Throughout the year animals and plants respond to the seasons.
In spring the sap rises in the trees, there is new growth, flowers, nesting, birthing of new life. Everything is warming and expanding!
Summer is hot and fully expanded. Its a time to have fun, enjoy life and have plenty. Autumn is cooling and condensing. Everything is ripe and ready for harvest. Food and nuts are gathered and stored, in readiness for winter. The trees loose their leaves and animals make their winter home. Winter is cold and contracted. It is time to batten down the hatches and hibernate. To slow down, rest, contemplate and dream.
There is a natural flow of energy which we humans seem to be too busy to notice - for if we did we could definately harness it and use it for our betterment.
How do we harness the energy of autumn? Autumn is a time of gathering, storing, releasing and reflection.
On a practical level we harvest our crops, tidy up the garden, prune back the plants, secure the home in preparation for the winter months. We would also get out the winter clothes and bedding, stack the wood and preserve our food.
Emotionally, autumn is the time to release hurts, grieve our losses and process emotional experiences. We can only do this when all our physical needs are met (and this comes through the summer season). A full harvest means that we can be satisfied with life, and when there is plenty, its easy to let go and release the past. We can release the emotional charge from the past and keep the wisdom of the experiences we have had throughout the year.
Autumn is the time when we are naturally more sensitive. To our environment - knowing the right time to harvest, being aware of the weather so our harvest doesn't get ruined, and there is a push to preserve and store our food. We are emotionally more sensitive too, with the end of the warm summer weather there can be a slight feeling of grief that all the fun and play is over. Fortunately, we also naturally have a stronger sense of courage and honesty at this time, and a sense of pride. This helps us to express ourselves and let the past go. Having loving friends and family around us at this time is very helpful, so creating a gathering to celebrate this season is a wonderful way to feel supported.
When we reflect on our lives in Autumn, appreciate what we have and release what no longer serves us, then we become open to inspiration and vision which arrives in the winter.
One of the reasons we are more prone to anxiety these days, is that we are constantly on an emotional roller coaster – stimulated by movies, social media, television and books with emotive stories. On one hand each one of these activities can give us some “time out” at the end of the day, on the other hand, it is important to note that our over-stimulated mind and emotions absorb it all and the constant input actually "adds" to the overall stress.
For example: if you watch a movie about a predator and you are involved in the story, your body cannot differentiate between the pretend story and real life. If you feel frightened whilst watching the movie, or your hair goes up on the back of your neck, you feel cold, sweaty or upset; then your emotional system is on! This means your adrenal glands are pumping the hormones that make the body to go into fight and flight mode. (Check out my deep breathing practice to reverse the affects of adrenal gland hormones)
Likewise if you see or read something that is really sad (I get triggered and cry every time I watch the movie Whale Rider), and you feel like crying, you are also having an emotional reaction which is affecting the chemistry in your body.
All this is fine if you are not over-anxious, but it is not okay if your system is already in overdrive. Our thinking and emotions are affected by the chemicals in our body: food, drugs, our own hormones, and toxins in the environment all have an affect on our mental and emotional health. For example, when I had my son, I did not sleep well (as is usual if you have babies!) and also had a lot of financial stress as my husband was made redundant. Eventually this lead to the break down of my health and I became fatigued. It was when I changed my diet, learnt how to relax and sleep, rebalance the chemistry in my body that I started to emotionally/mentally feel better again..
So, take some time out from movies,social media, books and TV. You could:
Please note that these blogs are from a lay person and not a counsellor, psychologist or medical professional. If you think you have severe anxiety or depression, you should consult with a professional.
Click here for my Worry and Anxiety resource page
To book a session with Elayne click here
Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling low?
Are you always struggling with your mind to get into a positive state?
Our minds can be pretty funky places at times.... And it if occurs often enough (we feel flat every day), it can become a habit. When we feel low, everything feels bad. Our body tends to have more pain and tension, our diet deteriorates, the day at work seems harder, the verbal dialogue goes around and round, we beat ourselves up and stop being fun to be around.
The trick to changing this is to change our thinking. (After all it is the one thing we do have control over).
We all get a bit flat at times, and I am no exception. One morning I got the idea to rev up through using affirmations (this has always worked for me in the past), so I took a look on internet to find some fresh ideas. I came across a talk by Abraham Hicks on called "The Easiest Way to Start Positive Momentum". It was a great talk, and I want to summarise it for you in this blog.
Esther Hicks and Louise Hay both say that using affirmations help shift our mental state and reality, but unless we get into a positive feeling state, affirmations do not work. Let me give you an example. You own a heater. You know it gives you warmth. But it only works when you turn the power on. Likewise with affirmations, they only work when we have a strong positive emotional feeling behind them. The emotional power literally turns the affirmations on.
So if you wake up and invest emotional energy into self talk about how flat you feel, that is what you will get - a bad day. If you wake up and invest your energy is a "rev up" pep talk with positive emotional energy behind it, then your day will be much better.
The easiest way to do this is to make yourself a recording of your affirmations when you are in a good mood and play it to yourself first thing in the morning. Leave enough space between each affirmation to repeat it, and remember to get into the feeling - like you already have it. BE excited!
I have one below which you can download.
Abraham Hicks says best way to start your 'rev up talk" is with something general.
What do you appreciate right now? Think of all the things that are easy to appreciate.
Think generally: your body, your home, your comfy warm bed, food in your cupboards, a hot shower...
Then go out into the community: people at the bank, your friends, the library service, the supermarket...
Then globally: the electricity to your house, the roads...
Take a moment to appreciate the wellbeing of the people around you. People who inspire you.
