Spring Equinox

Shifts and the Spring Equinox

The Spring Equinox or vernal equinox occurs on the 20th of March this year  (11.02 GMT 2013).

This is when the length of the day and night become equal. The daytimes then become progressively longer in the northern hemisphere up to the Summer Solstice on the 21st of June- the longest day.

The Spring Equinox is highly significant to our health and wellbeing according to chinese medicine, pagan/druid based beliefs, many holistic approaches to health and mood, fertility, farming, religion…a long list!

From my training in Natural Nutrition (see www.natnut.co.uk) the view is that both the spring and autumn equinoxes create a flip of energy within the body.

(As do the new moon and full moon to a lesser degree – see Moon Time: The Art of Harmony with Nature and Lunar Cycles

by Thomas Poppe).


At these change over points the flip of energy creates the opportunity for significant detoxification in the body, which when managed well using diet and naturopathic techniques, can lead to higher vitality.


So now is a good time to drink plenty of water, eat lightly or even fast for a day to allow the body to make full use of the aided detoxification. This is also apparently why many people get colds or flu around equinoxes as a way of releasing toxins.

And of course we are affected by many natural rhythms – because essentially it’s all connected. Day/night cycles – circadian rhythms, lunar cycles and seasonal cycles all have an effect on us.

It’s been statistically proven that hospitals, mental health organisations and police stations experience increased activity on full moons – hence the word ‘lunatic’.

We could call ourselves ‘biological timepieces’. We move with the rhythm of nature, and we are constantly changing and evolving.

My approach to counselling is called ‘Contemporary Psychotherapy’  because it honours this fact. We are constantly in process, and symptoms may be an attempt to bring an aspect of ourselves back into balance in some way.

So rather than looking for ways to get rid of the symptoms as quickly as possible (which may be difficult to do), I tend to encourage the client to try to be curious about them in the first instance.

This curiosity may help with understanding, acceptance and perhaps a change in behaviour or circumstances – thereby restoring balance for the client and a sense of ease with their wider environment.

For more information on this subject in general, have a look at Cellular Awakening: How Your Body Holds and Creates Light by Barbara Wren.

The best affirmations

The best affirmations are…afformations!

Most of us know about positive affirmations, and they can be highly effective in encouraging positive thinking and focusing our mind upon optimistic outcomes.

But as statements, are they in the best format for our brains to process and act upon?

A few years ago a success coach and trainer called Noah St. John came upon the idea that our mind, and in particular our unconscious mind is designed to search for answers to questions.

flickr: Horia Varian

Human thought is like a computer continuously searching and finding evidence to reinforce the unconscious beliefs we have about ourselves and our place in the World.

So we may be consciously telling ourselves positive statements (affirmations) such as “I am happy” and “I am successful”.

But if our unconscious mind (the other 90% of our mind) is holding an opposing belief that “I am not successful” then the affirmation is unlikely to be effective.

But if we ask ourselves a positive question such as “Why am I happy?” or “Why am I successful?” then we are creating a task for our unconscious mind to search for evidence that supports the question.

And in doing this we are redirecting the focus of our minds towards ourselves and our environment in a positive way.

Noah St. John calls these questions afformations, because they can form new outcomes and feelings rather than reaffirming what is already in place.

Some of the most common afformations include :

Why am I so rich?

Why am I so happy?

Why am I enough?

Why am I good enough?

Why do I have what it takes to succeed?

Why do I have the courage to do what I love?

Why does opportunity come so easily to me now?

Why do I enjoy so much success?

Why do I have more than enough money?

Why does having what I want help others get what they want?

The key point is that you do not need to have the answers. Your unconscious mind will go away in the background and begin searching for answers to these questions.

Just try a few for size. You may notice an immediate shift or relaxation just by asking yourself these questions.

For more information, see Noah’s books on afformations and the unconscious habits of successful, happy people :

The Secret Code of Success: 7 Hidden Steps to More Wealth and Happiness

Book of Afformations®: Discovering the Missing Piece to Abundant Health, Wealth, Love, and Happiness

The Great Little Book of Afformations: Incredibly Simple Questions – Amazingly Powerful Results!

Music and life

Here’s a great video from one of my favourite philosophers – Alan Watts.

Fun to watch, yet it really gets you thinking about the amount of conditioning we are all subjected to, and how it can drive us towards constant striving and focusing on the future rather than the present moment.

4:36 PM

Here are 3 great posts from the neuropsychologist Rick Hanson.

Our brain has evolved over time with 3 distinct structures.

Our reptilian-like core brain-stem, our mammalian limbic system, and our primate – based cortex.

Although interconnected, they each evolved with their own primary purposes.

The Reptile part – Brainstem, focused on avoiding harm
The Mammal part – Limbic system, focused on approaching rewards
The Primate part – Cortex, focused on attaching and connecting to ourselves and others
Each part can have an influence on our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

With an awareness of each part’s needs, we can then work towards soothing our brainstem : petting the lizard

feeding and fulfilling our limbic system : feeding the mouse,

and connecting and relating with ourselves and others in nurturing ways : hugging the monkey.

Have a look and see what you think.

Exercise for mental health and physical wellbeing

We are meant to move. Our bodies are designed to respond positively to movement. Our bodies work better, and our mood and quality of thinking benefit. I like to make comparisons with the natural environment.

When a river moves less, it starts to stagnate. Flow is reduced, silt and particles begin to build up, fish suffer, bacteria thrive and anaerobic decomposing conditions develop. The health of the river is stimulated by its movement.

Similar comparisons can be made anywhere where flow is reduced, from an airless damp bathroom where mould is encouraged, through to the arteries in our bodies that can become narrowed through inactivity. Encouraging the movement of air and oxygenated blood in our bodies as a result of exercise is both cleansing and energising.

And exercise is increasingly being seen as one of the best ways to improve your mood and the quality of your thoughts.

Studies are beginning to show that movement and exercise, especially in the natural environment, bring about positive results in managing stress or mental health issues – Also see these news articles :



There are a number of ways we can move and exercise, and clearly it needs to be appropriate for the individual. But anything that encourages flow in our bodies and the active use of our muscles will be beneficial.

Breathing exercises alone can be cleansing, mood boosting and energising.

I remember a yoga teacher talking about the benefit of breathing and stretching exercises to cleanse the deepest parts of our lungs, which may suffer from ill effects through stagnation.

Any gentle stretching should bring about health benefits and increased flexibility. They don’t need to be advanced yoga positions, but the body is likely to become restricted and weaken as we get older without stretching –  to the point where putting on socks can become a challenge!

Perhaps attending a pilates, tai chi or yoga class would be useful in learning the fundamentals safely to begin with, as well as a way of meeting others (another positive factor for wellbeing).

More active exercises include aerobic training and strength training. Most sports and physical leisure activities will have the physical, social and emotional benefits already described.

Views on training regimes seem to be changing all the time, with increasing emphasis on resistance training and intense short burst training rather than endurance based training – see the excellent Dr Mercola website for a wealth of articles on this topic.

However, what is consistent (and growing) is the evidence that movement and exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve your health, mood and wellbeing.

So, if you’re not doing so already, I’d encourage you to get out there and get moving!

(image by Fiona Ayerst)