3 Tips for turning the added impatience and agitation of the Wood Element Season to your advantage

by Inger Giffin, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac.

Acupuncture balances the wood element

Acupuncture helps to balance an agitated Wood Element

If you’ve been following my last couple posts, then you know that we’re headed into Wood Season, and it can be a time of being challenged with increased impatience, agitation, irritability, and anger. This is because the Wood element, associated with the Liver, corresponds with these emotions. While this can mean more struggles for many people, particularly those that fall into the “wood type” category (classic Type A, perfectionists/OCD, very driven and/or competitive in nature), if we understand the positive flip-side to the wood element, we can work to bring out the opportunities that arise for us when the Wood season is at its peak.

Boundaries

One thing the wood energy is about is boundaries. This can express itself in our lives in both positive and negative ways. On the one hand, especially for Wood types whose style is to sort of ‘bulldoze’ through tasks or activities getting them done at breakneck speed, when they come up against a boundary —for example someone who is not cooperating, moving too slowly, or simply refusing to go along with our (clearly superior) idea for how to get the job done—it can bring up incredible anger or even rage. Wood types often have to spend quite a bit of time in life learning to manage their temper and to slow down and incorporate other people’s agendas and lives into their plans.

Holdups or roadblocks can be very frustrating not just for Wood types, but for all of us. Especially as we move through the wood season when the wood energy is likely to be expanding and getting out of hand. However, the flip side of the boundaries issue is that for those of us who have issues with having boundaries ourselves, now is the time when we can really call on our wood energy to help us learn more about healthy boundaries. Learning to say no, to energetically get people to back off, or even to defend or stand up for ourselves, are all qualities of a healthy functioning wood energy in us.

I spend a lot of time talking about excess wood energy, because not only is that imbalance so much more glaring than depleted wood energy, but it also creates so much of the tension and health concerns that bring many of my patients into my office. However, depleted wood energy can often leave someone with a dearth of the beneficial wood qualities of motivation, ambition, and vision for their lives. They can also be the very ones who struggle with boundaries, having no self-leadership skills and allowing others to walk all over them.

Getting things moving, rising to the surface

One of the most important jobs of the liver is to keep our energy, or Qi, moving. While blocked qi can manifest physically as pain (among other things), emotionally or spiritually our energy can also get blocked if we’re stagnating in life. If we have no goals, feel stuck in a nowhere job that we hate, or have marriage or relationship issues that have needed to be dealt with for a long time, that blocked energy can back up and agitate the liver even more, increasing stress and tension in our lives. During the spring season, this often becomes intolerable, and can rise to the surface as anger and frustration more easily.

But this can be a good thing!

When we can no longer tolerate issues because they cause so much strain in our lives, it forces us to deal with them. Sometimes, when we’re in a situation that at least for now we can see no way out of, if we can even just come up with some kind of plan for having a  goal, taking on a new task or challenge that can help start to move some of that stuck energy, that can help ease some of the tension in our liver.

So as we approach spring/Wood element season, stay balanced with these tips:

 

  • If you’re feeling blocked in life, the spring season is the perfect time to create some sort of goal for changing things, so that you can have at least a small experience of moving forward, of making some form of progress. Even tiny plans for change can relieve a lot of the stress the liver feels when it’s blocked in life.
  • If you’re a depleted Wood type who is challenged with boundaries and people are constantly ‘walking all over you’, you probably have some situations that you know need to be dealt with however much you shy away from them. Use this spring as a time to really focus on working through this; either by confronting something or someone that you’ve been avoiding ( this could be just what you need to get out of a ‘stuck’ place in your life), by reading books on boundaries, or consulting with a therapist who can help you work through these patterns that are holding you back.
  • For the excess wood type who is constantly tight, tense, and agitated, these symptoms are likely to flare as the Wood element rises. You need to daily do practices that help keep you relaxed, more open and ‘go with the flow’. Meditation is great for this, and sometimes there’s just nothing like acupuncture to get things flowing smoothly and harmoniously again. Exercise is another great way to move energy. But be careful! Excess wood types are often natural athletes and very strong, and will tend towards exercises that flare up their liver even more and create more tension.  Some training where you’re not pushing it…just going for a nice, slow, relaxing run with no pressure to meet a PR, or a yin/restorative yoga class where it’s about opening and releasing, will be a huge help.

As I always say, remember that all the elements have their strengths and challenges. When we can work with the positive traits and use them to our advantage, we will glide much more gracefully through each elemental season and display the beneficial qualities of our element without struggling so much with the downsides.

If you want to make an appt to start balancing your Wood element, click here:  online scheduling

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