As much as I'd love for this post to be about the Vulcan mind meld, it is not. Sorry.
Anyways, I've mentioned a few ways to cool pitta already - here & here - but it would be quite remiss of me if I didn't mention how to cool off some of those pitta thoughts. As pittas, our digestion is fiery, our interactions are intense, our gaze is focused, and our skin can be inflamed. Our thoughts, though, might even fiery-er! We are harsh critics of ourselves and others, think that making a to-do list in savasana IS rest, and get irritated, angry, and annoyed when people can't keep up with us! Did you know that murder rates go up in Summer? Yeah, you can blame pitta dosha for that!
If you are a yogi you might know a little something about the gunas - tamas, rajas, and sattva. The gunas are the three fundamental forces of nature. Tamas is state of inactivity, inertia, and darkness. Rajas is a state of energy, action, and change. Sattva is state of harmony, clarity, and balance. The three gunas are constantly competing among themselves. In order for one to be dominant, it must suppress the others. Throughout your life you probably go in and out of these three states a million different times. I think that changing those hot pitta thoughts to cool ones is all about coming out of the tamasic and rajasic states and into a sattvic one. It take A LOT of effort, believe me, to notice your thoughts and begin to replace them with other ones. But, like many other alternative health paths, Ayurveda believes mind, body and spirit are all related. You can't expect to pacify a dosha without thinking of the relationship between mind and body.
It might be helpful to identify what state you are in to begin with. A tamasic pitta will harbor hatred, resentment, and hostility. They can be destructive and violent and can take it out on anyone who gets in their way. Rajasic pittas are very goal oriented and usually want to get to the top of the ladder. They can be critical and controlling as they achieve goals, and often have disregard for the means by which they find success. Sattvic pittas are disciplined, perceptive, and discerning and always consider the point of view of others. They are courageous, warm, and compassionate. Great as leaders, they are adored and respected by those they serve.
Now, these are the extremes of these states. You might be able to see a little of yourself in each, which is how it often is. You might not be destructive and violent, but maybe you take your anger out on others in smaller ways. You might not step on people as you work towards your goals, but maybe you stress other people out along the way, or only critique and never compliment. More generally, a tamasic pitta might feel something and act on it without thinking. A rajasic pitta might feel something, and understand why they feel that way, and even want to change, but not quite know how to. So, how do we change some of these heated emotions and thoughts into cooler more sattvic ones?
I think the first step, like my solution to many things, is to pay attention. If you believe yourself to have critical, judgmental, angry thoughts - maybe you carry around a notebook and just make a hash mark every time one of these thoughts comes up. Try not to attach any worth to the amount of hash marks, large or small, but just start to pay attention to those thoughts.
The next step is to start replacing those thoughts with different ones. You don't have to start by replacing ALL of them, maybe it is just one or two a day. I often get annoyed when people can't keep up with what I'm saying, and in those moments I choose to shut down those critical thoughts and replace them with something more compassionate about the person I'm engaging with. We are all just people trying our best with what we have, guys! And, often, I realized I just need to slow down! I'll totally skip steps while explaining something and realize that it is MY fault they can't keep up, because I am communicating poorly.
You also might ask yourself why you are really feeling the way you are feeling. Sometimes I get angry with someone else when I've eaten a rajasic food, or when I'm having some personal issues I'm taking out on somebody else. I mean, we've all been there right? Sometimes it's appropriate to replace your thoughts with something more compassionate, and sometimes it's appropriate to look inside and understand why you are actually feeling a certain way, and then changing from there. Sometimes it's a little bit of both.
It might also be helpful to think about what a hot emotion/thought is and what a cool emotion/thought is. Having cooling thoughts in your arsenal makes it easier to replace the hot ones when they bubble up to the surface! The hot ones are easy - feeling angry, irritable, critical, judgmental, destructive, self-centered, unaware, or a lack of compassion. The cool thoughts are those of calm, serenity, love, compassion, slowness, peace, understanding, empathy, and stillness. When you get all heated in your dome piece, try to stay calm, cool, and collected and find away to have compassion and understanding for those you are engaging with. Simple, but not always easy.
And, since the mind & body are connected, you might try eliminating rajasic and tamasic foods. There are foods that vitiate or alleviate each dosha, but there are also foods that can bring more rajas, tamas, or sattva into our lives. (There is a a great list you can download at this awesome website). If you notice you eat a lot of these things and have those pitta emotions, it might be worth ridding them from your diet and seeing if you notice a difference! Sometimes you just don't know until you know. I used to have soy all the time and feel irritable all of the time. After giving it up and then trying it again it became obvious that it was the main culprit for that feeling!
Well, that was kind of a whirlwind post that went in lots of different directions! Hope it was helpful and I would love to hear about your hot emotions and what you do to cool them down! Thanks so much for visiting my blog!