Five Element Fixes: Negative Thoughts

Dear Readers: Welcome to a new feature of the Ask Vicki blog! Over the years, in addition to questions regarding relationships, as a naturopathic physician I’ve been asked about a variety of other issues. Questions regarding physical concerns, certainly, but also emotional, mental, and even spiritual issues, as well. And in truth, they are relationships questions because they address how we relate to ourselves and our environment.

The answers to these questions are usually short and sweet, but also rational and logical. And of course, they are grounded in the Five Elements model! The information seems more important now than ever before, so I’d like to share some of these with you here.

Question: I seem to have a lot of negative thoughts lately. What can I do?

Answer: Rub lemon oil behind both ears, then rub your hands together and inhale the fragrance slowly for at least one minute. Do this daily.

Why: Mental energy is deeply impacted (some might even say “governed”) by the Metal element. Because Metal energy can be so mental, that’s where we need to work if we have negative thoughts. For people with a lot of Metal energy – or people who tend to live in their heads a lot – it can be really important to keep Metal energy balanced.

Lemon oil works to balance the Metal element. When unbalanced, Metal energy can become critical, negative, inflexible, or controlling. When Metal energy is balanced, it vibrates at a higher frequency and is reasonable, logical, rational, and wise. There is a lot going on these days that stresses the Metal desire to have things done the right way, so using lemon oil daily will not only help with negative thoughts, it will help maintain the processes so important to Metal element people.

Stay safe and well,

Vicki

Five Element Fixes: Sugar Cravings

Dear Readers: Welcome to a new feature of the Ask Vicki blog! Over the years, in addition to questions regarding relationships, as a naturopathic physician I’ve been asked about a variety of other issues. Questions regarding physical concerns, certainly, but also emotional, mental, and even spiritual issues, as well. And in truth, they are relationship questions because they address how we relate to ourselves and our environment.

The answers to these questions are usually short and sweet, but also rational and logical. And of course, they are grounded in the Five Elements model! The information seems more important now than ever before, so I’d like to share some of these with you here. Today, we’re going to start with one of my favorites!

Question: What can I do for my sugar cravings? 

Answer: Drink Lemon Balm tea.

Why: Sugar cravings sit in the Earth element of the Five Elements model. That’s where our grounding sits, too. With all that’s going on these days, it’s easy to feel stressed and ungrounded. For people with a lot of Earth energy, a little bit of sugar can sometimes help. But remember, too much sugar is never a good thing! It’s bad for us physically and can also heighten our panic response.

Drinking lemon balm tea helps with sugar cravings because it works to balance the two primary meridian energies of the Earth element: Stomach and Spleen. When these energies are balanced, sugar cravings usually go away. There are many other ways to balance our Earth energies, but drinking lemon balm tea is a particularly pleasant and easy one. Plus, there’s an added bonus: The taste of lemon balm tea alone often satisfies a sweet tooth. Enjoy!

Stay safe and well,

Vicki

Current Events Stress a Relationship

Dear Vicki: I’m having an issue with my husband of three years and hope you can help. Jax is a wise and kind guy who’s really into things being done the “right” way. When he’s stressed, he can get pretty dismissive, but other than that we usually get along really well. Recently, though, we had a significant argument about the upcoming elections. I can’t believe what’s happening in our country and am terribly concerned. Jax just shrugs and tells me not to worry. But so many people are hurting in so many ways, how can I not worry? And how can he be so seemingly indifferent about something so important? Does he even have a heart? What can I do to convince him that he needs to care more? Signed: Worried Wife 

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Dear Worried Wife: Yours is not the first letter I’ve received about current events here in the U.S. This is not a blog about politics, but fortunately for your situation, I think the issue is less about politics and more about understanding each other. I can’t help you with specific election issues, but I can help you understand some of what’s going on between you and Jax. Much of it has to do with the interaction between your elemental personalities, so let’s start there.

