The Metal Element and Grief

Autumn is when the metal element is most active.  The metal element is represented by the Lung and Large Intestine Meridians.  It is the perfect time of year to tonify lung energy which helps to protect the body from colds and illness.  The lungs also carry the emotion of grief.

Everyone experiences grief or loss in a lifetime.   Whether it is the death of a loved one, end of a relationship or loss of a pet; grief is a difficult emotion which is part of life.  If we allow ourselves to feel and express the pain, we can begin to let it go.  We don’t let go of the love and memories just the painful emotion.

When our grief is repressed, expressed without control or felt intensely over a long period of time it is harmful to lung energy.  In TCM the lung energy is associated with openness to new ideas, clear thinking, communication and our ability to relax and enjoy life.  When we are out of balance or are experiencing excessive grief it is difficult to cope with a loss.  We can also experience alienation which overtime can lead to depression.

Some healthy ways to deal with grief are:

  • Acknowledge your feelings without judgement.  Be kind to yourself.
  • Deep breathing exercises help to release grief. Practices such as yoga, tai chi, meditation and chi gong all utilize breathing exercises.
  • Walk in nature
  • Foods that nourish lung energy include: garlic, onion, cabbage, radish, walnuts, almonds, banana, sweet potato, and cinnamon.