Archive | February, 2012

How emotions cause disease in the body Part 1: Anger

2 Feb

Chinese Medicine considers that there are many causes for disease in the body; these can be categorized as internal, external and miscellaneous causes.

External causes are mainly associated with climactic conditions such as cold, damp, heat, wind and dryness. These invade the body when it is vulnerable or weak and cause illness.

Miscellaneous causes of disease can be lifestyle factors including diet exercise, work and rest.

Internal causes  of disease are associated with our emotions.These are anger,grief, worry, over thinking,joy and shock.Even though there are only seven in Chinese Medicine it does include all the others too and the various shades in-between for example fear can encompass fright, terror,dread or anxiety as like grief can include emptiness, longing, regret or remorse.

Anger can come in many different forms – frustration, guilt, resentment, and bitterness.

In Chinese Medicine Anger is said to make the Qi rise and can lead to many symptoms like headaches, migraines, eye complaints, tension in the neck and shoulders, raised blood pressure and stroke.

When we transform negative patterns it is best not to fight them, as this will only give them more strength. The best way to resolve them is through positive influence like affirmation and/or creative visualization.

Therefore to scold and condemn oneself for being angry or trying to force oneself to be tolerant would be useless and only lead to further internal pressure. It would be more useful and powerful to visualize for example, an act of kindness and consideration to another person every day, putting energy through a positive visualization.

The main challenge for people with an abundance of wood energy and a tendency to anger is to slow down and cultivate a discipline of inner peace; to act out of stillness and certainty and not out of impatience and stress, to learn to relax and surrender and let go of the pressures of their plans and decisions. By doing this they can develop their intuition and flow more smoothly and in harmony with life.

There are times in life when wood energy is vital, it represents the potential to move towards something, overcoming obstacles and challenges and is crucial in setting things in motion.

Its associated season is spring when life bursts forth pushing upwards and outwards. This energy is needed in our lives in the given appropriate situation like when we need to assert ourselves, make important life changing decisions and plans, or stand up for what we believe in.

But at other times it may be a hindrance when we can control ourselves and it becomes imbalanced and causes destruction with our mental emotional lives and then starts to effect out bodies. This is when we need to take action and find ways to redirect and focus this energy and work on our virtues and qualities to help transform it into the positive.

In life, and also reflected in Chinese Medicine, things are not all black and white, as we can see in the yin yang symbol, which underpins one of the main principles in Chinese medicine.

From this symbol we see a little bit of black in the white side and visa versa, this shows that not everything is just opposites but has aspects of one in the other. It implies that nothing stays the same. Things are always interchanging, inter-transformational and interestingly interdependent on each other. As is so in pathogenesis of disease and with the internal causes of the emotions.

Emotions therefore have their extreme opposites and many shades in between.  The yin side of anger is depression and hopelessness. Methods can be applied to help the free flow of this emotion back to its normal healthy state.

If anger is suppressed for a long time it can lead to stagnation and other imbalances in the body. Therefore suppressing ones anger is just as destructive as outwardly releasing and uncontrollably engaging it.

So how do we express it in a safe and positive way? Throughout this article I will hopefully find and share tools to help mange and balance each of these two extremes.

When we can harness this energy and use it in its positive aspects we can transform the negative components into wondrous and virtuous counterparts; the transformation of anger, guilt, frustration and resentment and bitterness, into forgiving, acceptance, consideration and understanding.

Helping to achieve and receive these virtues:

We need to understand that there are times of no action and change, either in the outside world or within ourselves. We need to accept times of rest, be patient and allow ourselves to tune into our higher self, access our intuition and clearly see and decide which way to go. We have to learn to over come selfishness and learn to love and experience compassion and consideration for others. This comes through being able to see from other points of view, the saying goes “never judge a man unless you have walked a whole day in his shoes”. Learn to replace anger with calm, and impatience with patience, and finally judgment with observation.

Anger can be dealt with. It doesn’t have to be feared or disgusted or indulged in and has to be learnt to be expressed when appropriate and when it is best to stay quite.

One way to help transform anger into acceptance is through forgiveness.

How forgiveness helps to release anger.

 The freedom in a simple act of forgiveness saves the expense of anger and the high cost of hatred.

Forgiveness can buy peace of mind.

Just think of everything that has been directed at you for which you bear grudges and hostility. Every hurt or sting is like being bitten by a snake.

