Preventative medicine is the sum total of our behaviors, such as what foods we eat and how much rest we get, our emotional responses in daily life, and our ability to adapt to the world around us.
Alas, time is not linear; we have come to another change of seasons and I want to impart a little TCM wisdom on how to live in accordance with the world around us.
Because I live in New York, some of this information will vary in it’s timing depending upon your geographical location.
Spring is rearing her pretty head. Slowly she awakes from her slumber, and energetically so do we.
In TCM, the season spring corresponds to the following:
- Direction: East
- Flavor: Sour
- Organ: Liver/Gallbladder
- Tissue: Tendons
- Color: Green
- Direction: East
- Element: Wood
- Emotion: Anger
Most of us are eager for spring to really get under way because, regardless if we are thinking about it, we feel an energetic shift from one of storage to one of birth and growth.
I know many people will want to do a little spring cleaning in the coming weeks in the form of a detox, but the time isn’t quite yet ripe for that.
In the mean time, here are some essential tips to getting your body in sync with the world around you:
This concept as spring being connected to the element of wood means we have to understand the nature of wood. A healthy tree can bend and flex when the wind is fierce, but remain strongly rooted to the earth. If a tree loses a limb or even uproots, this is a sign the tree is not well. Stretching your body increases flexibility by bringing blood, oxygen, nutrients and removing waste from muscle tissue and tendons. And stretching one muscle means contracting and strengthening an opposing muscle. Not only do you benefit those muscles, but you further improve the function of your liver and gall bladder as well as your mind.
2. Eat green things.
The color green is the color of spring and now is the time to really increase your green vegetable intake. The best choice right now are leafy greens and lettuces, sprouts, spring onions, mustard greens, and herbs such as turmeric, basil, marjoram, cumin, fennel, dill, ginger, mint, chamomile and lemon balm which are all helpful in preventing Liver energy from becoming stagnant.
3. Slow to Anger.
Anger is the emotion associated with the Liver and Spring. Becoming excessively angry, and/or perpetually irritable adversely affects the liver. Practice a little restraint when a situation or person gets under your skin. Feeling angry or complaining constantly are self-indulgent and destructive responses. Anger begets anger. Your body’s biochemistry responds to anger by down-regulating serotonin and other feel good neurochemicals. You put yourself in a vulnerable and depressive state by allowing your anger to dominate your emotional landscape. The gall bladder is appointed with making sound judgements and be a leader If you are finding difficulty in making decisions, it is advisable to do a liver gallbladder detox in the coming weeks. More to come on just how to do that.
4. Be open to change.
A key indicator of spring is the schizophrenic shift of weather from day to day over the coming weeks. In order to survive and even thrive, the natural world must be open to erratic and unpredictable changes. Resistance proves harmful to plants, animals and even people without adaptability to un-forseen circumstances.
When the world around you is growing, it is an indicator you should be too! Since we grow in a very limited way physically as adults(namely cellular regeneration) it is advisable you cease the moment to grow your brain. This is an optimal time for birthing a new project, deepening your knowledge of something or diving into something totally obscure to your current life. You will be able to experience the world with fresh eyes and hopefully fuel your passions which may have been lying dormant for the winter.
These subtle shifts in behavior and attitude foster a healthy environment in your body which keeps you in sync with the world around you.
Let me know if this is something you can easily integrate into your life or if it just feels like another task to add to the list. Does this make intuitive sense?