Using the Wisdom of Chinese Medicine
We all have heard the numerous reports of ways to reduce your chances of developing cancer through diet and exercise. We know to increase our intake of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables and to reduce our intake of fatty meats, especially non-organic ones that may have been exposed to carcinogens.
But did you know that in addition to watching our bodies on the physical level, keeping our emotions in proper balance can also reduce risks of serious illness such as cancer? According to Chinese Medicine theory, five primary emotions when expressed inappropriately or left unresolved overtime can lead to certain illness. The primary emotion most commonly associated with cancer risks is that of anger.
Not all anger is inappropriate, and a certain amount can be healthy such as anger over an injustice that motivates us to stand up for ourselves or do something positive for those in need. For example, if you are promised something by an employer, family member or friend who then fails to deliver, you may feel angry. The key to staying healthy from a Chinese Medicine perspective is to appropriately act on that anger by speaking to the person involved in a calm but direct way to resolve the situation.
When we suppress that healthy anger rather than acting in a positive way to resolve it, we create disharmony in the body. The Chinese describe this in terms of “Qi”, the life force or energy of the body. Healthy Qi flows through the body seamlessly and effortlessly, keeping us cool, calm and collected. Suppressing anger rather than resolving it causes the Qi to stagnate, leading to physical illness.
Over time, a person who experiences stagnant Qi becomes quick to anger at minor annoyances because the original source of injustice was never resolved. Stagnant Qi can manifest as muscle tension, stabbing pains, high blood pressure, increased feelings of heat especially in the head, and eventually tumors or certain forms of cancer.
To help keep Qi flowing smoothly and your body illness-free, start with evaluating your response to upsetting situations. When you have been legitimately wronged, are you comfortable facing the conflict and resolving it or do you avoid the situation hoping it will resolve itself? Are you able to calmly address issues with friends and family as they arise or do you find yourself more often screaming and yelling above what the situation warrants?
Many holistic health professionals, such as life coaches, can give you tips to make conflict resolution easier. If you are ready to make a change, but are just too upset to know where to begin, you might consider taking a meditation class to calm the mind and gain perspective on the conflict, or a movement class with a focus on breathing such as Tai Chi or Qi Gong. Acupuncture and massage are also great ways to get stagnant qi moving, and your practitioner can show you some techniques to do for on your own when you face a conflict situation.