Despite major medical breakthroughs in the past few decades, people’s mental and physical health is just not keeping up. While some of these trends, like a declining life expectancy,1 are seen mostly in high-income countries, others, like the obesity epidemic,2 are global. A Gallup index of people in 145 countries found humans more stressed, anxious, sad, angry and physically in pain than ever before.3
Where did we go wrong?
If we continue to break ground both in medical technology and mental health research, shouldn’t our wellbeing also increase?
There are, of course, economical and political reasons for this discrepancy, but it is more complicated than that. For example, a global risk report from the World Economic Forum comes with a surprisingly blunt warning about how the personal also becomes political.
“A world of increasingly angry people would be likely to generate volatile electoral results and to increase the risk of social unrest. If empathy were to continue to decline, the risks might be even starker.”4
It seems that we are out of balance, both on an individual and societal level. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we refer to this as an imbalance of Yin and Yang.
According to TCM, the universe and all things in it consist of two opposite, but complementary, forces. Yin represents things like darkness, femininity and coldness, while Yang represents light, masculinity and heat. These energies co-exist and are not absolute. There is a small amount of Yin in Yang, and vice versa. But when the balance gets disrupted, chaos can ensure. On a global scale, this can cause conflict and injustice. On a personal level, it can lead to various health issues.
For example, most experts agree that dieters usually fail because they choose a diet that is too strict, both emotionally and physically. It is not necessary to completely eliminate specific foods (although it is a good idea to avoid artificial ingredients). TCM recommends a balance of Yin (cooling) and Yang (warming) foods. (Cooling and warming do not refer to the temperatures of the food, but the effects they have on the body). Karviva’s products are designed with these concepts in mind.
But to achieve harmony, even personally, we need to balance more than just our diet. Look at some of these examples of Yin and Yang:
- Rest - Activity
- Empathy - Ambition
- Creativity – Strategy
- Collaboration - Competition
- Passion – Rationality
Which ones do you feel are out of balance in your life? Chances are, more than one.
It is my belief that we cannot reach peace on a large scale until we find peace within ourselves. Striving to achieve harmony between Yin and Yang is a good starting point.
1 - https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-lifeexpectancy/life-expectancy-declines-seen-in-u-s-and-other-high-income-countries-idUSKCN1L723R
2 - https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277450.php
3 - https://www.zurich.com/en/knowledge/articles/2019/01/decline-in-mental-health-shows-the-human-cost-of-global-risks
4 - https://www.zurich.com/en/knowledge/articles/2019/01/decline-in-mental-health-shows-the-human-cost-of-global-risks