John Aguilar, Jr., L.Ac., R.Y.T., M.S.TCM

Licensed AcupuncturistChinese Medical HerbalistYoga and Tai Chi Instructor

Mind and Mood

The coming and going of emotions is a natural part of being human. As simple and obvious as this sounds it's important to keep in mind. Often, we find ourselves wanting certain emotions and not others, fueling or forcing some, while repressing others.

The healthy approach to the mind and emotions is allowing space for any emotion as it spontaneously arises, giving it proper attention, and allowing it to pass on its own. This, as opposed to attempting to create certain moods or emotions while remaining on the prowl to nip other emotions in the bud, before they get out of hand.

There is a thought that we are in 'control' of our moods, or that we must take control. With this control we can shape our mindset to fit whatever we desire. Though there is certainly an appeal to this approach, thousands of years of clinical practice has taught the Chinese medical practitioner that such practices are the basis of illness.

Perhaps it would be of benefit to think of emotions like other basic physiological processes. We wouldn't 'try' to urinate if there were no instinctive need to (with certain exceptions, especially in the presence of certain medical conditions). We don't put effort into exhaling; we simply do it as the need spontaneously arises. And we don't think about sweating in order to produce the act. It simply happens when it needs to.

Moods are similar. They spontaneously arise as needed, as appropriate. Forcing ourselves to 'be happy' in the absence of a generative event just doesn't feel right. Even if one found some degree of success, this contrived happiness is a mere shadow, a hallow imitation of the genuine thing. Similarly, trying to force one's self out of a 'bad' mood is like trying to stop yourself from shivering when you're really cold. It's difficult and, actually, unhealthy.

Experience tells us that we should make room for our emotions. When they arise, pay attention - experience them. Often this will be enough for them to pass on their own, which we could allow to occur without challenge.

Now, it should be stated that just as with any other bodily process, certain illnesses may cause improper functioning of the emotions. It is possible to get 'stuck' in a certain mood, or to seemingly be locked out of others. This is where proper medical attention is needed. Shy of these more serious conditions, though, and on a day-to-day basis, allow for the free flow of moods and emotions, holding on to and forcing none.                        

Home Page