Why you have Anxiety

Here we are, in the cyclone of vata. We see people expressing their imbalances in extremes of all kinds.

A great part of what I’m hearing from people is an expression of vata excess, or imbalance, in the mind. While there are many ways to describe a vata state of mind, the key word in our culture seems to be anxiety.

When I think of the patterns of my conversations surrounding anxiety, they mostly sound something like this:

Q: What is anxiety?

A: It’s a state of vata excess, in the mind and body. It can feel like worry, fear, dread, insecurity, overwhelm, hypersensitivity, poor impulse control, internal conflict, indecision, instability, and you get the idea. A lot of people describe anxiety as feeling stressed.


Q: What do you mean by ‘a state of vata excess, in the mind and body?’

A: It’s an energetic state where there is more vata present in your life than your being prefers.

According to Ayurveda, we can sense imbalance at the level of spiritual intuition first. If the imbalance remains unrecognized, we will then see  signs of that same imbalance at the level of the emotions and mentation patterns. If the imbalance  remains unaddressed, we  manifest signs and symptoms of that imbalance in the tissues of the body.

In my experience, the first tissues affected in the body are the digestive. This is why we are all acutely aware of the effects of stress on our guts.


Q: How do I know if there is more vata present in my life than my being prefers?

A: Simple, if you have an excess of vata energy, you will be seeing signs and symptoms of vata imbalance (see table below).





Feeling like you’ve been doing a lot but still don’t really have a sense of where you are headed in this life, what you are about, or where you feel at “home”

A pervading feeling of restlessness, or being unsettled

trouble sleeping





difficulty focusing

difficulty completing tasks

cycling of emotions

impulsive speech or behavior

addictive tendencies

interrupting your own thoughts with tangential ones

dry (and itchy) skin

dry hair

brittle nails, dry cuticles

dry lips and mucous membranes

runny nose

dry scratchy throat

dry, itchy eyes

gas, intestinal gurgling, belching


constipation, hard stools, straining

low appetite and bloating

increased coating on tongue

PAIN, especially musculoskeletal

stiff, creaky-cracky joints

dark circles under your eyes

increased urinary frequency

inability to sit still

tremor, unsteadiness in movement


Q: Okay, great. I have a vata imbalance. How did this happen?

A: Don’t feel badly. Practically everyone I know, including myself has vata imbalance.

It’s a result of living in a very vata environment–modern urban living. We can see the clear abundance of vata energy in our culture in the incredible amount of movement, transition, and stimuli alone. Modernization, globalization and urbanization are forces high in vata.

So  environment is one clear input of vata energy into your being. Vata energy can be coming into your life in as many ways as there are energy. The most common inputs of vata I see in peoples’ lives today are transitions (e.g. divorce, moving, change of career), travel, lack of routine, and eating habits (e.g. processed foods, eating while surfing the internet). This is why most everybody in our modern culture has experienced anxiety on the rise.


Q: Now I’m completely overwhelmed, and don’t remember or didn’t process most of what you said because I was thinking about other things….um, what was I going to say? Oh yeah, so how do I get rid of this extra vata if it’s coming in through all these different ways?

A. The good news is that as you balance vata, you will feel less overwhelmed, and have improved processing and memory.

There are as many opportunities to balance vata, as there are inputs of vata. The key here is to choose the opposite qualities of vata in every aspect of your life. So aiming for more warmth, grounding, stability, stillness and nurturance in all facets of your life: relationships, career, routine, and food for example. 

Check out the 10 Ways to Reduce Anxiety blog here


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