COVID KILLED YOUR MOTIVATION? HERE’S HOW TO GET IT BACK WITH EASTERN MEDICINE
A Holistic Approach To Surviving The Slump
Has the last year just absolutely killed your motivation and drive? You’re not alone. What with COVID, quarantine, and working from home, it’s easy to feel like you’ve lost your mojo.
But how do you get it back? Well, when it comes to motivation, perception is reality. It all starts with you. It can feel impossible to get back on track, but it’s not! Here’s how to get out of a slump and start to feel like yourself again with a little help from Eastern medicine.
TCM and Motivation
When it comes to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), motivation is an issue with energy flow. According to TCM principles, our bodies have pathways called meridians that energy, called qi, flows through. Ideally, the meridians let the energy pass easily throughout our entire body so every organ and limb gets the attention that it needs. But things like illness, our environment, and our mental state can actually block up our meridians, preventing that vital life force from getting where it needs to be.
Lack of motivation usually has something to do with your liver qi, in particular. That’s because in TCM theory, your liver is in charge of our emotions and mental state. It’s also supposed to help power your qi flow, pushing it through your meridians to reach every organ. But when your liver qi is blocked up, you can’t process your emotions as well and your qi moves more slowly and unevenly through your body. That’s when we feel low-energy, overwhelmed, and just kind of “blah,” try qigong to give it a push. To get out of that slump, we need to get the qi moving again.
Ayurveda and Motivation
Ayurveda has a slightly different understanding of motivation, but it’s still grounded in our internal energy forces. In Ayurvedic theory, there are 3 doshas made up of 5 different elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth. There’s Vata dosha (space and air), Pitta dosha (fire and water), and Kapha dosha (water and earth). Everyone has all 3 of these dosha inside of them, but one is usually more predominant than the others.
When it comes to lack of motivation, the culprit is usually Kapha dosha. Kapha, which is made up of water and earth, makes us feel grounded, compassionate, and affectionate. But it also has cold, damp elements, so that can make us feel slow, lethargic, and unmotivated.
How To Get Your Motivation Back
TCM is all about the mind-body connection. So it makes sense that acupuncture, the practice of inserting small needles into the first few layers of skin at strategic spots, is a common TCM remedy for motivation.
A review of scientific studies on acupuncture concluded that this ancient practice actually affects our brain chemistry when it comes to emotions and motivation. Using MRI imaging, researchers found out that acupuncture stimulated the anterior insula and striatum, the parts of the brain that are related to motivation. So when you’re feeling stuck in a rut and just can’t seem to get out of it, making an appointment with your local acupuncturist might be just what you need.
Switch It Up
When you’re stuck in a routine, it can be hard to get motivated to do anything differently. And since many of us are working from home, the only change in our routine comes when we switch from working at the kitchen table to working on the couch.
In Ayurveda, the kapha dosha is related to routines. And if we’re not careful, this kapha dosha can overpower us and make it difficult to break out of that rut. That’s why Ayurvedic theory says to have a general routine, but leave room for spontaneity and change. At first, that can look like the little things–inviting a friend to coffee at the last minute, saying yes to plans you’d usually avoid, or even simply taking the dog for a walk down a new route. Little by little, you’ll break down that Kapha rigidity. It might seem small at first, but over time, these little changes will turn into big changes! Soon enough, you’ll get your mojo back.
Fix Your Food
In TCM, food is medicine. So when your liver qi is blocked up and you’re feeling humdrum, it’s time to turn to your fridge.
According to TCM experts, you can help clear up liver stagnation by incorporating lots of fresh veggies like onions, garlic, mustard greens, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, beets, carrots, and kale. Cook with lots of fragrant herbs, including turmeric, basil, mint, cardamom, cumin, dill, and ginger, and try to work in pickled foods like miso and kimchi. On the other hand, it’s best to avoid heavy foods like red meat and dairy. Leafy greens like kale and spinach are loaded with iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, E, and K that will power you up, while heavy red meats take a lot more energy for your body to digest, leaving you lethargic.