|At my literary agent's behest, I've been working on radio
and magazine press to pre-publicize my book, Chinese Medicine:
A Practical Guide to Optimal Healing (now called Powerful
Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs,
and Acupressure). In the process, I've been distilling
how-to lists. I've gotten so excited about them, that it's
been very tempting to include them in the Pulse. But, I can't
give it all away, or there'll be no reason to buy the book,
and neither my publisher nor my agent will be very happy with
Translation and Distillation
As I've discussed elsewhere, Chinese medicine is still in the
midst of a long and complicated process of translation. Since
Chinese language is made of symbols, you could say the Chinese
think differently than those of us brought up in the romantic
languages. It's not easy, for example, to translate qi into just
one word. Well, I'll leave the translation to the scholars, and
monitor that discussionfor you. My thing is explaining it to the
and that's how we come to distillation.
Because Chinese and Chinese medicine are both very complex, and
because most of us are so busy and overwhelmed, I think we need
to break it down into bite-sized, practical pieces. Though I think
they are rather cliché and simplistic, the popular magazine
style, "5 Tips to Make Your Life Perfect in 5 Minutes Without
Lifting a Finger!" piques the curiosity, and gets in our
heads. If we can pick up one useful thing, we've learned and can
live better. On the other hand, it does no good to overwhelm people
with something they can't digest or use.
Nine Ways to Nurture Your Emotional Well Being
This list is based on Chinese medicine advice for the emotions through
the centuries. The how-to's and benefits are mostly my ideas. The
daily blueprint comes from the book, The Power of Focus. You can
find other self-examination and spiritual tools in a wide range
1. Be Grateful: Recognize what you've achieved, and enjoy
it. Once you've reached a goal, celebrate. Otherwise you get stuck
in the 'never enough' trap.
How: Make a weekly list of the things in your life for which
you are grateful. Review both new and perpetual reasons for gratitude.
Benefit: You can't be grateful and hateful at the same time,
so the more grateful you are, the happier you'll be.
2. Choose Achievable Goals: Avoid overly ambitious goals,
because foiled plans lead to frustration, with-drawal, and depression.
How: Review your plans and dreams, and then break them down into
subtasks you can definitely finish (this is called a critical
path). Set realistic dates for each task. If you run into an impasse,
then reassess your path, or your goal.
Benefit: You'll achieve more, and feel more capable and successful.
3. Live Moderately: Work and live moderately. Balance
means not overworking and not being lazy.
How: Make a blueprint for each day that allocates specific times
for action, learning, exercise, review, relaxation, and family.
See the book, The Power of Focus.
Benefit: Stay well and avoid the diseases that come from overwork.
Feel fulfilled and avoid guilt, which drains your energy. Sharpen
your saw. Improve your effectiveness and understanding. Feel satis-fied
you're available to loved ones.
4. Be Regular: Keep a consistent routine in work, meals,
exercise, and rest. Regularity is easier on your nervous system,
so your body will know what to expect.
How: Use the daily blueprint tool from #3.
Benefit: You experience less stress and have more vitality.
5. Eat and Sleep Sensibly: Quality sleep and a normal
appetite are the best signs of health, and everything else depends
on them. If you want to get or stay well, take care of these two
aspects of your health.
How: See the healthful eating tips in chapter 33 and the sleep
tips in chapter 56.
Benefit: Natural, deep sleep renews and refreshes your mind and
heals your body. Proper eating and digestion optimize your immune
system and prev-ent sickness.
6. Avoid Worry and Overthinking. It taxes your mind and
your digestion. It's usually not productive anyway. You may know
that but be unable to stop.
How: Some people tend to worry. They need simpler, unprocessed
foods, and to avoid simple sugars, alcohol and coffee. Physical
digestion affects your mind's ability to digest worries and possibilities.
Get some moderate exercise daily to move your qi.
Benefit: Worry-free living! More energy, positivity, and peace
7. Strive to Be Openhearted, Open-Minded, and Content.
When we're closed down or discontent, we become inflexible, intolerant,
and insufferable. We experience more stress. Stress takes its
toll, and we get sick.
How: List people, institutions, and ideas you resent or fear.
Admit your selfishness, dishonesty, and fear, at least to yourself!
Find Someone bigger than yourself to trust in. Pray and meditate.
Read spiritual books and write about how they relate to your life.
Think outside of the box. "You gain strength, courage, and
confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look
fear in the face." Do the thing you are afraid of. Reach
out to people no one wants. Be grateful and accept life as it
Benefit: Openheartedness is freedom and real love. Open-mindedness
is freedom and the quickest way to truth. Contentedness is what
everyone truly seeks.
8. Form Social Bonds to Sustain You in Times of Trouble.
If you give a baby physical nourishment but not physical affection,
it can die! Human beings are meant to live in communities. We
need one another. Don't spend all your time absorbed in your problems
How: Meet people in networking groups, support groups, adult
education classes, Toastmasters, Rot-ary clubs, church, etc.
Benefit: Other people strengthen and support us, listen to our
problems, make helpful suggestions, point us in the right direction,
and help us get where we need to go. The right people are your
best allies and advocates for a positive and stable future, and
thus are an essential part of getting and staying well. Plus,
a good social life provides opportunities for the next suggestion
9. Help Other People! Invest yourself in the lives of others.
How: List specific people you can help in your plans and goals,
and in your daily blueprint. Think about what these people need,
and how you can help them get it. It may seem counterintuitive
and perhaps impossible when faced with real worries and problems,
but if you help someone else, you'll find it's worth it. Remember,
sometimes helping means saying no. Agape (perfect love) gives
people what they need regardless of what they want.
Benefit: You'll end up feeling better, and more positive. In
that better frame of mind, you'll plan and live your life more