Life Area: Physical and Personal
Topic: Healthy Living
Your Healthy Day via Ancient Chinese Medicine
Most of us think of our Circadian Rhythm (body clock), as the internal system that regulates when we fall asleep and wake up. But there’s so much more to our inner timekeeper, especially when considered through the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine.
According to the 2,500-year-old practice, just about every function of our body is linked to a specific time on our internal clock. Each organ has a time period each day when it’s in the spotlight. This the time when that particular organ, and its related energy meridians, are said to be most energized and working hardest, affecting everything from our emotions to our productivity.
Here is a tour of the Morning, Noon and Night body clock according to this ancient practice – tips on how to optimize it through food and lifestyle choices. Think of it as a roadmap that’s meant to guide you toward working with your body’s natural rhythms, rather than against them.
Drink some water and do a gentle workout
Organ: Large intestine
Actions: Waking up and releasing
Emotions being processed: Guilt and stagnation
It’s best to start the day with water, as hydration allows the large intestine to begin its process of elimination. Sorry, but hot coffee doesn’t count…caffeine in the morning is what leads to the midday crash and the release of too much cortisol throughout the day. You should also give yourself time upon waking to relax and allow for your body to naturally detox.
Eat a nutritious breakfast
Actions: Eating and nourishing
Emotions being processed: Despair
According to Chinese medicine, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. A nutritious breakfast will assist in building good, long-lasting energy for the day.
Do your most mentally taxing work
Organs: Pancreas and spleen
Actions: Thinking and working
Emotions being processed: Jealousy, worry, and low self-esteem
In Chinese medicine, the spleen’s considered the most important digestive organ. It’s key in building blood—so if you haven’t eaten by this time, you’ll still have a bit of time to squeeze in a good breakfast that’ll be digested well. While your spleen’s busy transmuting food into usable energy, you’re better able to work and use your mental energy positively. This builds confidence, which gives you the power of avoiding jealousy and low self-esteem.
Eat a light lunch with friends
Actions: Engaging and consuming
Emotions being processed: Joy or frightful sadness
To keep things light and happy during these hours, avoid overly taxing your body—you want your heart to work at its best. This is an ideal time to have a nice lunch over a good conversation for a happy heart – no sad desk salads, please.
Each organ has a time period each day when it’s in the spotlight.
Start to wind down
Actions: Replenishing vital energy
Emotions being processed: Fear
If you’re feeling an extreme level of fatigue late afternoon, after the typical afternoon drop, you may have an issue with your adrenals. Physically healthy adrenals feel vibrant at this time, but feelings of fear can creep in if they’re not in good shape. Signs of kidney and adrenal fatigue include lack of libido and lower back pain. So if you’re someone who is the last to leave the office, and you’re experiencing these symptoms, you may want to reconsider your habits in favor of more R&R.
Focus on self-care and QT with loved ones
Action: Emotional support
Emotions being processed: Excessive euphoria and compassion
In case you didn’t know (like me), the pericardium supports your heart function. That’s why the evening is good for meditation, gentle stretching, relaxing with a loved one, or taking a bath. Heal the heart and wind the body down for the day during these hours.
Organ: Liver, Gallbladder and blood vessels
Action: Sleeping and regenerating
Emotions being processed: Anger, anxiety, and frustration
Body regeneration and healing are thought to happen overnight. It is the gallbladder’s time to shine (the organ is associated with the muscles and sinews of the body in Chinese medicine). Your liver’s the home of your blood and it’s related to the more fiery emotions. Keeping your liver happy keeps your emotions in check. If you’re waking up between 1 and 3 a.m., you should look into unaddressed anger, anxiety, or frustration. Because, of course, you want to sleep in peace.
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