When we’re unaware of the subtle influences that affect our moods, it is easy to become dominated by our emotions. We tend to identify completely with our emotions, and they are no longer just a single component of life. This reveals itself in statements such as “I am angry,” “ I am depressed,” and so forth, and will inhibit the ability to spontaneously respond with the appropriate expression in any given situation.
We often are content with mental consolations such as “I am entitled to feel however I feel. This is the way I am.” Or we may fall into the opposite extreme and suppress our emotions, denying the positive and healthy function of normal emotional reactions. This violates our true nature and occurs frequently in religious traditions or families that discourage healthy emotional development.
A positive emotional life comes from the conscious guiding and directing of our internal energy. Below is a three step process for guiding your feelings in a healthy and constructive way using positive emotional attributes.
Step 1: Self Awareness
When a feeling arises in reaction to a situation, become aware of the true feeling and acknowledge it. The emphasis is on the true feeling rather than a false, rationalized feeling. For example, I recently had a patient who did not get the promotion she was expecting. Instead of acknowledging her disappointment, sadness, and resentment, she rationalized that maybe she didn’t deserve it or that her boss didn’t like her. She was depressed and paralyzed by a fear that she was not liked. I pointed out to her that by identifying and acknowledging her true feelings, which were sadness and anger, she could prevent unconscious emotional suppression and then move on to working with these energies.
Step 2: Association
Connect the emotional energies to the positive qualities associated with each corresponding element. Sadness is associated with metal element, or the lung/large intestine network. Crying tears of disappointment or releasing anger through singing can relieve sadness quickly. My patient got instant relief from her emotional burden by both crying and singing. Her sadness also allowed her to develop empathy for the pressure her boss was under. Anger in its healthy form, motivates action: the patient was able to positively harness her anger by implementing a plan of action to improve her odds of getting the next promotion.
I also reminded her that her sadness could affect the respiratory and immune systems of the lung/large intestine network and the nervous system of the liver/gallbladder network, and vice versa. I asked her to look out for the sadness transferring to these networks, but also to keep in mind that problems in these areas could make her more vulnerable to sadness and anger.
Step 3: Transformation
Convert your emotional energy to health enhancing energy. Through meditation, acupressure, and mind body exercises like tai chi and qigong, you can promote the ceaseless circulation of your internal energy and convert emotions into beneficial physical or spiritual energy. To continue with the example above, I taught my patient to activate acupoints along the lung/large intestine and live/gallbladder energy networks while reciting “I release sadness and anger from my lungs and liver and fill my being with empathy and confidence.”
This technique can correct any imbalance that the emotions may have caused and transform the emotional energy into productive physical energy. Another method involves practicing qigong exercise that works to strengthen the metal and wood elements. I have a form of Self-Healing Qi Gong Meditation, which has been passed down for 38 generations in my family of healers, and it is available on a DVD that can help people attain serenity and sooth the spirit. Ideally the patient will be able to convert her sadness and anger into healing energy for her lung and liver networks.
Emotional imbalance often comes from tiredness and tension. Most parents know when their children are about to have an emotional breakdown—when they are tired, hungry, or hurried. Unfortunately, adults are often woefully unaware of the impact of low energy and stress on their own emotional lives. Rest and relaxation are essential for renewal and emotional balance. Activities for children such as nap time, quiet time, and story time are designed to help them rest and relax. You, too, can benefit from regular, structured times for rest and relaxation, which will help you restore your physical energy and maintain emotional balance.
May you Live Long, Live Strong, and Live Happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, popularly known as Dr. Mao, is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He practices acupuncture, nutrition and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, a Wellness Medicine group that won the “L.A.’s Best” Award. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica over 25 years ago. In addition, he is the cofounder and Chancellor of Yo San University in Venice/Marina del Rey. To subscribe to a free newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at [email protected]