Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Acupuncture….and the Spirit
Over the years I’ve been treating I have found that stress, anxiety and depression are often the root cause of many different illnesses. I’ve also found that acupuncture is an effective treatment and can have a profound effect on the spirit.
We know what’s good for us!
“Whoever swims in the chaotic currents of life cannot be without trouble.” C. Jung
Apart from maybe meditating monks who practise their art seven hours a day in a mountain monastery, people are prone to ‘stress’;that all-encompassing term for the pressures of modern life. The thing is, nowadays, when we recognise that we’re becoming stressed, there is a wealth of information about what to do about it; (that’s a stress in itself!).
We can find yoga and meditation classes, go running, make kale juices etc etc. The problem is sometimes our energy and our minds – or our Qi – are so disordered and out of balance that we can feel overwhelmed and anxious and feel lacking in energy and motivation.
In this state we tend to react rather than respond to life. It’s an important distinction because when we react to the ‘chaotic currents’ we thrash around and find it hard to be clear and decisive about the important things in our lives. Instead we become angry and frustrated easily; we become over-sensitive to perceived negative comments from people, notably family and friends.
As stress levels rise and quality of sleep decreases these negative emotions intensify; anxiety levels increase; we can feel depressed; our thoughts becomes stuck and repetitive; we worry continually about the same things, with the mind running in a loop.
Eventually anxiety levels can increase to the point where we cease to function effectively; we feel panicky and overwhelmed and unable to deal with the future. Waking in the morning often brings with it a rush of these unpleasant feelings and we often don’t want to face the day. From this point we may develop panic attacks which are particularly debilitating.
Chinese medicine has some interesting names for this state of affairs: ‘Heart and Kidney Qi not harmonized’ and ‘Running piglet Qi’. This second one sounds rather amusing, but of course there is nothing funny about how we’re feeling at this point with our mind and emotions squealing off in all directions!
At this point our emotional state can also ‘stagnate’ ie our energy/Qi becomes unable to flow and we become withdrawn and disconnected as we go into depression. Other people and the outside world give us no pleasure with anger and fear being our dominant emotions.
So, being the resourceful people we are we try do something about it; we become ‘proactive’! We do the things mentioned above: try yoga or meditation or cycling or juicing or giving up alcohol and caffeine and sugar etc.
Of course these are all admirable pursuits but because our energy/Qi hasn’t changed we find it hard to stick to them after the initial burst of enthusiasm, or we become frustrated when positive results are not swiftly gained. The problem is we are still in reactive, anxious angry mode. So we become stuck and often cannot see a way out.
Acupuncture has a role to play here.
It can act as a virtuous intervention in peoples’ lives by helping calm their minds down. With traditional acupuncture treatment people are able to sleep better, think more clearly and find themselves again.
Acupuncture can be a powerful middle ground between the ‘talking therapies’ and the medical intervention ones. People are able to find their core being again; connect with others and get back on the path to feeling happy again.
Once people are in a calmer state of mind they find they can respond rather than react to life. Responding means coming from a calmer place; metaphorically counting to 10 before we do or say things. This has a very beneficial effect on our emotions.
Intuition and Spirit
We are able to be more reflective in our daily lives and are able to pursue beneficial activities without too much concern about outcome. Rather, we know intuitively what is good for us and how we should go about things. In Chinese medicine this shows that our Spirit is in a healthy state.