Anxiety and the Heart Connection
Anxiety. We’re well acquainted with the concept. A moment characterized by immense worry, heart palpitations, insomnia. sweating, a lack of concentration or unwanted thoughts, nausea. We’ve all been there at one time or another. Perhaps you or someone dear to you may be living with anxiety daily.
Biomedically, there can be many factors that contribute to anxiety ranging from chemical imbalances to lifestyle choices, however, Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a simple yet beautiful look into the connection between our heart meridian and experiencing anxiety.
Chinese Medicine believes that the heart is the Emperor over all organs, governing the entire being; body, mind and spirit. It’s primary function is to regulate the blood and circulatory system as well as to “House the Shen”. In essence, our shen is our spirit; something numinous, if you will. It embodies the act of thought; it’s our consciousness, our emotional wellbeing, our resolution. The Heart has a big job.
The shen closely resembles the “mind” in a Western setting, however, Chinese medicine does not separate the heart and the mind. They are one and the same. Interesting, right?
To preface, Traditional Chinese Medicine is rooted in the concept: “All things in balance”. Unfortunately, as we know, food, lifestyle, environment and culture can make remaining “in balance” more difficult to maintain. A person can develop “excess” or “deficient” symptoms, which reflects a disturbance in one or more meridians in the body.
So what symptoms reflect an imbalance in the heart meridian?
Heart palpitations, shortness of breath, insomnia, excessive sweating or night sweats, emotional distress, mental restlessness, incoherent speech, irrational behavior. Any of these sound familiar?
When we fall subject to any of these symptoms, our heart is begging for us to pay close attention. The heart needs consistent connection and nourishment. A good place to start during an episode is to ask what it needs and, most importantly, listen closely. Creating a daily habit of connecting to this all powerful organ and meridian is the key to long term change.
Here are a few ideas to consider supplementing into your every day routine:
Meditate: At this point, there are so many resources available to us. Download Insight Timer, Follow a YouTube Channel, or find a quiet spot in your home or office and set a timer. A common misconception is that you should have no thoughts as you meditate, and sure, with devotion and long time practice you may get there - however, as you begin, learning to be with yourself (thoughts and all) is the perfect place to start.
Slow Movement: Another way to connect with yourself and develop the tools to listen is through intentional movement. Find a yin or restorative yoga class near you. Develop a Qigong practice. Learn the art of conscious breathing.
Nature: Nature has a funny way of making us present, doesn't it? Where can you find pieces of nature throughout the day? Maybe hang up pictures or art of your favorite scenery. Take a stroll through your local park. Take your shoes off and walk on the earth (dirt and grass - not the street). Stand in the sun for 5 minutes. Any little bit helps.
Herbal Teas: Plant medicine is integral to Chinese Medicine as a whole. While formulas are prescribed on a case by case basis, herbal teas are great in lieu of a chinese diagnosis. Here are some of our favorites:
- Yogi Kava Stress Relief
- Yogi Calming Tea
- Traditional Medicinals Cup of Calm
- Republic of Teas Super Adapt Restore and Reset
In good health!