Summer in the UK 2014 is officially over, but before we move straight on to the season of Late Summer it is a great time to reflect on the season we have just had. The summer season was all about opening the heart. Did you experience a summer full of love and joy? What did you appreciate most this season? If there is anything you would like to have gone differently, write down these things and look at them from a positive angle, not judging yourself or others around you but looking at possible changes you can make to make your next season even better!
Joy is seen as being the major emotion connected to the well being of the heart. As the heart in traditional Chinese medicine is often referred to as the emperor, when the emperor (heart) is happy, so are all his subjects (the other organs). In our modern culture, there are more and more breakthroughs in science on understanding the world of electromagnetic phenomena, and also dramatic insights into the unconscious mind and emotional dynamics. Good health, both mental and physical, does not just rely on good nutrition, diet and exercise, but also relies upon how we think and feel. How we feel emotionally hugely effects how we feel physically, and how fit we feel physically impacts upon how fit we are mentally.
Studies by the British Medial Association have shown that as much as eighty per cent of disease is caused by negative mental attitudes. The fact that chemicals can create moods is not new, as many of these drugs can be found in nature while others are manufactured. Recent findings, by people such as Dr. Candace Pert in the field of psycho neuro-immunology, have discovered that other chemicals are actually produced by the body itself. She found that when hormones, known as endorphins, are produced by the human body, they reduce tension and stress, allowing the body to absorb the vitality of nature and the universe as well as reducing stress, enhancing the immune system and preventing cardiovascular problems.
Research conducted at Chicago University showed that laughter produced high endorphin surges. The highest sustained flow however, was not from those who laughed the most raucously, but from those who had a consistent smile and twinkle in their eye. This gives us an insight into the valued health-giving properties of yoga and chi kung. The hard styles of yoga and chi kung can create a toned and vital body, but do not necessarily produce internal endorphins to flow. The softer styles of yoga and chi kung however, induce an emotional state of happiness, pleasure and well being, which encourages the release of
endorphins, making the body more flexible and opens the arteries and tissues, which are essential for enduring health and longevity. When the body tissue is tense or armoured, the production of endorphins is blocked and the flow reduced.
This following exercise is a basic skill we all should endeavour to possess, as it gives us a powerful tool to look after ourselves and is a gateway to trigger endorphins or turn up the volume on their production.
How people respond to external events is very much a matter of perception; there is a mental and emotional filter at work here which judges what is liked and disliked. If it is liked, it triggers endorphins, but if perceived to be threatening, it triggers adrenalin, so it depends on the psychology and state of the individual. Different people have different moments when they are moved by different things, so try and notice an activity, event, person or thing that brings you joy or pleasure. This can be a smile on your face, in your eyes, or just a feeling of warming and opening of the heart.
Make the following a habit:
_ Make a list of things that bring you enjoyment.
_ Make a habit of noticing some activity, event, person, place or thing that is giving you
pleasure and add it to your list.
_ Give yourself permission to do what you enjoy.
_ Surround yourself with images and objects that remind you of what you love.
_ Keep the list up-to-date and be willing to change it.
The unconscious mind cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined so people can actively choose to use this mental and imaginative ability to change the biochemistry of their body.
Cultivating the inner smile
is a Neidan practice of the Chinese internal alchemy (a way of cultivating life).
Sit comfortably in a straight backed chair or on the floor. Take a couple
of deep, slow breaths, noticing how your abdomen rises with each
inhalation, then relax back towards your spine with each exhalation,
and release any thoughts of the past or future. Rest the tip of your
tongue behind your teeth on the roof of your mouth. Now think of
the thing, activity, event or place you really love or which gives
you pleasure to recall. Allow an inner smile of joy, wisdom and
compassion to form behind the eyes then direct it towards the
heart or any area of the body that needs healing or to release
tension. Stay there until it feels complete and then return the
focus to the abdomen.