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It has been a long dreary winter. There were days on end when the sun did not even hint at making an appearance, which affected our moods. Regular stress and anxiety can be alleviated somewhat on a sunny day, as we try to soak up the sun and forget our stress and anxiety, even if only for a short time. The prolonged dark, cold days took their toll. More and more people are suffering from depression. Even after spring officially arrived, this winter seems to have been worse this year than most. We hope the weather has finally changed for the better, bringing with it surges of positive energy that can help lighten a sullen mood.

Ongoing stress, anxiety, and depression have a direct correlation to our health. It is impossible to separate our moods and emotions from our physical wellbeing.

In traditional Chinese medicine, we are viewed as an integral part of the world that surrounds us. The transition period between seasons can have a strong influence on our emotions and physical health. It is therefore helpful to understand the changes and help promote a healthy transition period. Spring is linked to the liver organ system and meridian in our bodies. The liver is responsible for our state of calm. You may recall your grandmother saying, “Calm your liver!” That couldn’t be more accurate! The flow of our liver and energy is essential for serenity in our lives. When your liver is out of balance, you may feel emotionally stuck with ongoing stress and tension, and repeatedly express deep sighing and yawning. Additional signs of tension are exhibited in repeated jaw-clenching and an increase in headaches. The liver meridian connects with your eyes, and thus your eyes can feel irritated as seasonal allergies set in. When blood and body fluids aren’t flowing properly, you can feel your muscles tighten up. When the liver is out of balance for a prolonged period of time, you can also see changes in digestion. You may even be more angry, agitated, and frustrated than normal. We tend to lose ourselves to the emotions as things get carried away. These are classic signs that your liver qi and blood aren’t flowing smoothly. It is important to intervene before it reaches this level.

Get regular acupuncture treatments. This is key to helping alleviate the symptoms during this transitional period. It is important to take control over your emotions and promote healthy liver flow which equates to a healthy balance and serenity in our body and in our lives. Acupuncture is integral in helping alleviate the stress, anxiety, and depression. It can help promote healthy digestion, alleviate the tightness in your body, and keep the frustration and anger in check.

Drink more water to help nurture the body. This also ensures you are not getting dehydrated, which can further cause depression and fatigue, as well as tightness in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Eat small healthy meals throughout the day. As opposed to large meals, small meals can help regulate blood sugars and avoid highs and lows that can cause us to feel frustrated and have temper flare-ups.

Meditation is a wonderful tool to help escape. You don’t need to sign up for a class or wear gym clothing. You can meditate anywhere. You can be sitting at your desk in your office, even holding a baby on your couch at home… anywhere. Simply relax your mind and body and allow your thoughts to go to your happy place. Take some deep cleansing breaths and allow your breathing to slow down. Doing this for a few minutes in the middle of a hectic day can help you regain some control and stability.

Exercise is key. Those who have reaped the benefits may become junkies. Not only because of how they look, but because of how it makes them feel. Not being able to get to a class, or failing to allot a specific time to exercise, isn’t an excuse. We can all find 10-15 minutes in our day. Take a break, take a brisk walk around the block, do some stretches, some sit-ups, etc. Get yourself moving! As soon as you do, you are releasing endorphins which help change the mood and help soothe our livers, thereby having an immediate calming effect on the body.

Acupuncture treatments combined with good habits can change your day-to-day quality of life. It’s time to take back your health and make room for the growth, rebirth, and renewal of spring. 

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