Have you been losing your temper a lot lately? While the American Psychological Association says that anger is a “normal, usually healthy emotion,” too much anger and irritability can cause physical, social and emotional problems.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, Pitta-type emotions like anger “heat up the blood, liver, and the heart, creating internal fire. They can thereby cause hypertension, insomnia, irritability, and other mental nervous imbalances. They can also burn out the nerves…”
Traditional medical studies also show that anger turned inward may also cause high blood pressure or depression.
One major cause of anger is aggravated Pitta (the fire principle) in the nervous system. If you feel angry and irritated on a regular basis, even when outside circumstances are not particularly provocative, follow these simple guidelines: practice moderation in all of your activities; keep cool; practice relaxation, yoga and meditation every day; exercise regularly; make time for leisure activities, spend time in nature, and laugh. We go into more depth below.
The Anger-Reduction Diet
Everything we eat has a direct effect on our health, consciousness and balance of our Doshas. If you have symptoms of excess Pitta such as rage or consistent anger and irritability, choose foods with opposite, cooling properties to restore balance.
Favor foods with these attributes: sweet, astringent, bitter, cool, dry and heavy. Eat plenty of vegetarian protein, sweet, juicy fruits, and cool drinks.
Avoid hot, spicy, oily, salty, or fermented food, citrus and sour fruits, alcohol and caffeine.
10 Pitta-Pacifying Foods: cilantro, cucumbers, ice cream, ghee, leafy greens, watermelon, raisins, cottage cheese, tofu and basmati rice.
Enjoy this cooling drink!
- 1/8 tsp. chamomile
- 1/8 tsp. tulsi (holy basil)
- 1/4 tsp. rose petal powder
- Steep in one cup of hot water and drink when cool
- Drink three times a day after each meal
Practice Sitali (the hissing breath)
This is the most effective Pranayama technique for soothing excess Pitta. It cools the body, adds moisture to the system, calms hunger and thirst, and cultivates a love for solitude.
- Sit in a comfortable position keeping the head, neck, and spine in alignment.
- Breathe diaphragmatically for several minutes, then open the mouth and form the lips into an O.
- Curl the tongue lengthwise and project it out of the mouth (about 3/4 of an inch).
- Make a hissing sound as you inhale deeply across the tongue and into the mouth as if drinking through a straw, letting the abdomen and rib cage expand.
- Then withdraw the tongue and close the mouth, exhaling completely through the nostrils.
- Continue this practice for 2 to 3 minutes, return to diaphragmatic breathing for several more, and then repeat the hissing breath for 2 to 3 minutes longer.
Sitali is most helpful during very warm or hot weather. It may not be appropriate during cool or cold weather though, especially if you have a Vata or Kapha constitution.
Oiling Techniques to Balance Pitta
Do A Nightly Massage
Bhringaraj Oil or Coconut Oil on your scalp and the soles of your feet every night before bed is relaxing and balancing. Sleep in an old pair of socks and a hat to prevent the oil from staining the bedding. This oil massage reduces stress, and balances both Pitta and Vata Dosha
Use Essential Oils
Place a drop of sandalwood essential oil between your eyebrows, on the throat, breastbone, navel, temples, and wrists to balance your emotions. Flower fragrances like rose, jasmine, and lilac will help you feel calmer too.
Lubricate the inside of the nostrils with Brahmi Ghee or plain homemade ghee, then gently inhale the ghee. This sends a calming message to the brain!
All views and information shared here is only for the sharing of Ayurvedic knowledge. Please do not try or prescribe or take any of the remedies and suggestions here without talking to your regular, qualified doctor. Kottakkal Ayurveda and no other person associated with Kottakkal is responsible for unwanted side-effects or contraindications in your health.