You rarely die from the injury but the venom of the incident still flows within and through your system. The venom is your bitterness and hatred that you hang onto long after you have been hurt and it is this venom that will ultimately destroy your peace of mind.

The antidote is forgiveness and is not as difficult as you may believe to do. When we forgive it relieves us of burdens of resentment and past grievances and can allow us to let go!!

Think of all the people in your life who have wronged you in any way, regardless of how severe or recent it may have been and make a choice to let go and forgive. This true act comes from your heart. Do it for yourself! To provide the antidote to the poison that you have allowed to flow through you.

Be aware that your parents and everyone else in your past did what they knew how to do given on the conditions of their lives. You cannot ask more of anyone. Perhaps you would not have done it their way, so learn from it. By forgiving you recognize that deep injuries will not recover until you let go of past grievances and forgive. So make that choice and lighten your load you will immediately feel freer than you ever felt.

Make the effort to let go of the labeling process of life – Look past skin bone structure, right and wrong and realize that we are all part of the same energy.

By understanding our inherent/true nature we can realize that essentially we are a part of everything and are interconnected like the underlying philosophies represented by the yin yang symbol. This knowledge brings about an understanding that if we anger toward others we essentially anger toward ourselves.

Learn to forgive yourself for the wrongs that you have done to others. It is difficult to forgive others if you cannot forgive yourself! Shame and guilt are also negative and destructive emotions that we hold in our bodies. We can affirm to ourselves that we have learnt from our past experiences and cannot change them so therefore the solution is to forgive ourselves, let go and move on.

Sometimes we anger because what we see in the world is not right in our eyes. Sometimes we cannot change it and we get frustrated and angry, but by changing our perceptions and responses to these issues we do not become so easily affected, and we are able to help in different ways and see and respond clearly, not from an uncontrollable emotion which could lead to more hurt and suffering. I guess what I mean is once we can balance this side of ourselves we can see clearly how to act and respond in the best way in any given situation. Whether that is to not respond at all or to take arms and stand up for what is just and right.

3 steps to change and balance

  1. Perceive a problem
  2. Find the true abilities within ones-self
  3. Develop strength of self and have perseverance to make the change

Out of the five elements Anger is such a strong and forceful emotion and its expression, and finding its expression, in our society can be quite difficult as it is seen as a “bad” emotion to express; whereas for example fear, worry, happiness and even grief, are quite tolerable and less imposing on others. Anger is seen as a direct and imposing force.

  •     Releasing anger through the voice: sometimes by singing very loudly we can help emotions to flow or move smoothly in, out and through the body. When people anger they shout in order to release the feelings inside themselves.
  • Singing is a great way to express this emotion in a more acceptable way that engaging with the anger.It can be through a good belting rock song in the car or by singing in the shower or at karaoke or joining a choir singing is a great way to move this bottled emotion.
  •     Another way to move the emotion is through physical exercise, punching cushions or punch bags, running or walking off an intense session, racket sports or stamping feet theses are safe way of letting go of our blocked or stuck feelings can practice for 5-10 mins.

Remember that clearing emotions can be important release, but they will resurface unless the underlying causes are also dealt with.

We can get angry for many reasons including not being appreciated, feeling frightened, not feeling respected or loved therefore forgiveness is needed to help move through these feelings otherwise it may never be cleared fully.

  •     Visualisation of a kind act can help
  •      Meditation can also help but for some this can be very difficult and generate more tension and stress. In this case have a vigorous exercise session then meditate afterwards, try not to fall asleep!:)
  •     Qi Gong for the Liver – The liver is the associated organ connected to the emotion of anger. When we feel frustrated and angry we can feel very tight and constricted around the ribcage where the liver and GB lie. This exercise will help to loosen up this area and help to free up the energy of these channels down the sides of the body.
  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent
  2. Raise hands interlocked above head with palms facing downwards
  3. Lean over to one side and then take a deep breath in and out
  4. Return back to the centre.
  5. Repeat on the other side
  6. Altogether you can repeat this 6 times on either side

See Paul demonstrating in the picture below

References

Angie Hicks – Healing you Emotions

Wisdom of the Ages – Wayne Dyer

The Seven Types of Stress – Yair Maimon in EJOM Journal Vol 6 No5 2010-11

Acupuncture Point combinationsAcupuncture point combinations:

the key to clinical success- Jeremy Ross