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By Dr. Maoshing Ni – Posted on Mon, Mar 23, 2009, 1:59 pm PDT

When so much is uncertain in the world around us, it is natural for our anxieties to rise and our emotions to fluctuate. But when your emotions run wild, the imbalance can spell trouble for your long-term health. Read on for 6 natural ways to get grounded and balance your emotions.

The Chinese healing tradition classifies emotion into five predominant states: joy, rumination (including worry), sadness, fear, and anger. Experiencing these emotions is a normal part of life, and you usually shift naturally from one to the next in reaction to events that pop up in your day. However, when one single emotion dominates, it brings your entire body out of balance and can produce illness. Learning to manage your emotions is essential for your happiness, health, and longevity.

1. A nerve-calming neurotransmitter

A healthy brain has a balanced chemistry that can cope more effectively with emotional stress. Some neurotransmitters in the brain excite the nerves, while others have a calming effect. One such neurotransmitter, GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) is a chemical that is especially helpful when emotional turmoil strikes. As the primary neurotransmitter for calming nerve signals, it prevents anxiety-related messages from reaching the brain. However, over time the body’s production of the chemical wanes, and when you have low levels of GABA, you may begin to feel an increase in anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and depression. When you take it as a dietary supplement, pair it with vitamin B6, which helps your body use the GABA.

2. Herbal therapy for balance
The liver is thought to be the seat of emotional expression according to Chinese medicine. When healthy, the liver network naturally balances your emotional state and releases suppressed emotions. A blockage of liver energy can manifest as depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Some herbs that can give the liver an added boost are:

  • Dandelion cleanses the liver and helps release built-up anger.
  • Milk thistle protects and restores the liver.
  • Schisandra berry protects the liver and soothes emotional anxiety.
  • Chrysanthemum flower is used to cleanse the liver and neutralize toxins.
  • White peony root is a Chinese herb often used to soothe the liver and balance the mood.

These herbs are available from health food stores and Eastern medicine practitioners. Consider trying our formula Internal Cleanse, which lifts emotional stagnation and promotes liver health.

3. Exercise releases pent-up emotions
When people do not use a healthy outlet to release emotions, they are stored in the body and can eventually result in physical pain. Common symptoms that may point to trapped feelings in your body are pains in the back, neck, shoulders, jaw area, or stomach, congestion in the ear or nose, a lump in your throat, chest tightness, or shortness of breath. Often unrecognized as pent-up emotions, these blockages may cause more serious harm to your health down the road—manifesting as chronic pain or even growths. Free negative emotions and use massage therapy, exercise, yoga, tai chi, or qi gong to get your energy flowing freely.

4. Take a time-out
Every parent can pinpoint when their children are about to have an emotional breakdown—they are overtired, hungry, and hurried. Unfortunately, adults do not consider the impact of stress on their own emotional lives. Rest and relaxation are essential for emotional balance. Just as junior has restful activities scheduled like story-time or naptime, create some of your own relaxing rituals. Take a bath in Epsom salts, scent the air with lavender, or read quietly in a calm corner.

5. Keep a journal
One of the best ways to work with your emotions is also one of the simplest. Write down your feelings to release them. Try writing for at least 10 minutes a day for a month. This will give you enough time to spot some patterns in your emotions—and to note if they correspond to any physical symptoms in your body. Write from the position of observer and record your emotions without judgment or editing. The next step is to identify the source of any anger, sadness, or other unhappiness so you can begin to make changes.

6. Breathing brings balance
Use deep breathing and rest to restore your metabolic equilibrium. Sometime during your busy day find time to close your eyes and take ten deep breaths. Even better, meditate on a daily basis and head off emotional extremes before they start. Studies show that people who meditate are calm, slower to anger, and better able to see through problems to good outcomes. Try spending 10 to 15 minutes in meditative relaxation each day and watch your emotional elasticity expand! There are many meditation guides and cds that can help you learn the practice.

I hope this blog brings you emotional balance! I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

-Dr. Mao;_ylt=ApUDgJWKjb5G._8T.8Qj_z51kIV4


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