It's summertime and most of us are happier. We are more open, more social, making connections, having parties, having fun!
But sometimes in the middle of all this enthusiasm you are just not feeling it. You may be experiencing what we call Lack of Joy. In Five Element theory, summer is connected to the Fire Element, whose emotion is Joy. But, if your internal fire is feeling low and your heart just isn't in it, you can end up feeling alone and lonely even in the midst of a group of friendly people.
Lack of Joy is different than sorrow or grief. It's different than worry or self-comparison. Lack of Joy feels particularly flat, low affect and like you have no spark. Things that you usually enjoy don't make you smile. Or they do, but it only lasts a moment - the spark can't hold. We all have felt this at one point or another. For some of us, it is more familiar territory. It could be a temporary state, or it could set in for a longer time. Are we talking about depression? Well, that depends how you define it. As an acupuncturist I would say, sometimes Lack of Joy is connected with depression, sometimes it's not. In either case, acupuncture treatment that helps rebuild your inner Fire and spark can be a real help towards feeling better - in combination with other counsel you receive and steps you take.
Everyone needs Joy in their life. Having heartfelt connections, laughter and an occasional sense of play and fun is essential for your health and well-being. If you, or someone you know, is struggling in this way, please seek to get help and support in whatever ways fit for you - counseling, connecting with friends, getting bodywork, good nutrition, activities that make you laugh and lighten up - and consider adding an acupuncturist to your support team (and honestly, we all need support).
If you are in the Philadelphia area, I would love to welcome you to my treatment table. If you'd like to hear more about the Fire Element and how to support it, here is an article about it, and my friend's blog post. Also, I hope you take a moment to open your heart to the sun and warmth of this season and to some of the warmth and love of the people around you from strangers to your closest loves. We need warmth and the light of love to grow and thrive!