Who isn’t worried? It affects everyone, because that’s the kind of world we live in now. But why do some people worry more than others? In Chinese Medicine worry can be caused by an underlying weakness of the Spleen, Heart or Lungs, or a combination of all three. Worrying can therefore be a symptom of an internal imbalance. Over time it can create an imbalance which leads to, you’ve guessed it, more worrying. And on and on it goes.
Some people are more susceptible to worry
According to Chinese Medicine a person with a more earthy constitution will be more prone to this sort of problem than others. This might include people who choose (or are forced) to be overly involved in other people’s stories and therefore not listening to their own heart’s voice. I see this a lot in my clinic: people who have all the time the world to care for others, but no time for themselves.
Exhaustion, eating disorders, food abuse, excess sugar and long-term strain are also factors. Food abuse includes over-focusing on what we eat, dieting and fasting, which can be ways to distract ourselves.
Worry knots Qi, which stops it from moving.
The Lungs are affected because worry causes shallow breathing, and the Spleen because it is responsible for thinking and ideas. So, when a bit of Qi stagnation is added to the mix, these ideas and thoughts, instead of free flowing and healthy, become obsessive and destructive. Eventually the Heart will also be affected by the stagnation of Qi.
Worry is a self-perpetuating, vicious cycle.
The more energy we spend on useless worrying, the less energy we have to take the steps to create the life we really want to live. Stagnated Qi eventually transforms into denser Qi which manifests as physical symptoms: chronic muscle spasms, digestive problems, abdominal pain and bloating, and fatigue. Over time it will also affect the Heart and Lungs causing stress related symptoms – insomnia, palpitations, breathing difficulties and chest tightness.
Worry also includes the seldom used word pensiveness, which consists of brooding, constantly thinking about certain events or people, nostalgic hankering after the past and generally thinking intensely about life rather than living it. This could also include excessive mental work or study, so students are particularly prone to a Spleen imbalance. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you crave a KitKat while doing your tax return.
How can this cycle be broken?
It is said that action must follow thought as constant brooding and worry will stagnate the Qi. The positive aspect to over-thinking is quiet contemplation, so meditation is one way to break this cycle. This might be with meditative movement such as qi gong or yoga, or just going jogging or dancing. Any movement in fact will help quiet the mind and allow the qi to flow more efficiently.
Acupuncture can also be used to break the worry cycle by nourishing the organs involved, the Spleen, Lungs and Heart. Once these organs are operating more efficiently, the Qi is able to move more freely.
Here are are a few more tips:
Avoid clutter so their is room to think.
Take care of yourself: Take time to rest, to walk, to just be quiet.
Do what you say you are going to do: so be careful not to over commit.
Learn to say ‘NO’ without giving any explanation.