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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Eki Wari and Physician Lim Sock Ling on July 4, 2022

Self Love Tips to Help You Control Your Emotions

If you haven't been feeling yourself lately, then try these self love hacks. They can help control your emotions, ease mental and physical symptoms, and get you back to feeling more like you again.

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Having self love is essential when it comes to taking control of your health. Not only does it promote inner peace, but it also elicits an anti-inflammatory response that benefits your physical health.

In fact, your mind and body are connected in more ways than you think. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that emotional problems could drive physical symptoms, and vice versa.

In this article, our experts explain how practicing self love can help control your emotions and heal your physical ailments, too.

Self Love As A Form Of Medicine

Emotions are a part of being human. But it’s important to know how to control emotions so we don’t feel overwhelmed by extreme feelings to the point of becoming ill.

Conversely, internal health imbalances can sometimes be the cause of our emotional disturbance. This is a key aspect of holistic medicine as taught in TCM. Our body and the state of our mental and emotional health are separate from each other.

TCM’s perspective on emotions and self love

According to TCM, sadness and worry are linked to the Lungs and Spleen.

TCM physician Lim Sock Ling explains that in TCM, each of the five organ systems is linked with a particular emotion. Anger is associated with the Liver; fear with the Kidneys; joy with the Heart; sadness and grief with the Lungs; and worry with the Spleen. 

“In TCM, the relationship between an ailment and emotional changes is bi-directional,” Physician Lim states. An emotional disturbance could cause an ailment. Conversely, an emotional disturbance could be a symptom of an imbalance in the organ system.

“For example, the Liver plays an important role in regulating emotions attributed to its role in Qi (life force) circulation. Hence, Liver imbalance can lead to poor Qi regulation among other organs and cause you to lose control over your emotions. This could manifest as depression, stated Physician Lim.”

“In turn, depression itself can be a symptom of or a contributing cause of Liver dysfunction. A person with this condition finds it difficult to find joy and tends to be worrisome and down,” she further elaborates.

The Heart is another important organ in emotional regulation because it contains Shen or spirit. If this organ system is compromised, an unstable and depressed mood may occur.

How Does PMS Affect Self Love?

When it comes to reproductive development and aging, it is especially common for women to experience this connection between emotions and changes in the organ system.

Many women experience irritability as part of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This is not surprising since Liver, associated with anger, also regulates menstruation.

For women around the menopausal age of 49, declining Liver and Kidney essence can not only show up in physical symptoms such as hot flashes. It can also cause extreme emotional mood swings that can sometimes feel uncontrollable. 

Other Health Risks

In TCM, there are other conditions associated with emotional dysregulation. These include: 

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD) 
  • Complex post-traumatic stress disorder 
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder 
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome  

Self Love Care Tips To Help Control Emotions

In today’s society, there is one thing that nearly every adult, and increasingly even children, have in common: stress.

“To regulate emotions, one should ensure optimal Qi (vital life force) circulation among the five viscera. As it turns out, stress is one cause of Qi stagnation,” Physician Lim shares.

Managing your stress is how to control emotions and practice self love. Be mindful of how much you take on to begin with. And when stress starts to be too much, learn to recognize the tell-tale signs and how to regulate it with these methods: 

  • Stay active and engage in suitable physical activities such as yoga and tai chi to ensure Qi circulation 
  • Practice meditation and breathing to help you immediately relax just when you need it  
  • Maintain a healthy sleep schedule to allow your body the time to recharge 
  • Keep your body resilient by maintaining healthy eating habits; avoid binge-drinking 
  • Be patient and forgiving with yourself  
  • Spend quality calming time with people who nourish your spirit and don’t drain you  
  • Work with a professional to diagnose any conditions you may have – mental health or otherwise  

TCM Tips To Consider

Acupuncture is often the first line of treatment TCM prescribes for many ailments, including emotional disturbances. Needles are placed at specific points on different meridians.

“Acupuncture helps circulate Qi, which can improve emotions related to Qi Stagnation, including depression,” Physician Lim explains.

A recent eight-week acupuncture study showed that depression treated with both anti-depressants and acupuncture yielded significantly better results than medication alone.

Another study by Harvard Medical School also found that acupuncture is an effective treatment for depression and anxiety in pregnant women.

Acupressure

Stimulating the Tai Chong (LR3) acupoint may help alleviate depression by regulating Liver Qi.

Based on each individual’s needs, you can choose acupressure, which is similar in principle to acupuncture. “To regulate Liver Qi, you can massage the Tai Chong (LR3) acupoint. It is located at the depression distal to the junction of the first and second metatarsal bones,” Physician Lim says.

Herbal ingredients

“TCM herbs can also help to regulate Qi circulation, resolve Stagnation, calm the mind and remove frustration,” reminds Physician Lim.

Commonly used classical formulas and herbs include Xiao Yao powder and Chai Hu Shu Gan powder. Recent scientific studies through animal models have shown the efficacy of the latter.

Other herbs include rose buds, finger citron, and wild American ginseng.

“Silk tree bark is also a great herb that acts on the Heart and Liver meridians. It is sweet in taste and neutral in nature, functions to remove Stagnation, harmonize Blood, calm the Heart and resolve swelling. People with insomnia or who feel sick often use this,” Physician Lim explains.

However, she also cautions that many of these herbs have contraindications for pregnant women or those with certain medical conditions. It is critical that you work with a registered TCM practitioner.

There is great freedom in learning how to control emotions, rather than being a prisoner to them. Recognize that this is not a flaw or weakness, but an imbalance that our busy lives can cause. Fortunately, with TCM, there is a clear path to peace and wellness again. 

References

  1. Frontiers in Psychology. 2019. An East Meets West Approach to the Understanding of Emotion Dysregulation in Depression: From Perspective to Scientific Evidence.  
  2. NeuroImage Clinical. 2016. Repeated acupuncture treatments modulate amygdala resting state functional connectivity of depressive patients.  
  3. Boston Magazine. 2013. Acupuncture Helps Depression, Study Says. 
  4. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014. Xiao Yao San Improves Depressive-Like Behaviors in Rats with Chronic Immobilization Stress through Modulation of Locus Coeruleus-Norepinephrine System. 
  5. Pharmacognosy Magazine. 2014. Antidepressant-like effects of Chaihu-Shugan-San via SAPK/JNK signal transduction in rat models of depression. 

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