You could compare yourself with all the people who live in other places, and appreciate where you live and what you are accomplishing right now
GOOD VIBES ATTRACT GOOD VIBES
When you can put a good, excited, happy, uplifting feeling into your words/appreciation, this puts power into them. Often we let our good feeling go, and slump back down to apathy. So set an alarm in your phone a couple of times a day to remind you to lift your vibe again.
Abraham Hicks says the next step is to receive what comes your way. Allow yourself to go with the flow. Let your positive vibes carry you along throughout your day. We all know how good it is to be around someone who has these vibes. You can be like that too. People sense this - they will want to help and support you.
It takes commitment to keep picking yourself up and getting into a positive vibe. But ask yourself: which mouth do you want to feed? The happy one or the sad one?
One day is not enough to break a habit, but one week can start showing you some positive results. It takes about 28 days to change a habit, and probably 3 months to have it embedded into your system Practice pays off!
If you would like a recording to use to rev up your day: click here and download it to your ipod/mp3 player.
Depression has a way of sneaking up on us. It comes out of situations which create emotions within us which we don’t know how to express. Over a period of years experiences like the loss of a loved one, a trauma, an accident, an unfulfilling relationship or job accumulate. Over time these deep feelings and start to build up. There may be occasional emotional outbursts but if we are not well supported in expressing ourselves and change does not occur we switch off to how we feel – neatly tucking our feelings away in the recesses of our mind/body. Eventually we become emotionally numb: this is depression.
Emotional imbalances may show up physically through inflammatory conditions known as the “itis” such as rhinitis (colds), conjunctivitis (styes), gastritis (tummy bug), psoriasis (skin conditions) and bronchitis. The skin, fasciae, lungs and large intestine all relate to the autumn so look out for conditions relating to these organs.
The autumn season has its own particular qualities and affects on our bodies and psyche. As the weather cools down and summer changes to winter we start to look inward. Positive emotions connected with the autumn are courage to experience our feelings, integrity and ability to speak our truth. They naturally arise within us at this time of the year and its the perfect time to work with our emotions. Feelings of sadness due to climate changes and the effects on the environment (like falling autumn leaves) begin to naturally arise. Unresolved grief may also turn up. If we have the courage and honesty to express sadness when it turns up our personality becomes more refined.
Depression is experienced as lost enthusiasm for life. It is very debilitating. A common coping mechanism for depression is keeping ourselves busy, so we can pretend we are doing just fine. Yet deep within there is a nagging ache of unhappiness. Workaholism, the constant need for activity or entertainment can be a sign that we are covering something up. This need can lead to a person becoming involved with activities that are unfulfilling instead of what satisfies them. Louise Hay in her book You can Heal your Life says that colds are “too much going on at once. Mental confusion, disorder. Small hurts”.
Underneath depression is a myriad of other unexpressed feelings, anger, resentment, frustration, unfairness, worry which all take a lot of energy to suppress. We literally “put a lid on it” to depress all these strong feelings from arising – they can be quite frightening and we can feel unsure how to express them safely. For many of us, its better to keep them locked away inside of us. Unfortunately they just don’t go away, we can’t “think them out” or “explain them away”, the only way they will change is if we can feel them. It takes alot of energy to keep all this powerful emotion in, so its not surprising that exhaustion, tiredness, loss of libido and distancing from people comes along with depression.
Our inner message is that we are not enjoying life and don’t deserve to live. To rekindle our spirit we need to feel and validate our unexpressed emotions and also find our passion in life.
Here are some helpful tips ....
When you feel a bit low find a sad movie and be prepared for a good cry. If you can’t cry but have a lump in your throat, spit into a tissue instead. It sounds strange, but its better to get something out then swallow it back down. Do this as often as you like and the feelings will begin to change. This is a great way to move through sadness at a pace you can manage.
Find a counsellor for when you feel really low. Don’t burden your friends with your troubles all the time. They are not trained in how to help you and it becomes a burden for them. Work with someone skilled who can explain your patterns and give you the support and techniques appropriate for you.
If angry feelings arise taking walks uphill, using a punch bag or using shaking chi gong whilst thinking about the anger helps you to move the feelings through your body. Its invigorating and releasing at the same time.
Support your “inner work” with things that nurture you. Good food, hugs, massage, being around kind people, spending time with animals and walks in nature. Deepen your relationships. Enjoy the nurturing and be grateful. These moments give you time out from your sadness and a fresh perspective.
Sometimes chemical imbalance within the body adds to the depression. Herbs and a good diet can change your inner chemistry and affect the way you feel.
There are also flower essences, homeopathic remedies and essential oils which all have positive affects upon our emotions.
Cultivate your spirit with things that uplift you... singing, dancing, music, humor, laughter, theatre, uplifting movies and books, non-competitive sport that’s fun – pay attention to what lights up your enthusiasm for life and go for it!
There are a number of wonderful meditations which convert negative emotions into positive ones. In the Taoist practice we have the Inner Smile mediation, Earth Chi Kung, the Six Healing Sounds and the Inner Beauty meditation. It is a longer process than counselling and you have to be committed to the practice. However it is very effective and feelings start to change all by themselves. These practices have additional benefits to your health as well and are an alternative to “talking therapies”.
A clear perspective on life develops when we can recognise and express our feelings. Gradually we are able to become completely honest with ourselves and others, and grow from our feelings and find our passion in life.
Gilles Marin “Five Elements, Six Conditions” A Taoist Approach to Emotional Healing, Psychology, and Internal Alchemy
Louise Hay “You Can Heal Your Life”.
Elayne Lane is an Aromatherapist, Massage Therapist, Touch for Health Kinesiologist, she also practices Chi Nei Tsang and teaches chi kung classes from the Universal Healing Tao. She can be contacted on 03 5470373 or www.learnhealing.org.