Views expressed in this article are those of the author, not necessarily the Health & Wellness Committee, and are not a substitute for talking to your own doctor.
What is emotional wellness? Is it feeling happy or joyful all the time, or most of the time? This would be denying a natural and human part of ourselves — the full spectrum of our emotions. We tend to judge our emotions instead of embracing our humanity. When we shift toward allowing our emotional experiences and observing them in our bodies, we can begin to cultivate acceptance and compassion for ourselves and a deeper sense of well-being.
“E-motion” stands for energy in motion. As a Five Element-style acupuncturist, I understand emotions through their connection with the energetic movement of the seasons. Each emotion can be felt in “dis-ease” and in wellness. The emotions associated with the late summer season are worry and thoughtfulness.
The five elements correspond to five seasons — the fifth being late summer, which is associated with the Earth element. During this time, fruits ripen and we savor their sweetness. The planning, hard work, love and tending from spring and summer have come to fruition. Now we must be thoughtful about how we give and receive the nourishment we have cultivated. Before the age of supermarkets, we would have been very thoughtful about how to make late summer’s harvest last until the following spring. And if there was not enough, we would naturally be worried.
Let’s look at the energetic movement of thoughtfulness and worry. Like the roundness of the fruits and the swarming insects of late summer, these emotions tend to move round and round or travel from center to periphery and back to center.
What is the energetic movement of your thinking? How much do you think about yourself and others? Are you being thoughtful or worrying? Are you worried that you’re being too thoughtful? Do you wish others did more for you? Don’t overthink this. Instead, as you ask yourself these questions, notice the speed and direction of your thoughts. Fast? Slow? Toward center or periphery? Round and round?
Here is my acupuncturist’s advice for those who overthink or worry:
Ask yourself, “Does this thinking have any benefit?” If so, follow that train of thought and take action. If not, use your newfound awareness to create change or let it go completely.
You can also take note of how your worry sheds light on that which you value most — perhaps love, safety, wellness, a person, a place. Notice the subject of your worry and practice being thoughtful about shifting to gratitude instead of ruminating on the worry.
Find your center and stay grounded. When we get too involved in our thinking, our energy concentrates in our heads and we may experience headaches, digestive issues or insomnia. Practice putting your hand on your belly and bringing your breath to your center. Practice feeling your feet on the ground and bring your energy toward the Earth. Thank the Earth for its sustenance and nourishment.
Get regular acupuncture treatments to support your body, mind and spirit to achieve and maintain wellness. As the many benefits of acupuncture accumulate, you can develop a new understanding of and relationship with your emotions.
Rachel Kriger is a Five Element-style acupuncturist who works with kids and their grownups. This is the fourth of a five-part series exploring the emotions. Parts 1-3 can be found at www.pointsofreturnacupuncture.com/pediatric-acupuncture-blog.