Stress and anxiety can be debilitating both physically and emotionally. I know people who feel like they can’t breathe or are having a heart attack when stress or anxiety peaks. For me, stress is more of a daily wave I try to ride without getting caught up in the torrent that’s happening along the shore.
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Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

During heightened physical states, many of us lack the capacity to access tools we know would help. As a holistic practitioner, I’ve learned that these extreme experiences can be helped or prevented by learning techniques to manage stress and anxiety before an ‘event’ happens. These techniques involve healing past hurts and traumas and reducing fears and worries about the future by grounding oneself in the present moment.

Techniques such as mindfulness and meditation might come to mind for you here. Such techniques can take time, practice, and patience. The rewards far exceed the time investment. But there are also some quick solutions for stress and anxiety that you may find fun and interesting…and definitely distracting (that’s the point, isn’t it?)!

In my experience, the most effective practice for transforming anxiety and stress is qigongQigong is an ancient form of moving meditation that helps ground, heal, and connect the body, mind, and spirit in addition to removing damage (known as blockages) caused by past hurts, current fears, and concerns for the future. If you’d like to about how qigong recently helped me with stress and anxiety, you can read it here.

Along with lifestyle and dietary recommendations, I practice qigong energy healing on my clients. But I also teach them specific qigong movements to practice at home. I’ve noticed major differences between the clients who don’t practice qigong and those that do.

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Photo by Nathan Guzman on Unsplash

          

Additionally, simple techniques such as massaging and cupping specific energy points can be very effective at balancing energy and can be easily incorporated into a workday. These are kind of like the ‘bagged lunch’ of qigong.

Energy points are located along energy channels or meridians in the body. Each meridian is connected to an organ system. Each organ system is related to one of five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. These Five Elements form the foundation of Chinese Medicine. Each element has a colour, season, emotion (positive and negative), food, qigong movement, and sound associated with it.

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According to the Five Element Theory, we are now in the season of summerand the Element is Fire. The organs and systems related to the Fire element are the heart, small intestine, pericardium, and triple heaters (glandular and lymph systems). Extreme emotions affecting the heart often present during this time. Examples are anger, heart attacks, panic attacks, anxiety, and stress.

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Photo by Nathan Lindahl on Unsplash

The good news is there are things we can do to prevent these imbalances from occurring and to balance our energy with the season of summer, thereby reducing stress and anxiety and increasing peace, energy and immunity.

One energy point I share below that calms stress and anxiety is the Sea of Tranquility point. As I did more research, I became fixated on this Sea…you’ll sea what I mean!

Below is a diverse (eclectic?) list of recommendations related to tranquillity to balance your energy so that you can relax, feel peace, and enjoy the wonderful season of summer!

On a side note, the positive emotion associated with the Fire Element is Joy. By focusing on Joy you can help to dissolve anger and extreme emotions. I know, it’s easy to say but might be difficult to do, the exercises below will help!

1. The qigong movement, Breathing of the Universe, balances the heart energy channel along with calming down racing emotions. The beauty of qigong is that is works on the body, mind, and spirit simultaneously. When you feel peaceful and relaxed, your body’s chemistry changes and pain and illness can resolve. Breathing of the Universe is from the Spring Forest form of qigong that was created by Master Chunyi Lin.
-Each movement in Qigong is designed to work on specific energy channels in the body. The Breathing of the Universe movement helps to heal the heart, small intestine, glands, organs, difficult emotions and bring peace to the body.
-Simply stand with your feet hip-width apart, drop your shoulders, smile gently and hold your hands facing one another in front of your stomach. Inhale gently as you bend your knees slightly, opening your arms horizontally to the side. Exhale as you straighten your legs, collecting energy with your hands until they are back in the centre facing one another. Below is a video to demonstrate. Move slowly as you smile.

2. Massage the Sea of Tranquility point, otherwise known as Ren-17, located along the sternum. This is an acupressure point that, when massaged, can calm emotions and balance your energy. This point is responsible for protecting your heart from the everyday emotional build up that life offers.

