Ying deficiency is an energetic imbalance from the perspective of the health model employed in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In TCM, there are two streams of energy which interact within the body; one is yang and the other is ying. Yang energy is the term used to refer to the active energy within the body; it sustains all activities in the body and it is also the energy which we use in order to carry out activities in the world. For instance when we do something we are tapping into our yang energy, when we feel tired and uninterested in doing something it means that our yang energy is deficient. By the same token ying is the nurturing energy; it provides sustenance for activities within the body as well as the capacity to feel nurtured in our daily lives.


The best way to explain ying energy is through examples. Moisture, which makes, a person's face appear young and vibrant is an aspect of ying; because ying is nurturing, it manifests as moisture within the cells of the body. Another example on a daily level is the capacity for hope: the capacity to feel nurtured and hopeful about life is an aspect of ying. While yang deficiency symptoms are fatigue, weak immune system and inefficient metabolic processes; ying deficiency symptoms manifest emotionally; for instance, anxiety, unease and hopelessness. So although ying deficiency has some role to play in metabolic functioning, particularly in its relationship to yang energy, the most important aspect of ying deficiency is emotional burnout and nervous tension.


Ying Deficiency and Mental-emotional Suffering


The subject of ying deficiency is a vast subject which extends far beyond the scope of this article. Furthermore, mental-emotional suffering is also a vast subject. So do bear in mind that what follows is a generalization which focuses on the big picture rather than on minute.


Simply put, all mental-emotional suffering entails some degree of ying deficiency! If your ying levels are high for instance, even though you may be undergoing tribulations, nevertheless you will still retain a fair degree of hopefulness and a philosophical outlook. So even people with substantial reserves of ying can feel pain and suffering under duress. The key concept here is duress, whereas someone with low levels of ying energy will feel under duress even when everything is apparently running smoothly!


Adding to the complexity, there is a reciprocal relationship between happiness and ying energy. Happiness enhances ying and ying enhances happiness; of course, when we are struggling in life our ying goes down which in turn drags down our happiness!


Why Enhancing Ying Energy Can Make You More Able to Cope with Life


There is, however, an upside to this reciprocal relationship in that, while it is true that external events can drag ying energy down, which in turn reduces happiness. It also means that by working on our ying energy, we can become happier and better able to cope with adversity!


In order to improve ying energy, it is important to be aware of some of the signs of ying deficiency in the first place. As noted earlier, it is not always obvious when ying is low, for instance under adverse circumstances everyone feels unhappy. However, we can become aware of some of the signs of ying deficiency.


Signs of Ying Deficiency


Here, are some prominent symptoms:


• The feeling of despondency, even when everything is running smoothly.


• The vague feeling of paranoia, with no apparent cause.


• Feeling hot, even when everyone else is cold.


• Night sweats.


• Little or no white coating on the tongue, and the tongue darkish red in colour.


Strategies for Improving Ying Energy


There are several strategies for improving ying energy:


First off all, if you think that you have severe ying deficiency, it is a good idea to go to a traditional Chinese medical practitioner/acupuncturist, who will treat you via acupuncture and herbs.


Other strategies, which you can, do by yourself:


• Nurturing yourself- Sounds easy, however, it is surprisingly difficult to do. Most people are not good at looking after themselves; the best way to maintain good ying is to have a balanced lifestyle which includes exercise, good nutrition, hobbies, good interpersonal relationships and any activity which boosts self-esteem!


• Diet- Cooling foods help to enhance ying; some examples are apples, apricots, cauliflowers, potatoes and zucchini.


• Diet- Avoid excessive consumption of coffee, sugar and alcohol.


• Drink lots of water- Ying is the essence of moisture; consequently water improves ying.


• Take one day at a time- Jesus mentions it and there has been at least one famous song about it, taking one day at a time is a great way to maintain a hopeful, nurtured outlook!


Ying Deficiency – a Measurement of Nurture


Deficiency of ying energy is a symptom of a lifestyle, which lacks nurture. A greater level of nurture indicates a higher level of ying in the body. Furthermore, it is not necessary to crash and burn; with a little due diligence, it is possible to improve your life, by simply paying attention to the signs of ying deficiency!