As an acupuncturist, I don’t limit myself to seeing patients with just knee pain. I do offer pain relief but I also get to see people with no specific diagnosis and not feeling quite themselves.
I suppose back in the day (when we all lived in a little house on the prairie, in the depths of the middles ages, in a cave with Neanderthal décor?) the usual response would be just to shrug it off and get on with it. I’m not saying trying to run away from a hairy predator that I would also like for dinner is a lifestyle to be envious of, but I do think the simpler days made stresses on our mind and body so much easier to handle.
With life’s stresses, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself.
However, ignoring your problems and just carrying on is no longer a viable option in today’s world. The physical discomfort of pain tend to mean people are more likely to seek help whether it be acupuncture, massage, medication, exercise, yoga… the list goes on. When the slightly off feeling is more abstract, then people have more difficulty putting a finger on it making it harder to see what exactly it is that needs resolving.
A traditional acupuncturist can help you have a better sense of wellbeing by removing or regulating qi stagnation, allowing you to feel more calm yet revitalized.
If the mind is at ease, the body will follow.
I am often reminded by my patients’ attitudes how important a positive outlook has on your health and appearance. Constant worrying and anxiety will lead to a subtle (often unconscious) tensing of the face muscles resulting in lines and wrinkles. Excessive comfort eating will lead to weight gain and detrimental effect to your health. Stress from work and other situations beyond our control cannot be helped, unless you are willing to walk away from your job and settle somewhere far far away, but little unnecessary irritations should be avoided.
My boiler had spent the last month acting like a temperamental teenager – it felt like I saw the plumber more often than my boyfriend. I could have flown off the handle and demanded he sorted it out then and there, but a) that wasn’t possible or practical due to parts and b) I didn’t let it affect my mood. There was still heating (although not at the times I’d set) and I was still warm, and also it was nice to have an amicable atmosphere in my hallway than one of tension and blame.
What else can you do to dilute the effects of stress? Find pleasure in things around you:
Go to the library or bookstore and enjoy some Dr. Seuss or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Bleach manga or a Mills and Boon novel.
Turn off the news. I don’t mean bury your head in the sand, but there is a distinction between knowing the news and watching the constant flood of images 24/7. There is just no need.
Treat yourself to the gorgeous triple chocolate caramel shortcake from that stall in Greenwich Market. Or that lovely crusty bread lavished with butter or tickets to see the comedian even though you could watch their DVD (there is a difference!) or that chunky mustard cardigan or a night in with some bad straight-to-TV movies on a Friday night. Whatever it is, make it a small treat that your body and wallet would appreciate.
Set yourself a goal. Run for charity and try to raise the target you set or aim to complete the half marathon or learn to roller-skate or grow a tomato plant or spend more time catching up with friends.
Smile when you first wake up, at your partner or flatmate or children, at the train driver, at the person serving you coffee, at the pizza delivery driver. Smile!
“It’s not the destination. It’s the journey.”
What do you do to remind yourself that the cliché isn’t just cheesy, it’s also quite true?
Image: Gillian via Flickr
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