Emily Nagowski said it second best, “emotions are physiological cascades that want to complete their cycles, and they will complete those cycles when you allow them to; they want to be travellers, not residents.” Author of the book Come As You Are Nagoski explains how our brains interpret sexual response as either a positive or negative feedback loop which she says enhances the accelerator and brake pedals on a car. She goes on to explain that some of us have a more sensitive brake while some of us have a more sensitive accelerator, meaning you can work as hard as you want at increasing your accelerator (aka, adding more stimulation), but if the brake is on saying "you’re stressed out" and you’re never going to get anywhere. So the key is to learn how to turn the “offs, off” and the “ons, on.” It’s not news that stress impacts desire, but Nagoski's inclusion of case studies and scientific research provides us evidence about why this is the case. And more importantly, she provides concrete examples for how to address it in your own life.
This book talks about the female sexuality and if that is something you're interested in I would recommend but in reading it got me thinking about this life journey of self-discovery. I would consider the most important element in this formula of life is the constant emotional cycle one endures. I realized emotions are with us on a daily basis, every moment of everyday. It takes a lifetime to understand ourselves and we are constantly calculating in our brains how to feel, how not to feel, how to react, how not to react and it's all very exhausting. Why can we not just be a little kinder, gentler and sensitive to our emotions and let them fall freely?
These feelings we have of joy, sadness, anger, fright, shame or whatever you may feel on a particular day sit with us, in our bodies, and they twist and turn and turn our lives up side down or right side up. Emotional health is the root of our psychological and physical health. When we are sick with negative emotions how can we grow, heal, or practice mindfulness? I believe we all need to give into our emotions a little more like a cascading waterfall free flowing and falling freely. Society today can put pressure one for being “too sensitive” but if we all were more sensitive and understanding maybe we could grant our bodies more kindness, patience, and attention for ourselves and others.
Doing so with intention is something I have been working on throughout the past few weeks and throughout my travels. Travelling has been very therapeutic and I feel as though my Central Nervous System (CNS) has had some time to recharge. In natural fashion and because my time in Taiwan is heavily TCM focused here is how emotions flow within the 5 elements. The 5 elements are the most basic part of TCM theory but in my opinion the most important.
Winter - Fright Spring - Anger Summer - Joy Late Summer - Anxiety and Overthinking Fall - Sadness
Being human, we all have experienced these emotions. Sometimes more than one at a time. We are not Robots! How we deal with events in our life allow our bodies to react, triggering our CNS and either putting us into flight or fight mode. Acupuncture does amazing things for calming our CNS and I highly recommend it if you have a tendency to be an over thinker (like me!) or have anxiety. In Chinese Medicine the Spleen is related to overthinking and symptoms may include fatigue, heaviness, craving for sweets and/or digestive issues. Herbs are another option and practicing meditation or yoga can be another helpful tool to calm the CNS.
When our body is in a joyous state it releases more endorphins, dopamine and serotonin which will also help you get a good nights rest. Who doesn't love sleep, right? The heart relates to happiness and of course being in a constant state of happiness is unattainable but may also be related to manic disorders, balance is key as we ebb and flow throughout this journey.
Sadness is inevitable, everyone has a little hurt it will make us stronger and help us evolve into the person we are today. Sadness affects the Lung in TCM, long term suffering can cause your immune system to weaken. Strengthening your immune system with Chinese Medicine is so easy and I can’t praise it enough, even if you aren’t sad go see your acupuncturist for an immune boosting treatment. It can help with seasonal allergies, asthma, rhinitis, prevention of colds and flu's, seasonal depression and overall health maintenance.
Fright is related to the Kidneys. The scale for fear can be small or large. Everyone is different please don't compare yourself to others. Over time the strain on the Kidneys will cause deficiency as a result of constant strain on your CNS in fight mode. This can lead to adrenal fatigue and other symptoms including urogenital problems such as getting up in the middle of the night to urinate or bedwetting, sore lower back, knee pain, or premature ejaculation. Again TCM can restore the imbalance and heal deficiency.
Lastly, anger, and it’s related to the Liver. The liver is so important!! So many people have issues with their Liver today. High stress jobs, stress, stress, I'll say it once more stress. The Liver is the primary organ for detoxifying the body and without the free flow of waste products the body will endure blockages which may cause symptoms such as red eyes, high blood pressure, irritability, nose bleeds, headaches, and/or brittle nails. Take care of your liver (I have made a few blogs about this so check those out).
Let your body relax and do the work, listen to it. Let your mind rest and have trust in your body and it will do its thing, plus a little help from a trusted practitioner can make a world of difference. Come as you are and own it, you are amazing!