Acupuncture Helps Keep Emotions Up when Dreary Days Bring you Down
Many people coming for acupuncture suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise appropriately known as SAD.
For people with SAD, cloudy days bring cloudy emotional states, including depression, low energy, and fuzzy thinking. For those people, dark days can literally be dangerous…places like Seattle, where there are an unusually high number of dreary days, have some of the highest suicide rates.
Luckily, acupuncture can help!
Every year, I typically blog about this early in the winter, preparing people for the dark days ahead.
However, this winter, except for a few intermittent snowy days here and there, has so far been pretty bright…until, at least, these past several days. It seems we’ve been lucky if the sun pokes its head out from behind the clouds for even just a small part of the day.
Sunshine and brightness are considered yang qualities in Acupuncture theory.
Winter, with its shorter days, is considered the most yin time of year. This means it is a time of natural rest and rejuvenation, which are both yin qualities. When in excess, those good qualities jump to the extremes, with restfulness turning into lethargy.
Yang, along with its qualities of heat and brightness, is also energy.
It’s the motive force that gets us going every day. When there’s more yang energy in the environment around us, it’s easier to have a brighter demeanor, as well as to have more energy.
So, we need to do everything we can in the wintertime to keep up our yang and the midst of the yin. For people who are balanced, this is typically not a problem, and they may not even notice lower energy in the winter.
But for anyone who suffers from SAD, or even just wintertime fatigue, getting acupuncture regularly during dreary or darker weather can help keep our yang energy flowing well and boosted up, assisting our moods greatly.
With our more sedentary lifestyles in the winter our Qi also starts stagnating, which begins to affect the liver (the organ which moves the Qi) – which can then lead to emotional distress.
Anyone with SAD needs to be sure to avoid stagnant Qi at all costs, as this will only enhance their emotional difficulties.
Tips for nourishing your yang energy and keeping your Qi from getting stagnant:
- Eat warming and invigorating foods like ginger, peppers, cinnamon, cardamom, etc. (as always, follow your own diagnostic recommendations), along with warm foods like soups, stews, and casseroles. Cold and raw foods including ice water is a sure bet for fatigue and stagnation, while the warming spices mentioned above will not only nourish the yang, but will invigorate (move) the Qi.
- Stay balanced with regular acupuncture treatments and herbs.
- Get exercise! You don’t need to be charging through it like you might in the summertime when our activity picks up naturally with outdoor recreation, but even just gentle long walks, stretching, and restorative yoga will keep your qi moving.
For a while there I thought we may not be talking about winter for much longer, but it seems that the cold is here to stay for a bit!
So…to the healthiest and happiest late winter possible!
And remember that if you’re suffering from SAD, acupuncture is here to help you!