In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Summer is associated with the Heart, the element of Fire, and the emotion of Joy. And by Heart we don't just mean the physical Heart but also its larger energetic role of supporting sleep, mental focus and spiritual connection. TCM says the Heart "houses the mind and the spirit" and it is here that our body, mind and spirit connect in Consciousness. When the Heart is balanced, the mind is calm and clear, the body is full of vitality, and the spirit is joyful.
Here are 3 tips to cultivate a strong, calm and joyful Heart:
STRONG HEART: Eat Red, Bitter and Cooling Foods
Red is the color and bitter the flavor that supports the Heart. Some of the best foods for the Heart are:
berries, especially goji berries
leafy greens - kale, arugula, chard
dark chocolate and coffee
CALM HEART: Acupressure Heart 7
The point Heart-7 "Spirit Gate" strengthens the Heart.
Find it on the pinky side of the inner wrist crease, inside that little tendon. Just slide your opposite thumb over the tendon and it will fall into the point. Gentle firm acupressure here for 1-2 minutes supports sleep, memory, emotional balance and clear communication.
JOYFUL HEART: Get Outside Early
Go outside early when the air is still cool (6-6:30am). Spend 5-10 minutes just quietly noticing the new day - feel the cool air on your skin, breathe it in, look at the sunlight dancing on leaves, watch any birds or animals moving around, hear the sounds. Just breathe & be present. This activates the Heart and balances you before the overwhelming heat of the day. Done regularly, it also regulates the circadian rhythm for better sleep, healthy weight and resilience to stress.