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Massaging this point can also help with chest congestion, asthma or lung issues, hormonal issues, breast cysts, reproductive issues, stress, healing from surgery or illness, and to clear negative emotions. Wowza!
This point is generally located about four finger-widths above the bottom of the ribcage, along the sternum between the fourth and fifth ribs (from collar bone). There is a slight depression there that might feel tender. That’s the spot!

3. If you’d care to add in another Spring Forest Qigong movement to help with stress and anxiety, try Connecting with your Heart’s Energy. When doing this exercise, it’s most effective to focus on the feeling of gratitude which, when combined with the movement, can help activate the water element. What calms down fire? Water! Here is a video with instructions on how to do this movement. If you already know how to do this movement and would like another experience relating to the Sea of Tranquility, watch the video below and follow along.

4. As I dove down the rabbit hole into the Sea of Tranquility, I learned of the meaning behind the name.

Sea of Tranquility or Mare Tranquillitatis was named in 1651 by astronomers Francesco Grimaldi and Giovanni Battista Riccioli. “The Sea of Tranquility was once thought to be an ocean. It appears dark when viewed from Earth, smooth and relatively flat. Likely the reason for its name. It has a slight bluish tint and was formed by ancient volcanic eruptions. These dark areas were dubbed maria by early astronomers who mistook them for actual large bodies of water.” ~Quora

The Sea of Tranquility is the landing site of Apollo 11, the mission that gave mankind it’s first ever walk on the Moon. Listen to the music trackfrom above as you massage your Ren 17 point and read this NASA articleabout Apollo 11 landing in the Sea of Tranquility and experiencing the“magnificent desolation” of the moon.

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 Image by Soerfm — Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19618181

          

In Spring Forest Qigong we say a password to bring us into our meditation, “I am in the Universe, the Universe is in my body”, which now has even more meaning as I connect to my Ren 17 Sea of Tranquility point.

5. Play this Sea of Tranquility audio track as you gently massage this heart-protecting point and smile and breathe. This composition has a wonderfully calming effect.

6. If music or the written word isn’t calming you down try the tactile art of colouring in this Sea of Tranquility colouring book.

7. But who doesn’t love music? Have a listen to the Canadian the legend Gordon Lightfoot’s take on the Sea of Tranquility.

Do you feel more peaceful? I encourage you to find the time to practice some of the techniques I shared to help you relieve stress and anxiety. Preventing debilitating episodes requires time and effort, but as you practice qigong your emotions become balanced and you become happier and more content. It’s attainable!

Since it’s summer, I also encourage you to immerse yourself into the Sea of Tranquility. I’m sure you can find your own sea nearby. It may look like a lake, a forest, a footpath, a sunset, or a gaze at the moon. I wish you peace and joy and a wonderful healthy summer season.

I’ll leave you with some beautiful lyrics from the Sea of Tranquility.

I live in the light of the bright silver moon
I’ll take you off sailing from midnight till noon
I’ll show the Sea of Tranquility
You can have any flavor you happen to see

 

I live in the shade of a forest of green
In the wildest of woodlands that you’ve ever seen
There’s rabbits and quail and tender young snails
As brown as the seaweed on old rusty nails

 

There’s fireflies dancing in the cool evening breeze
There’s love and romancin’ as nice as you please
There’s otters and frogs and spotted ground hogs
And wiley old weasels in rotted out logs

 

There’s rivers of rainbows and grey mountain trout
And little dark holes where the varmints hang out
There’s foxes and hares in traps and in snares
And lots of bald eagles so you’d better take care

 

So if you’ve got the time and you’d like to pass by
Come down around midnight and give us a try
We’ll show you the Sea of Tranquility
You can have any flavor you happen to see


~Gordon Lightfoot

 

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Photo by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash

If you’d like to practice or learn qigong with me you can join me over here or on the shores of my sea of tranquility August 23–25, 2019 in Alberta, Canada.

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