Take time to be sad… An interesting topic for an end-of-the-year newsletter just before the holidays. Usually this time of year is filled with messages of joy, hope and light. So why am I about to tell you to feel your sadness and even make time for it? Because I am learning personally and with my patients that to truly feel our feelings is the only way to heal, and moreover, it’s the path to peace and TRUE joy.

Many of us like to think our way through problems and skip the feelings for obvious reasons: feelings hurt, they are heavy, they “get in the way” of movement and progress, and they are downright uncomfortable. Many of us have learned from a young age to not feel- perhaps feelings weren’t acknowledged or talked about in our families, or perhaps you were a sensitive soul or got burned one too many times, and didn’t know how to cope with feelings and so you decided to stop feeling. My message for you for the coming year is not to fear the feelings, not to numb the feelings, and not to think your way through the feelings, but to allow yourself to FEEL the feelings- this is they way through and past the pain.

Many people come to acupuncture and Chinese medicine seeking relief from anxiety, sadness, depression, fatigue, brain fog and insomnia. And truly, most patients that come in- whether it be for migraines, dysmenorrhea or allergies, have some degree of anxiety and stress that they also want support with…These symptoms, and any matter relating to the emotions and mind, are all associated with the Heart organ in Chinese medicine. When assessing these patients I will always find an abnormal pulse in the Heart position, and typically within days of treatment these symptoms improve. This is amazing, but not the point of this newsletter : ) It is often a stuck emotion that is at the root of these patient’s symptoms.

How do I know they are stuck?
1. They are sad/anxious,
2. Their pulse tells me so,
and 3. they can’t remember the last time they cried. Women who come to see me months into fertility treatments- a predicament that has been compared to having a chronic disease- cannot remember the last time they cried. Children cry all of the time…when did adults learn not to cry?

When thinking of these patients I began to think of the physical Heart organ and contemplated how it is constantly MOVING- receiving blood from the body and then dispersing freshly oxygenated blood back into the body. The Heart is always RECEIVING and LETTING-GO. The Heart does not HOLD onto the blood. If it does, and when it does, we have to call a Cardiologist. (In many ancient traditions the emotions reside in the blood- but that awesome fact is also for another time!) My point is we can learn from our physical heart about what our emotional heart must do to stay well-
receive and let-go. So much of anxiety and depression (but not all) comes from us holding on to feelings, stories, and resentments. And yes, there is a time for everything and some things take more time to heal than others, but overall, it’s important to let-go and release negative feelings as soon as is possible. You have surely heard this before as science and the healing world talks more and more about how emotions can cause physical disease.

I’m here to give you a practical way to stay healthy by moving through emotions regularly- this involves time to be sad. Please note, I’m not saying take time to be depressed, but to take time to be sad/heartbroken. Depression is a condition of severe stagnation and despair. To be heartbroken is to feel pain- a natural human experience. Feeling pain can be protective- like when we touch a hot surface and the nerves in our fingers send a message to our brains to move us away from the danger- that is pain guarding us. I believe it is the same with emotional pain. And, there is positive heartbreak too…of watching child go off to school or get married; of moving to a new city for a great job but having to leave good friends behind, or even watching a sunset that marks the end of a magical day with loved ones. Setting time aside to feel allows us to process, absorb and clarify life.

Take an hour a day to be sad (angry, afraid, etc.). This leaves 23 hours in the day for other feelings and frees up physical as well as mental energy. This is a practice my teacher Rabbi Nachman of Breslov taught and said was of primary importance to one’s life. He taught regarding this, …set aside some time each day for heartbreak…isolate yourself with a broken heart before God for a given time…but the rest of the day be joyful. (source: Likutei Moharan 2:25) This practice has helped me personally through many challenging periods of life, and holds the key to surviving and thriving through various ordeals that life can bring.

It does not have to be an actual hour. But, I do recommend giving yourself at least 15-20 minutes. What does this look like practically?

  • You may designate some time in your morning routine to feel your feelings- whether it’s before or during your meditation, prayer, stretching, or yoga. Or, in the evening when it’s quiet and you can be alone with your mind and heart.
  • Put on some music- something that stirs the heart. Many of us have gotten so good at not feeling, that it takes some coaxing to help them rise to the surface. Whenever I ask a patient if they have a song that always makes them cry, they usually know immediately what it is-
    put on that song!
  • If time and music are not enough to bring the feelings on, then say a word or sentence (out loud) that relates to the issue you are looking to resolve. Words like, “sad,” “why?” “hurts” “heavy” “confused,” etc. Speaking it out loud is important- speech is the voice of the heart- that’s why therapy helps so much!!!
  • You may continue to say words, or sentences about the matter at hand…you may have moments of pause and in these moments I encourage you to feel and feel deeply, trusting that on the other side of the pain is relief, calm, and comfort. Cry if you can because tears literally wash away the pain and help us see more clearly. We avoid feelings because they are hard and hurtful but know that the way beyond them is only through them. Denying them, avoiding them, numbing them is only delaying the pain.

Unfortunately there is much to be heartbroken about in our world…individually, nationally and globally. Each of us holds something- some experience, some conflict, or even trauma. And, there is also MUCH to be grateful and joyful about in life. But to truly access and feel the joy, we have to make room by releasing the old, and clearing out the pain. Some people hold things for 10, 20, 50 years, sacrificing joy and full-lived life as a result. This is why it’s important to make a daily or weekly practice of acknowledging and feeling discomfort and pain, so that we can let it go quickly, and not hold it too long so that it causes problems in our bodies and interpersonally.

I have practiced this with patients in the clinic and it provides tremendous relief to them. And what follows?! Relief, relaxation, health, creativity and the resolve to start again. And we can all achieve this outside the treatment room on a regular basis…with a little self-love, compassion and effort.

Please be in touch if you have any questions about this practice. I wish you strength and the courage to feel, and I support you in your healing journey.

Warmest wishes for happy and meaningful holidays, and a beautiful, healthy New year!
Miriam Pineles

Miriam Pineles is Board certified in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal medicine and Licensed in Acupuncture by the state of NY. Miriam graduated from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in New York City with a Master’s degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine and has a private practice in midtown NYC. Miriam studies regularly with world-reknown acupuncturist Dr. Richard Tan to give her patients immediate relief of pain and the highest quality Acupuncture treatment. In addition to treating infertility, Miriam treats a variety of women’s health conditions, digestive disorders, physical pain, headaches and anxiety and depression.
Dr Miriam Pineles Conscious Health & Wellness


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