Are you a sensitive person? Does each cold season leave you feeling ill, and every bug hit you the hardest? Have you ever noticed that you seem to absorb the moods of those around you? In Chinese medicine, it is the lungs’ responsibility to protect you from things that come in from outside. It is possible to have both excellent health and an overflowing heart. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what makes us more permeable, and discuss ways to embrace sensitivity without lowering immunity.
What Constitutes Sensitivity?
While society has its own ideas of what makes an individual sensitive, the truth is that we all absorb thoughts, emotions, and conditions from other people. Think about the last time you laughed out loud at a funny movie. What was your mood prior to watching? Was it changed by the characters on the screen? We are heavily influenced by the emotions around us. However, for some people, this manifests physically as a higher susceptibility to illness and allergies, including food sensitivities. Negativity and stress can lead to emotional disturbances. Usually, those of us who are more permeable have more than one of these conditions at a time!
When Sensitivity Becomes Harmful
I see many patients who are overwhelmed with both physical and emotional conditions. This includes Brenda, a recent patient who complained of frequent digestive disturbances, bouts of depression and anxiety, and chronic sinus infections. As I dug a little deeper into her history, we discovered together that she was mirroring the symptoms present in her circle of friends. Whenever one person would complain of heartburn or nausea, she would wake up the next morning in the same condition. She worried that her immune system may be heavily compromised, and also wondered if it was all in her head.
Choosing Empathy Without Self-Harm
If like Brenda, you find yourself rapidly taking on the symptoms of others, there is much you can do! While addressing immunity is an essential start, focusing on the power of the lungs to help filter out any negativity that surrounds you is equally important. Follow the steps below to learn to increase your resistance to dangerous moods and illness while maintaining your empathetic nature.
- Learn to tune into your own emotions. Knowing which feelings come from you and which originate elsewhere can help you shed negativity. Notice when your mood shifts. Was it because your spouse had a hard day at work, and is under a lot of pressure? While it is okay to sympathize, you don’t have to suffer as well!
- Dedicate time to healthy habits. Do you have an exercise routine? A meal plan? A meditation schedule? Take five minutes right now to assess your overall health, and make sure that you spend time addressing your own needs. As your health changes, remember to update your habits accordingly.
- Learn to let go. If you find that you’re increasingly stressed, worried, angry, and unwell, examine the baggage you’re carrying with you. Do you have regrets weighing you down? Negative self-talk on repeat? Acknowledge these emotions, and realize that they no longer serve you. Create a ritual of letting go by writing down each of these feelings, and then erasing them, crossing them out, or tearing them up. Replace any negativity with love, forgiveness, patience, and tolerance.
- Embrace the quiet. So many of us find silence difficult to endure. However, it is in moments of absolute quiet that our greatest healing occurs. If you feel overwhelmed by conditions connected to others, spending time alone will help you recharge and redirect your focus. It is not selfish to need time alone. Self-care is never an indulgence, but a right that we must exercise!
- Take great care of your physical health. If your body is extra-susceptible to the illnesses of others, take extra time to boost your immune system by choosing helpful supplements, getting enough rest, and staying hydrated. Eliminate foods that set you off, and rid yourself of toxins by practicing a seasonal cleanse. (I offer my own version, beginning November 1st, below.)
Why Sensitivity is a Blessing
Sensitivity may have its health complications, but overall it is a beneficial trait. Many of my patients who present with these symptoms are more caring, considerate, and attentive. Instantly, they can read the mood of the room, and adjust their reactions accordingly. These individuals are often gifted creatively and have a knack for connecting with others. They share their negative experiences to uplift those in the midst of similar struggles.
If, like me, you find that you are among the overly sensitive, give your lungs an extra boost by allowing yourself the same courtesy you’d give to others. When you’re feeling rundown, or have had a hard day, grant yourself the time to recover. If you feel yourself absorbing the emotions of others, excuse yourself from the room and take a few deep breaths. By checking back in with your own feelings, you can also influence others – in this case for the better!
Get closer to your health goals this fall. Join us for our November 1st cleanse for a great head start in boosting your immunity before the holidays arrive!