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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Physician Brandon Yew and Dr Eki Wari on September 20, 2022

World Mental Health Day: Take This Poll To See Where You’re At

October 10th is World Mental Health Day. Take this poll to check in with yourself to see where you're at mentally and then read on for tips to improve your mood holistically.

Mental health min scaled

World Mental Health Day is the perfect time to stop and check in with yourself. Did you know that one in five adults in the United States has a mental health disorder?

This works out to be 59.2 million American adults in 2020 alone. Since then, the pandemic has worsened our mental health. Today, many of us are going through our daily lives unaware that we may have an undiagnosed mental illness.

Left untreated, mental health conditions can turn bad quickly. Identifying symptoms before they turn problematic is key to beating any mental health condition.

Take this World Mental Health Day poll to see where you are at mentally. Then read on to learn tips for improving your mood and fighting anxiety, depression, and stress holistically.

When Is World Mental Health Day?

One in every five Americans suffers from a mental health disorder.

World Mental Health Day is on October 10. It’s a day to recognize that mental health is a global priority.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the world saw a 25% increase in anxiety and depression cases during the first year of the pandemic alone.

If you were struggling with your mental health before the pandemic, your symptoms may have become more severe since then.

World Mental Health Day Poll

The first step toward improvement is to be self-aware. Kudos to you for checking in on yourself! Read on to learn tips to support your mental health this World Mental Health Day.

World Mental Health Day From A TCM Lens

These factors may cause mental health issues:

  • Work stress 
  • Poor work-life and rest balance 
  • Insufficient and poor-quality rest and sleep 
  • Prolonged physical inactivity or sedentary lifestyle 

We asked Senior TCM Physician Brandon Yew to explain how mental health affects the body and why this topic is important.

He stated, “In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Liver organ is known as the general organ, meaning it is a tough functioning hardy organ. It helps the body cope with and endure stress, both physically and mentally. So, when the body is experiencing stress or other mental disorders, the Liver is the first organ to react, like a general who readily rushes to the battlefront to fight against the enemy troops.”

“Also, the Liver is known for regulating emotions in TCM. So, if the mental stress is too overwhelming, this will exhaust the Liver function, resulting in Liver Qi Stagnation. If the stress continues without being resolved, Stagnation of the Liver qi will subsequently disrupt the blood and fluid circulation within the body, giving rise to the formation of pathogenic factors like Dampness, phlegm and blood clots,” Physician Yew continued.

“In addition, the prolonged state of Stagnation will cause heat to pent up, resulting in the formation of Fire pathogen. These pathogenic factors will disrupt the qi and blood circulation within the meridian channels belonging to the Spleen, stomach, gall bladder, Kidneys, Lungs, large intestines and Heart. Over time, Deficiencies of the organs can develop, worsening the overall state of the body, ” stated Physician Yew.

TCM Treatments To Consider This World Mental Health Day

TCM can be combined with psychotherapy to help support your mental health plan.

TCM can help support mental health through herbal medication, acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, guasha (scraping) and tuina (Chinese manual therapy). These are formulated carefully by the TCM physician to address specifically the unique body constitution of every individual patient.

It’s best to always first consult a TCM physician for proper assessment. These treatments help to resolve the pathogenic factors, restore and improve qi and blood flow within the meridian channels, and soothe the Liver, resulting in better overall wellbeing.

Herbal remedies

Medicinal mushrooms, such as Cordyceps and Lingzhi, have been shown to contain anti-depressant and anti-anxiety properties. They also help regulate the body’s stress response, which can help alleviate some of the anxiety we feel when we’re stressed.

Below is a list of TCM herbs that can help calm the mind: 

  • Ossa Draconis and Oyster shell: Tames the Liver, relieves shock, and tranquilizes the mind 
  • Nacre: Tames the Liver, clears Liver Fire, and relieves shock
  • Dan Shen root: Activates blood flow and dispels Blood Stasis, and clears Blood Heat
  • Spina date seed: Nourishes the Liver and Heart 
  • Polygala root: Harmonizes the Heart and Kidneys, improves cognition, expels phlegm and unblocks the head orifices 
  • Silktree albizzia bark: Relieves stress and calms the mind, activates blood flow and dispels Blood Stasis 
  • Lily bulbs: Regenerates yin to clear Heart Fire and nourish the Heart
  • Lotus plumule: Clears Heart Fire, harmonizes the Heart and Kidneys 
  • Rose Flower buds: Soothes the Liver, regulates blood flow, and relieves stress and menstrual cramps 
  • Turmeric root-tuber: Activates qi and blood flow to relieve stress, clears Heart Fire and cools the blood  
Herbs, such as rose flower buds, can help calm pathogens that disturb the mind.

Here are some herbal formulas that can help:

  • Xiao Yao San: Soothes the Liver and strengthens the Spleen, regenerates qi and blood, regulates qi and blood flow to relieve stress 
  • Chai Hu Shu Gan San: Soothes the Liver, dispels Phlegm, activates qi and blood flow to relieve stress 
  • Wen Dan Tang: Dissipates Phlegm and Dampness that disturbs the mind 
  • Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang: Activates qi and blood flow, dissipates Qi Stagnation and Blood Stasis to relieve stress 
  • Gan Mai Da Zao Tang and Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan: Regenerates blood and yin to nourish the Heart and clear Heat 
  • Sheng Mai San: Regenerates qi and yin to nourish the Heart

Acupressure

Acupressure is an easy self-help remedy you can do by placing fingers or blunt object like a massage stick at certain acupoints. Apply an appropriate amount of pressure to elicit a tolerable sensation of soreness or tenderness. At the same time, massage in both clockwise and anticlockwise circular motion 20 times each. Repeat for at least 3 minutes per acupoint.

The acupoints that help improve mood are: 

  • Bai Hui DU20: Relieves tension at the crown of the head to improve cognition and mood
  • Yin Tang EX-HN3: Relieves tension at the center of the forehead and near the brows to improve cognition and mood
  • Tai Yang EX-HN5: Alleviates tension of the temples to improve cognition and mood
  • Feng Chi GB20: Relieves tension at the neck to improve cognition and mood
  • Jian Jing GB21: Reduces tension at the shoulder to improve cognition and mood
  • He Gu LI4: Dissipates Qi Stagnation, activates qi flow to relieve stress and improve mood 
  • Dan Zhong RN17: Relieves pressure in the thoracic cavity, activates qi and blood flow to the Heart and Lungs, calms the mind and improves mood
  • Shen Men HT7: Strengthens the Heart, clears Heart Fire and calms the mind
  • Da Ling PC7: Activates blood flow to relieve stress and improve mood
  • Zu San Li ST36: Strengthens the stomach, dissipates Qi Stagnation and improves qi flow to soothe the nerves and improve overall mood
  • Tai Chong LR3: Soothes the Liver, regulates qi and blood flow to relieve stress and improve mood

This World Mental Health Day, Remember…

Do take note that acupressure only provides mild symptomatic relief for mental disorders. In fact, it is merely a supplement to acupuncture.

Additionally, the herbs and formulas provided above are meant for varying pathological states of mental disorders, corresponding to different body constitutions characterized by underlying specific imbalances.

As such, it is strongly advised to not purchase any of them to self-medicate without first undergoing a thorough consultation with a licensed TCM practitioner who will assess your unique body constitution and medical condition, and advise you accordingly.

He or she can also perform acupuncture safely and effectively to provide a much stronger and more comprehensive therapeutic efficacy in tackling the actual root imbalances underlying mental disorders.

Do co-consult a psychologist and psychiatrist, especially if the condition persists and is of greater severity, affecting the quality of life. 

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