Balance is key to living a long and happy life. You know from playing with blocks as a child that you could build a higher tower if the blocks were balanced. The same is true for people. We are physical, mental, emotional, spiritual beings with social connections. We live the way we please, often with some influence of other people’s desires. To be truly free involves looking at what really works for you as an individual. What makes you the very most happy, alive and well?
No two people are exactly the same in the conditions that promote optimal wellness but there are some general guidelines which fit most of us. Chinese medicine recognizes several important factors, including:
Nutrition: Eating is not just to fill the belly and get us through to the next meal but to nourish all the cells in our bodies and give us mental strength and clarity. Eating healthy foods means noticing what foods help you feel your best. Fresh foods have more life in them than processed. Ideally, you would pick your produce from your garden, come in and prepare it and enjoy the satisfying flavors and aromas from this food that has given its life for you. Eating in pleasant surroundings with people you love, who accept you as you are makes it even more enjoyable.
Sleep: While the number of hours varies from person to person, one should be able to wake rested and refreshed without an alarm clock. The sleeping room is best if dark and cool and used only for sleep and sex. Calm is the theme. Rubbing the bottoms of your feet before bed may help. Also, a gentle massage at the top of your neck just below your head may promote relaxation.
Exercise: Movement is important. When we were children, we ran, hung upside down on monkey bars, jumped up and down, rolled around on the ground, laughed and wiggled. Now, most of us do the same types of activities over and over, without giving our bodies a wide variety of movement opportunities. This may lead to stiffness and lack of mobility. Gradual stretching in ways that are not our normal movement patterns may help restore mobility. Try doing backstroke swimming motions to loosen the shoulders. Try leaning backwards and see how that feels.
Emotions: We all have anger, sadness, fear, and stress. The main point is to feel it and release it in a healthy manner and come back to centered joy. While it is not appropriate to take anger out on someone else, it can often be released with a brisk walk and deep breathing. There may be times when emotions are overwhelming. If your coping strategies are not enough, professional counseling may be beneficial.
Spiritual connection: Taking time for quiet reflection, meditation and prayer is often overlooked in our busy lives. It is a cornerstone to guide our days into something meaningful when we encounter the transcendent. Awe and wonder give rise to appreciation and passionate interest.
Mental: Our mental diet is as important as our food. Encouraging, uplifting thoughts bring more of the same. A steady diet of worrisome news is not normal. It is junk food to our mental palate. Focus on worthy thoughts. If a problem is in view, choose to focus on the solution.
Social: People we associate with often have a profound impact of lifting us up or dragging us down. It is a rare human who can maintain personal well-being and sense of self in an environment of continual negativity. Choosing friends who support your inner growth is powerful. Shakespeare wrote, “A friend is one who knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”
Be at peace with yourself. No one can tell you how to live your life successfully. The only one who really knows is you. One way to look at life is to imagine yourself on your deathbed. From that point look back over your life and see which parts you really value. The perspective from that point of view is often enlightening. Love yourself and the opportunity this life gives you.
The goal of Traditional Chinese Medicine is to help you come back into balance. The idea is that your body is like a garden. If it is given the right amount of sunshine and shade, water and nutrients, it will flourish. The tools used by a practitioner include listening, acupuncture, acupressure, massage, herbal formulas, Qi Gong (gentle exercise) and nutrition information.
May you be blessed with a fulfilling life. If you wish a 10-15 minute free phone consultation to see if Chinese medicine can benefit you, please call 352-222-1679.