Worrying is somehow comforting--perhaps because it feels like we are doing something about our problems when we worry about them.
Worry provides the ILLUSION of useful activity."
-Iona Teeguarden, The Joy of Feeling
Each of the five elements, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood, contain their own specific characteristics and properties. Each element also has a corresponding organ, and when an organ meridian is in an extreme state, being either hyperactive (excessive) or hypoactive (deficient), it may lead a practitioner to examine a bigger picture to determine causes of imbalance in the meridian system.
Taoist philosophy has developed a map to our psyche, as used in acupressure theory, consisting of five inner lands called Shen, I', P'o, Chih and Hun. These five aspects of the psyche represent how we interact with our lives. Each inner land corresponds to a particular element, particular meridians, organs, body fluids, and certain body parts or tissues and is influenced by certain acupuncture points (acupoints). These acupoints release physical or emotional tension and help us connect to our innate self.
As the Spleen governs the muscles and flesh, the color and texture of the lips can be an indication of balance or imbalance. When harmonious, the lips will have color and be moist and smooth. The Spleen also directs ascending movement and has to do with the transformation of liquids, such as in the case of edema, which would be related to the spleen. When the Spleen is rebellious and descends, there may be loose stools.
The Spleen is said to house "Yi" or thought. It's associated with storage of ideas and Ying Qi, the nourishing energy which moves in the meridians and blood vessels. "Harmonious Spleen functioning produces abundant physical and mental energy. Its harmony influences the ability to synthesize and integrate, as well as to feel empathy and sympathy--for ourselves as well as others."
- appetite imbalance (anorexia or obesity)
- body heavy and aching, tired
- bruising easily
- diarrhea, loose stools
- chapped lips
- menstrual difficulties
- nausea, vomiting
- weak or cold extremeties
Over-thinking, worry, and anxiety characterize the hyperactive state of I'. As I' is concerned with our thoughts, when we worry our energy becomes concentrated in our forehead and neck and becomes blocked in the abdomen. This results in constricted breathing patterns and opens the way for an escape up to the head. We tend to occupy ourselves with worrying and brooding about things rather than facing them head on or trying breathing and meditation states to bring the energy through our core into our abdomen where we can breathe easier and find resolve.
Much of today's society is characterized by work, work, and more work. Over-thinking is a very common state of being which wears on us over time. The chronic over-thinker is always trying to "figure things out", which gets in the way of simply being. The over-thinking becomes a habit and the person perseverates on why this happened and what others did and said as the person analyzes the problem from every possible angle and ends up feeling anxious and frustrated.
which, so to speak, ask to be scratched."
-Iona Teeguarden, The Joy of Feeling
"We might experience the anxiety as a nervousness throughout the body, a rapid heartbeat, clammy hands, an uncomfortable dryness in the mouth, abdominal pain, or gas, or a "knot in the pit of the stomach." Worry activates defense mechanisms and we may rationalize, intellectualize, universalize, and project onto others, constantly seeking approval and acceptance.
Imbalance of Chih, or the Kidney meridian, characterized by fearfulness and apprehension, can also increase our anxiety levels. Imbalance of Hun, or Liver/Gall Bladder meridian, can simulate anxiety, for the associated anger response can be anxiety producing. "The involvement of P'o, or the lungs, may be more direct; suppression of respiration is both a response to acute anxiety and a cause of chronic low-level anxiety. Restricting the breathing is an immediate, automatic defense against anxiety, whereas worry, or the mental hyperactivity related to I', is a more secondary defense." Anxiety can also cause hyper-function of the pancreas and hypoglycemic, or low blood sugar, reactions because a common response to anxiety is consuming sweets.
Teeguarden, Iona Marsaa. (2009). Jin Shin Do® Bodymind Acupressure® Intermediate Handbook (2). Idyllwild, CA: Iona Marsaa Trust.
Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash. 2016
Kaur, Ranpreet. Worry. Digital Image. 2017
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