Consider this scenario: Anne, Janeen, and Stuart arrive at the office one morning to find their boss waiting, pink slips in hand. Profits are down, she says. Effective immediately, the company needs to downsize. She tells them to gather their belongings, wishes them good luck, and escorts them to the door. The news comes as a terrible surprise to all three, but in the days that follow, each reacts in a markedly different way.
Anne feels anxious; her worrying distracts her from getting anything done during the day, and insomnia keeps her up at night. Janeen becomes consumed by anger and blames her boss, coworkers, and clients. As her resentment mounts, so does her blood pressure. Stuart resigns himself to the news, feeling powerless to change it. He stays home, snacking in front of the TV. His lethargy leaves him with feelings of depression, and eventually leads to weight gain and aggravated respiratory problems.
In the West, we don’t usually dwell on the distinctions between our reactions to stress—we tend to focus on general coping solutions applicable to all, such as a hot bath, a long walk, or a day at the beach. But in the ancient Indian healing system of Ayurveda, stress reduction hinges on a complex understanding of each person. Since no two people handle setbacks the same way, everyone requires a different stress-relief strategy: What might work for Anne could aggravate Stuart, and what might work for Janeen could prove ineffective for Anne. Ayurveda provides specific lifestyle, dietary, herbal, and yogic solutions for each individual that can not only diffuse tension but also help build a foundation for lasting peace of mind.