Ayurveda Day 4: Addiction

A large intention of mine before starting this program was to be healthy. Ayurveda is a science of health, and in order to help other people as a healer, it is important I understand how to be healthy myself. It would be the equivalent of having a personal trainer who is not physically fit, or a doctor who recommends you quit smoking, but who is themselves a smoker. Being healthy is not a bad byproduct of getting an education, especially when so many people suffer from stress and pressure in their schooling due to the balancing act that must take place between it, health, sleep, social engagements, work, etc. I am quite fortunate to be studying in this field.

One of the challenges posed to us last week was to practice meditation daily and keep a journal, and also to recognize our addictions and start to quit them. I have been learning that meditation can help to curb those addictions.

But how do we recognize addiction? Addictions can manifest in many ways, and aren’t always as obvious as the person who smokes everyday, or the person who has a drug habit. The reality is, almost certainly all of us are addicted to something in our lives, and it has an adverse affect on our health.

For example, many of us are addicted to coffee. We have it every day, thinking nothing of it. Although it doesn’t seemingly have many side effects and is touted as a healthy stimulant, it does create dependance, upsets digestion, and creates symptoms of withdrawal when removed from our system. The same can be said for sugars (ones occurring naturally in our foods withstanding). Sugar has been linked to so many health problems, from obesity to heart disease and more. But so many of us over-consume it nearly every day without thinking twice.

I decided to quit coffee last week, and limit my sugar intake. Luckily, this wasn’t that hard as I don’t drink coffee that often and have never had much of a sweet tooth. But many in my class have been struggling with it. One person in my course shared her struggle of trying to quit sugar and having almost no will power. It truly can be a problem we are unaware of until we make an effort to bring awareness to ourselves.

But addictions aren’t always things we put into our body. They can be anything that upsets our system on a regular and habitual basis. Many of us are addicted to TV, our phones, and the internet, using distraction as a vice. Maybe we are addicted to negativity, complaining about too much in our lives without expressing gratitude. Perhaps we are addicted to drama and feeding our egos.

Bringing awareness to one’s own bad habits is a key aspect of moving towards healthiness. I myself have many addictions I will need to address as time goes on. And although I felt tired this morning in class choosing to forgo all caffeine, there are always healthy alternatives. Deciding to eat some fresh vegetables woke me up much better than coffee ever has, and without any negative side effects. I can always go to bed earlier as well.

My worst habit though is distracting myself to decompress – video games, internet, netflix, etc. I often get irritable without “me” time spent in this way. My goal is to practice meditation daily after work in order to decompress, hoping to become less dependent on my electronic vices. It’s still “me” time, but just far more healthy.

I’ve got two options – one, be the Clinical Ayurveda Specialist who can’t practice what he preaches, or two, embody what I am learning and lead by becoming a healthy example of what Ayurveda can do for people.

With gratitude,

S

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