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Emotional Wellbeing

When I first started getting acupuncture, I was 19 years old and anxiety was a part of my daily life.  Ever since I was a kid, it was so easy for me to be on the verge of tears.  I had done therapy and medication, and was currently studying Buddhism, Daoism and meditation at Boston University.  I took a class in Chinese Medicine and so much of the perspectives on the body resonated with my experience.  I could feel that anxiety and depression were making a home in my body and at times making me physically sick, and tired.  Enter acupuncture.

I can't say that acupuncture fixed my anxiety and depression.  Honestly, it took work.  It took getting comfortable with vulnerability and getting uncomfortable - putting myself through hard things to get to know my strengths.  But acupuncture did start to create some space in my body for ease and for calm, for being honest with someone regularly about how I was feeling and letting that feeling go.  I made space for something else, a seed of acceptance and strength and self love as I navigated loneliness and life's challenges.  

Buddhist and Daoist philosophy has really shaped my worldview.  My Dad is a therapist and was in a commune before I was born.  While I was rolling my eyes at him constantly, I was also learning the power of the breath, of mindfulness and being in nature.  These teachings for me are not inherently religious and I tend to be adverse to anything dogmatic.  But sometimes we need a framework to do the work of unpacking our fears, our insecurities, our rage.  Because this life is beautiful dammit!  It is wonderful in the richness of our experience and wonderful because it is hard and because we don't do it alone.  

Emotional Wellbeing - Amber Hincks Acupuncture in Beaverton, OR

Skills for Joy and Resilience:

1. Grit.  Grit is passion and perseverance.  It is the ability to do hard things and stick with it.  It is a skill that we can cultivate.  In the book Dopamine Nation, Dr. Anna Lembke talks about how we live in a time of abundance of instant gratification and it is zapping our motivation.  We have gotten so used to pleasure seeking in its many forms, that our dopamine, one of our satisfaction hormones, is constantly spiking and dropping.  Eventually it becomes harder to stabilize and more difficult to fulfill, as with cycles of addiction.  Dr Lembke argues that we have lost touch with the pleasure-pain balance, the ability to do sustained work before reaping our reward.  Watch Dr. Lembke talk about Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence.  Or one of the original Ted Talks about Grit by Angela Lee Duckworth.

2. Vulnerability. This might just be the other side of the coin.  Vulnerability is our ability to acknowledge that life is not easy, and yet move forward into uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.  In that place we grow and we connect and we also embody our full selves authentically.  For more on the Power of Vulnerability, here is another Ted Talk with Brene Brown.  

Guided Meditations:

Yoga Nidra/Body Scan:  This type of meditation moves through the body, guiding you to relax each and every muscle and tissue.  I love the image of your eyes resting in their sockets like a comfortable chair.  

Metta (Loving Kindness) Meditation: There are different versions of this meditation which cultivates love and compassion.  Usually it begins with self-love, but if that feels difficult, start with whomever feels easy to love and then gradually turn that compassion inward.

Insight Timer App:  Many free guided meditations for different purposes.  Course available as well.  I especially like Sarah Blondin.


Physiologic Sigh: research supports that this quick technique can have dramatic effects on stress

Box Breathing

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Emotional Wellbeing - Amber Hincks Acupuncture in Beaverton, ORAmber Hincks offers Acupuncture in Beaverton, OR

Dr. Amber Hincks LAc FABORM
Beaverton, OR