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Nippin’ it in the Bud: Tips for Soothing Spring Anxiety

Art12_SpringAnxietySpring has sprung in all of its wonder and glory and Seattle does Spring beautifully! Of all the places I've ever been in Spring, Seattle is the most lush, the most fragrant, the most colorful and downright bursting with life. It's exquisite. It is a season that is represented by bursting forth, growth spurts and waking up after the winter lull. And, have you ever noticed that while you love it...it can be overwhelming?

Spring Anxiety

In my practice I consistently notice a higher percentage of people come in with neck, shoulder and jaw issues in the Spring more than any other time of the year. I notice an overall level of heightened anxiety and stress response in my clients. Of course pollen count and seasonal allergies abound. This in turn effects respiration which, I reason, can increase anxiety. If one is already prone to anxiety, Spring can accentuate it.

Personally, I've been noticing for years that I have more anxiety, frustrated energy and a stronger stress response in the Spring. As I understand it, in Chinese medicine "Wood" is the element that coincides with Spring and its corresponding organ is the liver/gallbladder. The emotion associated with the liver chi out of balance, termed "liver yang rising", is anger and frustration. In my experience it really does feel as if the energy "rises" creating more respiratory, neck and shoulder issues and a feeling of anxiety. I notice my mind races more; it's more difficult to access my belly breath and achieve calm state of mind. I feel less grounded in the Spring.

Liver Yang Rising: What To Do About It

In short, it means that when Spring comes around, if I do not take more initiative to be active, cleanse and receive treatment that calms my nervous system like acupuncture and bodywork, I will end up feeling like the Incredible Hulk! Remember him? He's the mild mannered Dr. Bruce Banner until his pulse rate goes too high and then he bursts out of his clothes and turns into a giant green (color for Spring, by the way) monster and starts ripping things apart. Ever feel like this?

I mentioned this to my acupuncturist the other day and she replied "Oh yeah, he is a common symbol we use to epitomize liver yang rising." So if this resembles the way you feel in the Spring or, even if it is not that strong for you but you feel stuck, frustrated or overwhelmed, it is a great time to nip it in the bud and do some liver chi balancing.

This would include movement; get more active. Eat liver cleansing foods. Cut back on anything that increases the histamine response as Spring accomplishes that very well all on its own. Consult with your Colon Hydrotherapist about doing a Spring Liver Cleanse. Get some acupuncture. Get some bodywork. Belly work is a very effective way to help "detox" the organs and soothe the nervous system. In the Spring it can feel more than ever as if your energy is racing ahead of you or rising right out of you. Bodywork and acupuncture can help reunite the body with the energy.

And while you are tending to your liver chi, enjoy Spring! Relish in the textures, the colors, the scents. Take it all in and use the energy to your benefit by kicking off a new project. Get out more. Stretch, yawn, growl and emerge from your winter cave.

Prance about and kick up your heels. It's Spring!!!

Shelly Donovan is a LMP, Certified Soma Practitioner and Reiki Master. She has completed two continuing education courses in abdominal massage. You can reach her at Tummy Temple.

Article also appears in Tummy Temple's Learning Center.

Photo credit: By Abi Skipp