Types of Worry
The first thing I like to clarify with patients is what they mean by the word “worry.” It is a rather vague catchword that can mean a handful of things to different people.
Spleen Type: A rapidly spinning mind that continuously rehashes events and contemplates the future. Always looking for seventeen different solutions to problems rather than one and never really trusting the way events played out. This is an inability to turn off the inner voice in the head.
Liver Type: This would be more the breath-holding, jaw-clenching, don’t-talk-about-it kind of worry. The fear of tests, moving or surgical procedures. The stuck in the mud kind of worry. It is usually short term and circumstantial and then everything eases up.
Lung Type: This is the hardest type of worry to describe and the least common, but it is important to recognize. This type of worry is a darker, sadder cloud of worry. This is the type of worry that inhibits the grieving process or the recovery process. It doesn’t speed things up like the Spleen Type to make you run in circles, it slows things down. Think of the vague sad worrying that happens when you are sick with a head cold or the flu.
Kidney Type: This really isn’t worry and is usually a misuse of the word. The Kidneys are associated with fear. So if the worries are about catastrophic events happening or physical danger to you or your loved ones, this is more about fear. If the things you are worried about happening are very serious and horrible usually the Kidneys are involved. Normal worry can spin into this type of worry when the body gets too depleted.
Why is Worry Dangerous?
Chinese Medicine believes the worry “knots the qi.” A rather poetic expression for stopping the flow of life force in the body. Instead of making us more productive because we may be seeing all the angles, the energy utilized in a spinning mind depletes the Spleen qi and cause the qi to move erratically. What happens in the body when the Spleen qi is weakened or the qi is knotted? Irregular or painful periods, joint pain, muscle tightness, heart palpitations, insomnia, poor digestion, loose stools, low appetite, weight gain, irritability and worst of all an inability to handle stress.
Strategies to Stop Worrying
- Acupuncture/Chinese Herbs
- Talk Therapy (especially body related techniques like Hypnosis, EMDR, Somatic Work, etc.)
My best trick for worries is making a Universe Jar. This is a trick from The Artist’s Way when Julia Cameron talks about making a jar that you fill with little notes about your biggest worries. Put them somewhere so that God or Goddess or the Universe knows about your worries and can protect them. Then every once in a while go in and empty the old ones out and put in new ones.
Other posts from this series
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