Emotions are produced by the brain but are felt throughout our entire bodies, and the heart is no exception to this. In Chinese Medicine, every organ is associated with a dominant emotion. In the case of the heart, that emotion is joy.
Can joy cause harm?
The pathological version of joy that Chinese Medicine is concerned with is over-excitement: the kind that puts your nervous and hormonal systems out of balance causing symptoms of:
- Nervousness / anxiety
- Chest pain
- Vivid dreaming
Other behavioural actions that might be present include laughing inappropriately, talking rapidly, and even mania. It has also been speculated that joy may cause you to “let down your guard”, allowing other emotions such as fear, disappointment, sadness, and anger to be felt at an even stronger level due to the extreme oppositions.
Grounding during the Fire Season
Five Element Theory observes the categorization of seasons, organs, senses, and much more to belong to a specific element. In the case of the heart–it belongs to the fire element, which happens to dominate during the summer months. Fire is hot, chaotic, and spontaneous, much like summer. If imbalance is experienced during summer, the above symptoms may present themselves easier, faster, and stronger than normal. A great way to protect yourself from this is to really connect with nature and ground both your heart and mind.
- Center yourself around water–water balances fire, so if heart symptoms are raging out of control try to regain your balance by walking by the river, going swimming, staying hydrated, and using water sounds as a background for sleep or meditation.
- Put your bare feet on the earth–feel the grass, sand, or water (bonus points for water) with the soles of your feet. While the heart belongs to fire, the kidney belongs to water and the kidney meridian begins on the bottom on the foot. Acupressure on the bottom of the foot can help ground you too, but you should take advantage of feeling the actual earth during our short summer months.
- Move your body in a way that makes you happy–hiking, climbing, running, yoga, qi gong, walking, swimming, dancing–just enjoy it. Don’t feel like the only way to benefit your heart is through a punishing cardio workout if you hate cardio – not only are you more likely to quit but you are less likely to reap the rewards of daily exercise if it is something you don’t actually like doing. Find something that makes you feel happy and good and stick to it. Your heart and mind will benefit from it.
Lastly, you can take a break from the heat with an acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture can help to facilitate balance within the body regardless of the season, but when we are over scheduling ourselves with summer activities, it is important to listen to our bodies to rest and recover.
You can book an appointment with me, Dr. Cheryl Lee, TCMD, R.AC, B.SC EXHP, by clicking here.