Based on the way you describe Jax, I think it’s safe to say he is a primary Metal elemental personality. Doing things the “right” way, an ability to stay detached, and becoming dismissive when stressed are all pretty characteristic of the Metal personality. And you are clearly a primary Earth personality. Caring what happens to people and a tendency to worry are two very dominant characteristics of Earth people. So, what does that mean for your relationship? To answer that, we will look at our ever-popular Five Elements model.

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Neighbors Use Her Pool Without Permission

Dear Vicki: It’s a hot summer where we live and I’m having trouble with a neighbor who keeps using our outdoor pool without being invited. I know outdoor socializing is less of an issue these days (although I still worry myself sick about our family getting Covid), but when they come over, I can’t bring myself to tell them to go home. The guilt would kill me. However, other than the social distancing thing, it’s also a problem because her five children are poorly behaved, to say the least. They splash water all over, run around the pool when we’ve specifically told them to walk, and generally don’t follow the rules, which really disturbs me. Honestly, my family just doesn’t like them. I’m so sorry to be unkind, but we are already stressed and having rude neighbors here ruins things for my family. I want to do the right thing, but also don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or create a difficult relationship with the people next door. Can you help? Signed: Feeling Guilty and Miffed

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Dear Guilty and Miffed: First, let me assure you that you are not being unkind. Frankly, you sound pretty practical to me. As far as I know, creating family “bubbles” for socialization is still the best way to stay safe and well during this pandemic. Most people who take this approach usually think long and hard before they include others in their bubbles. And pandemic issues aside, if a neighbor is ruining things for your family, they shouldn’t be at your house. So, let’s look at what might be going on between you and your neighbor, and from there I think we can come up with ways to address your situation.

Based on your letter, I think it’s safe to say that you are a primary Earth personality (worrying yourself sick is very Earthy, as is feeling guilty). However, your dislike of the neighbors not following the rules strongly suggest that you have a secondary Metal personality. Metal people deeply believe that rules are meant to be followed. They also have a lot of structure (they can be the most structured of the elemental personalities), so can easily land in a place of “what’s right is right, and what isn’t right is just wrong.”

Your neighbor, on the other hand, seems to me to be a primary Wood personality. It takes a lot of hutzpah to continually invite yourself and your children over to use someone else’s pool – especially during a pandemic – unless a standing invitation has been issued (which it doesn’t sound like you’ve done). The elemental personality that has that kind of “pushy” energy is Wood. This means that you, as a primary Earth personality are trying to deal with a Wood personality. And it’s no surprise you’re losing.

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A Perfectionist Drowning in Stress

Dear Vicki: My husband Roland is a truly kind person, but he has a deep appreciation for structure and doing things the “right” way. For almost twenty years he has managed an art gallery and done it very well. The gallery had grown and taken on dozens of new artists, and Roland personally championed each of them. But since the pandemic hit, Roland has become judgmental, overly critical, and even somewhat sloppy. The gallery has reopened, and sales are picking up, but Roland isn’t getting back to his usual self. I’ve tried to support him by bringing cookies and his favorite lunches to the gallery – and even tried flirting with him – but nothing seems to work. In fact, the gallery is doing fine these days, but he seems to be getting worse. Help! Signed: Misses Her Man

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Dear Misses: Roland is a lucky guy to have someone who cares about him so much. Bless you for trying, but I suspect that flirting (and lots of cookies) aren’t enough to get him back to his usual self. Given how you describe him, Roland’s primary elemental personality is likely Metal. The fact that he has a “deep appreciation for structure and doing things the ‘right’ way” strongly suggests Metal. People with a primary Metal personality are usually wonderfully structured perfectionists, until they become stressed. When that happens, they can become a dysfunctional version of their normal selves.

If, in the face of stress, the distortion is toward too much Metal energy, an out of balance Metal person will seem domineering, controlling, and dismissive. Conversely, too little Metal energy will usually manifest as an inability to determine what’s important (confusion), which makes the Metal person more critical. It’s a subtle, but important distinction because it will determine the best way to help the stressed Metal personality. Based on your description, it sounds like Roland’s Metal energy is depleted, and in truth, it’s not a big surprise.

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