Wellness is a state of feeling good while living or working toward the life we desire.
But too often our wellness is zapped away, decreased to a point where we experience daily pain, stress, illness and even contract disease.
There are many reasons for this. But lifestyle choices — like staying up too late, working too much, not eating properly or getting enough rest or exercise— are significant contributors.
These all create stress states in the mind and body and cause, according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), imbalances in the body. These imbalances, of which six play the biggest role, cause a reduction in wellness that can lead to serious illness.
Let’s take a look at these six health-zapping culprits and what you can do to correct them.
The six culprits of zapped wellness
Wellness is depleted by at least one, and often all six, of these factors: imbalances, climate, emotions, diet, activity level and stress.
Of course, this list does not include those serious conditions caused by physical trauma or viruses. However, with regard to our daily aches, pains and ailments the list is an adequate representation of causes. By considering your signs and symptoms in terms of these six areas, you will be able to identify the causative factors zapping your wellness and determine the best corrective therapy to bolster your wellness.
- General Imbalances
Pain, illness or disease in the body are the result of either an excessof something (e.g., too much alcohol or physical activity), a deficiencyof something (e.g., not enough calcium or iron in the blood), or a stagnation of something (e.g., muscle spasm or constipation).
The main point of any wellness program, then, should be to identify and to correct the imbalance(s). Moderation is the key, in all aspects of life… if wellbeing is to be maintained.
- The climate
According to TCM, the six climatic changes of nature include Wind, Cold, Summer Heat, Damp, Dryness and Fire (mild heat and high heat). Under normal circumstances they do not produce adverse changes in the body. However, each sort of climate does invade the body via the skin, mouth or nose…. and in extremes can cause unbalanced (poor) health.
For example, on damp and rainy days you might feel cold and chilly and pasty; on hot summer days, you risk getting sunstroke or feeling overheated, dehydrated and tired; on cold winter days you can catch a chill, have a runny nose, or experience muscle aches and pains. If left unresolved (i.e., out of balance), these simple inconveniences may lead to conditions like pain, numbness, nausea and infection.
- Your emotions
Emotions play a vital role in both wellness and illness. While emotions are natural and important parts of life, in excess they can be damaging to the body. We are talking here of remaining in excessive states of joy, anger, melancholy, anxiety, grief, fear and fright.
According to TCM, excessive joy affects the heart, anger affects the liver (and can then affect he spleen and stomach); melancholy affects the spleen, anxiety affects the lungs (and potentially the large intestines); grief affects the lungs; and fear and fright affect the kidneys.
Under ordinary conditions emotions are normal reactions to events in daily life. However, if emotional frustration is extremely abrupt, intense or persistent, and so exceeds an individual’s normal endurance, it may then produce functional disorders of the organs by upsetting the harmonious balance of energy and blood. At extremes, emotions then become contributors to pain, illness and disease.
- Dietary choices
In terms of diet, a way of life that allows the consumption of too much fatty and sweet food can generate internal heat and result in excessive adipose tissue (fat), phlegm and congestion, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Excessive consumption of raw or cold food can cause harm to the stomach and spleen. The cold and damp qualities of these foods may lead to abdominal pain and loose stools.
Of course foods high in sugar, refined carbohydrates and the like cause weight gain, blood sugar issues, diabetes, and so on. Often we eat poorly not because we don’t know what is healthy and what is not. We do it because of emotional connections and associations with food. You can read more about the chains of emotional eating and other food traps that cause your best attempts to follow a healthy diet to fail.
- Physical activity
Normal levels of physical exertion and exercise are helpful to digestion, circulation, detoxification and, of course, the toning of the body. However, excessive physical or mental exertion or over-indulgence in sexual activity or a lack of physical work and exercise may cause illness.
Inadequate physical work and exercise can result in low energy and slower blood flow. These can cause loss of appetite, listlessness, feebleness in the limbs, phlegm and damp retention, obesity, as well as shortness of breath, spontaneous sweating and other secondary illnesses.
Stress is one of the leading causes of illness in the United States. Indeed, nearly 66 percent of all signs and symptoms presented in doctors’ offices in the U.S. are stress induced.
The effects of stress include nail biting, anxiety, a racing mind, obsessive thoughts, compulsive behavior, unending worry, muscle tension and spasm, poor appetite or too great an appetite, digestive disorders, constipation, insomnia, poor blood flow, belabored breathing, neck pain, shoulder tension and the possible onset or continuation of bad habits such as dependence on alcohol, drugs, painkillers, food and caffeine.
Read more about stress and how to mitigate it here.
As you can see from the above examples, there are many things you may or may not do on a daily basis that tax your health and affect your wellness. We could even say that much of the chronic, daily pain and suffering most of us experience is often (though not always) self-induced. We are zapping away our own wellness!
But once you understand what is causing your non-life-threatening (yet chronic) health issues and start being mindful of your daily life, you can remove most pain and illness from your life yourself. If you like to know how to get started, begin with these 7 secrets for sustaining wellness.