Serenity: The Ability to Feel Emotions and Come Back to Center

Group practicing yoga

Chinese Medicine is a beautiful therapy for treating emotional issues because treatment focuses on maintaining a smooth flow of qi even through, or especially through, stressful times. It has long been thought that emotions can lead to physical symptoms when qi is uprooted, stagnated, or misdirected as the result of emotional upset. Almost everyone has experienced anxiety or depression when events seem overwhelming or when we’ve had to grieve a loss. But most people can return to a feeling of serenity within a short period of time.  It is certain that during the time of distress serenity seems far away and our ability to appreciate the good in our life diminishes because our heart is occupied by the emotion (depression, anxiety, angst, etc.).  When a person is anxious, depressed, or fearful it is much more difficult to feel gratification for the good in life.

A satisfying emotional life depends upon the free flow of qi.  But emotional stress stagnates or interrupts that flow. Here is where treatment according to the theory of Chinese Medicine can help.  Practitioners of Chinese Medicine can determine where the qi is stagnated, how its balanced flow is disrupted, and can get it moving again thereby reopening the heart and spirit to be able to feel joy and serenity again. I recently came across notes I had taken from reading The Seven Emotions by Larre and Rochat de la Vallee about serenity.  Serenity is a “normal” state of living.  However, in our society it appears to be an exceptional state because only a few people seem to have it.  Serenity is the basis of life and does not mean that we don’t experience the upsurging of life as it moves on.  It is not the absence of emotions but rather that ability to flow with and experience emotions and then be able to come back to a serene state.

I tell my patients that acupuncture can re-train your body to move toward a feeling of serenity or balance because that ‘balance’ is what is felt during the treatment.  Your body can then recognize how balance feels and may have the tendency or knowledge to restore itself to balance more quickly. Those serene moments are the basis of good health.  They are the moments when our qi flows freely and our spirit is nourished and calm.  Your practitioner can explain what acupuncture points he or she is using that calm the spirit and also guide you to meditative procedures like QiGong that you can do at home to maintain your quiet state.