Why are emotions running high this October?
15th October 2018
Has anyone else noticed that everyone seems to have gone a bit mad recently? Emotions are running high, friends and patients are struggling with anxiety and stress more than usual, relationships are under strain, children are acting up. Usually I would blame this on a full moon, but it seems to have been going on for a few weeks now. What the heck is going on?
I have decided to credit this madness to the recent Autumn Equinox.
This year the autumn equinox arrived on Saturday, September 22, 2018, officially marking the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. The word “equinox” comes from Latin and means “equal night,” referring to the roughly 12-hour day and 12-hour night that occurs only on the two equinox days of the year. The days after the Autumn Equinox become shorter and the nights are longer as our country is facing away from the sun. Obviously countries in the Southern Hemisphere begin their spring and summer seasons, as the opposite is true for them.
I know this might seem a far fetched idea as western cultures don’t tend to look too much at the universal forces of nature and how it affects our behaviour. But it is fundamental to the philosophies and medicine of Eastern Cultures. The Five Elements Theory (Wu Xing) of Traditional Chinese Medicine categorises all aspects of the world we live in (seasons of the year, smells, tastes, sounds, organs of the body, emotions) and looks at the way they influence and balance each other.
Autumn is the season associated with the Metal element.
Metal reflects our core issues, the most refined part of ourselves. Our core issues are those dealing with existential reality, meaning questions of, “Who am I?” “What is my lifework?” “What remains constant in a forever changing world?” These are difficult questions which can take a lifetime (if ever) to answer confidently. A constant questioning of “who am I” can also lead to feelings of insecurity, lack of confidence, self esteem, anxiety and depression.
The Five Element Theory suggests that during the Autumn months, we are more likely to find ourselves evaluating our core issues.
There are other aspects of life associated with the Autumn (Metal) season:
The Emotion is Sadness or Grief
The emotion connected with Autumn is grief or sadness and the sound associated with Autumn is crying/ weeping. In autumn we say farewell to the abundance of summer (Harvest Festival) and prepare ourselves for a long, reflective winter. The Metal element connects us with the ability to let go of the past and create the space for the new. If there is an internal imbalance or disharmony we may struggle to do this and create feelings of stress, unhappiness and anxiety.
The organs of the body connected with the Metal element are the Lungs and the Large Intestine, which reflect the spiritual nature of the season, the letting go and receiving.
The Lungs are the organs of respiration, responsible for supplying oxygenated blood to every organ of the body and eliminating the waste matter from the cells through our expiration. The word used for breathing in is “inspiration,” which is the main function of the Lung, both physically and spiritually. To be properly “inspired,” we must create space by getting the old stale air out, along with old, preconceived notions of reality.
In emotional and spiritual terms, the Lungs balance the ability to yield and demand, give and take, hold on and let go. When the Lung (Metal) energy is out of balance, order and discipline are rigidly maintained, the emotions are kept under tight control, rules and routines become inflexible, and the body begins to stiffen up. Physically we are more prone to bronchial infections and sinusitis. Our allergies are amplified and issues like asthma and heaviness of the chest can appear.
The Large Intestine
At first glance, the Lungs and the Large Intestine seem to have little in common with each other, as one is involved with respiration and the other with digestion. But Traditional Chinese Medicine views things energetically rather then purely physically. The bowel is the organ of elimination and is responsible for helping the body eliminate waste. Only when the body is cleansed of toxic matter can it receive the more refined energy brought in by its partner, the Lung.
So how can we break the cycle and start to regain emotional balance?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine we look to restore a harmony and balance within the body and emotions. Your emotional state can affect the performance of your body and vice-versa. To improve your mental wellbeing, improve your physical wellbeing.
If the Lungs are the organ which is in disharmony, bringing feelings of sadness we can look to improve their physical performance which in turn, will help the emotion. For example, taking deep breaths filling the whole of the lungs. As adults we forget how to breathe properly. Take part in challenging exercise which makes you breathe properly and effectively. Maybe participate in a yoga class which teaches you how to breathe as your body moves and stretches.
If the Large Intestine is not functioning properly, either with sluggish digestion, constipation or loose movements, look to improve your diet. Nourish your body properly so that it can function better. A disharmony of the Large Intestine can lead to feelings of not being able to let go, hoarding belongings, not being able to move on (from a relationship or situation). Most people who have good satisfying bowel movements are happier.
As the metal element is prone to dryness, make sure that you are hydrating yourself. Drink enough water every day (2 litres please) and wrap up warmly when going outside in the wind.
You may chose to have a consultation with a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor or acupuncturist, who is trained to diagnose which organs are imbalanced. Acupuncture points are chosen to guide the Qi of the body to where it is needed for healing. All of the acupuncture points have emotional as well as physical functions. It is not painful and can be extremely relaxing. Quite often the benefits are felt immediately and can improve even further after just a few treatments.
If you would like to have a chat about how I could help you, my contact details are below.
Director at Pink Lotus Acupuncture, Wilmslow, Cheshire.