Chinese medicine teaches that by making simple shifts in our diet and activities each season, we can achieve natural balance and greater health. We are now entering “late summer”, which according to Chinese medicine is its own season spanning from late August to early October. Each season is associated with a different emotion, and it is said that at this time we are more prone to worry, doubt and anxiety.
Luckily, Chinese Medicine provides a powerful framework for navigating changes in life with ease through its teachings on seasonal living. By making simple shifts, we can use the energy of late summer to transform worry and doubt into stability, flow and trust in the Universe, even in the midst of change.
Here are 4 ways you can nourish your body, mind and spirit to bring this healing energy into your life right now.
1. ATTUNE YOUR EATING
Late Summer is associated with the earth element, which represents nourishment, stability and grounding. We adjust our eating in Late Summer to harness this grounding energy to bring a sense of calm and connection.
Start reducing cold and raw foods, iced drinks, dairy and refined sugars. These tax the digestive organs which are sensitive to stress and worry, and can lead to bloating, cramping, irregularity and sluggishness.
Eat simple, nourishing foods that are easily digestible such as whole grains, pureed soups, steamed vegetables and lightly sauteed greens. Root vegetables are especially grounding as they are grow in the Earth.
Late Summer is associated with the color yellow and the sweet flavor. Power foods for this time include sweet potatoes, squash, golden beets, ripe tomatoes, yellow onion, apples, pears - all things that are in season!
2. CONNECT WITH THE EARTH
Making direct contact with the earth is deeply grounding and nurturing, and can help bring us in the present moment to relieve doubt and worry. The are so many ways to connect with the earth. See if you can check off as many of these as possible in the next few weeks.
Put your bare feet on the grass
Take a mindful walk appreciating earth’s beauty
Get dirty weeding and planting in the garden
Have a picnic
Play lawn games
Walk on the beach
Buy produce at a local organic farm
Visit a community garden or botanical garden
Create a window garden of potted herbs
3. ACKNOWLEDGE ABUNDANCE
This is harvest time - a period for slowing down, gathering in, and celebrating the abundance of nature and many blessings in our lives. In times of uncertainty, we can get stuck worrying about the future and lose sight of what we have in the present.
Whether it’s your health, home, family, friends, or career, pause to acknowledge the abundance already in your life. When you shift focus from "what if's" to "what is", you send a message to your nervous system that everything is ok, allowing your body to move from “fight-or-flight” to “rest-and-digest” mode.
4. SOOTHE YOUR CENTER
Try this meditation when you get that “anxiety in your gut” feeling:
Lying on your back, place your right hand over your belly and your left hand over your heart. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath.
Feel your breath rise and fall under your hands, and notice the warmth of your hands softening your body.
Now imagine your heart is a beautiful, safe space, and invite any anxious feelings from your belly into that heart-space.
Surrender your worries into the perfect safety and comfort of the heart, where they can receive any healing they need. Breathe here for several minutes.