of ensuring a healthy mind can be sourced from the treasure of ancient texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, a scripture of principles that can change one’s life in positive ways.

Mental Health Tips from Bhagavad Gita to Overcome Stress
Bhagavad Gita Tips

Mental Disorders symptoms

Mental Disorders are a wide range of multiple conditions with symptoms like:

  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Effects of deep sadness
  • Inability to manage daily stress
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Strong feelings of fear
  • Worry
  • Such symptoms can either be joint or severe or focus majorly on common mental disorders like depression, stress and anxiety, often called the “Common Cold of Mental Disorders.”

Treatment Gap

There is a large “Treatment Gap” prevalent in India wherein people with mental disorders do not receive adequate treatment on time. This situation is further complicated by the lack of awareness among people and the margins of the population who cannot afford expensive treatments, in addition to the gap between urban and rural areas. Therefore, it stresses the need for more non-specialist professionals in mental health care delivery aided by prevention and health promotion through Yoga.

Bhagavad Gita Tips to Overcome Stress

  • The Indian texts such as Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutra, Yoga Vasistha, etc., are full of mental health insights that may be built into large-scale community programs and can help overcome issues of culture-match, low resources leading to more acceptance.
  • This idea is further supported by a shift in the mental health field wherein new findings in genetics and brain sciences suggest no single cause for mental illness; instead, it is multifactorial. There has been an increasing consensus on the genetic, familial, and social-psychological (cognitive-affective, interpersonal-behavioural) processes behind many mental disorders.
  • Mental disorders have both Multifinality (same set of causes to different outcomes) and equifinality (diverse causes producing the same condition); a recent study from New Zealand which followed people from age 11 to 45 indicated that very often a person having one disorder, later have another one which is acknowledged as an” Ebb and Flow” of mental disorders within the same person. Such common causes are called “Transdiagnostic” because they are beyond a single diagnosis, for example, examining a person with anxiety and depression together. The Transdiagnostic approach is more efficient when multiple disorders are accessible and is easier to scale up for understanding.
  • In Chapter 1 of Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna tries to avoid fighting due to an aversive outcome. At the same time, Krishna asks him to do his work without thinking about the pleasantness or unpleasantness of the product. In life, people run on motivation, driven by experiencing what is pleasant or needing to avoid something unpleasant.
  • Various variables of Goals: types, reasons to pursue a goal, and how it is pursued – influence whether a goal is reached and how people feel afterwards. • The behaviour is connected with the description of “Triguna” in Gita. Two categories further determine this: Linkers – when someone links achieving their goals to their happiness, and non-linkers. The former may achieve more but are usually found to have lower well-being. Thus, the Bhagavad Gita emphasises various shifts in oneself while selecting a goal and doing one’s work, such as Swadharma, Nishkama Karma, and Yajna.
  • The second element related to transdiagnostic factors is emotions, wherein one experiences frequent negative emotions, has difficulty managing them, cannot tolerate unpleasant ones, and acts upon the desire to avoid such feelings.
  • Bhagavad Gita emphasises the development of Emotional Balance (Samatvam) that encourages one to develop a capacity to tolerate unpleasant bodily sensations (cold heat) and emotions (sadness-happiness).
  • Furthermore, Bhagavad Gita discusses multiple techniques such as Meditation and Contemplation, the Yogic practice of Pranayama (breathing exercises) – Surrender and Offering (Yajna), Mindfulness, developing a larger perspective of self-others-universe and the divine.
  • The feeling of “Awe” is an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc. – produced by something grand, sublime, and compelling.  This emotion is linked with multiple benefits, from making one feel connected to other people and humanity to describing materialism, making people more generous/cooperative, and enhancing the sense of time to ultimately improving health, mood, critical thinking abilities, etc. The feeling of Awe in Arjuna is also discussed in Bhagavad Gita around Chapters 9-11, which is simultaneously triggered for a reader.
  • multiple chapters in the Bhagavad Gita are devoted to positive qualities worth cultivating – from persistence to friendliness and compassion (Daiviya Sampada, Satvik Guna).
  • These qualities, when studied extensively in Positive Psychology, were associated with the essential ingredients of positive mental health (namely – Positive emotions, engagement, meaning, healthy relationships and Accomplishments). However, one must remember that each person is different and may need individualised treatments. Medication can bring them to a position where they can start with Psychotherapy.
  • More studies and research need to be done to develop new models that integrate Medication, Yoga and Psychotherapy to help people suffering from Mental Health disorders in the best way possible. Gita is a treasure house of innumerable psychological insights that can enhance health through many pathways. It is time to develop and build mental health intervention models based on these insights and studies.

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