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December 21, 2010

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TCM: Control stress and Christmas 'fire'

THE weeks fly and Christmas is approaching faster with every day. Christmas is the festival of love and peace and therefore we enjoy spending these special days with our families and friends.

Our holiday preparation starts early: We need to book our flights, prepare our luggage, and buy gifts. Our kids are writing their wish lists and we try to organize our busy schedules of the last days in China as well as of the celebration days in our home countries. Isn't this real stress? - Holiday stress!

Once back in our home countries, we hope that the stress will disappear. However, we will notice fast that it gets worse. Everybody wants to see us; everybody wants to have some time with us - parents, brothers, sisters, friends and children's friends. Dinners here, lunches there, Christmas markets, cooking, baking, decorating.

But what we need right now is just some time for ourselves!

To manage this holiday stress, we need to control our "fire." Fire (in Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM) is what we call stress and emotional overload. TCM doctors associate our emotions with five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water.

TCM believes that the organ which is associated with a specific emotion will balance this emotion. Once the organ is out of balance, the emotion gets imbalanced. And vice versa, once the emotion is out of balance, the organ gets imbalanced. The result of either imbalance is that we feel unwell and become sick.

An advice for the holiday season is to stay cool! We need to control our emotions and avoid overdoing and being emotionally stressed out. By organizing our lives efficiently and by making realistic plans, we can have a relaxed and joyful time. We should give ourselves sufficient time to rest, relax and sleep. Even exercising is advisable to compensate an unhealthy lifestyle and to produce some happy-making hormones. And, if stressful situations still occur, we will breathe deeply and focus ourselves on something different.

Christmas season is a time that we should fully enjoy! When we create enough time for our own and our family's physical and emotional needs, the next Christmas will become the happiest and healthiest celebration in years!

(Doris Rathgeber is the founder of Body & Soul Medical Clinics.)

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