Three factors can impact the overall health of an individual and are worth investigating in greater depth. These three issues are

  1. Environment
  2. Emotional Outlook
  3. Way of Life

These three things are the cornerstones for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and while these may seem a slight stretch from the Western perspective of well-being and illness, when unpacked a bit, the issues of environment, emotional outlook, and way of life parallel modern medical attitudes about health.

Environment is the easiest to recognize as a health factor.   Where we live–the amount of pollutants in the area, the access to fresh clean water, as well the amount of sunlight—all impact the health of the body. More, is the area humid or dry? Are there four distinct seasons or consistently temperate or cold? What is the average temperature and amount of sunlight? These environmental issues affect our personal attitudes and outlook upon our day to day existence.

Emotional outlook might be most easily understood through the role that negative emotions shape our well-being:   Are we angry, sad, or anxious?   These emotional states create stress and tension that can compromise the auto-immune system, heart health, and more.   An emotional outlook that is joyful and content, on the other hand, minimizes stress and creates a more harmonious relationship between the individual and his or her world. Understanding our emotional responses and attitudes toward ourselves, our lives, and others is vital to our perception of the overall quality of life.

Way of life is both what we do to make a living as well as how we spend our free time—the overall how and why we live. Obviously, a high-paced, stressful work environment might be exciting, but it creates immense physical and emotional strain unless the person’s emotional outlook is equipped to be deal with such stress. Or do we have the free time to pursue enjoyable hobbies or spend quality time with friends and loved ones? These issues define our sense of purpose the value that we place upon our lives.

These three characters for health are interrelated, and an individual and his or her Qi is impacted in differing degrees by each.   Living in a cloudy environment, for example, may not register upon one person, but for another, the lack of sunlight will directly influence emotional outlook and way of life for another.

The first step in approaching these three characters in order to have a healthier life is to investigate how each of these factors impact a person’s day-to-day life.   From that awareness, a person can make necessary changes that bring the person into a more harmonious relationship with the world. Shifts in life style, attitude, or in the case of environment, moving to a more suitable climate if possible, using a sun lamp, are steps towards better health.   Such conscientious changes align the person with the world, which, in turn, provides the sustenance of a healthy, fulfilling personal life.