According to Chinese Medicine, the human body is animated and energized by 14 main energy meridians. More than 3,500, Chinese physicians mapped the flow of these ‘energy pathways’, and that knowledge became the basis of modern-day acupuncture and acupressure techniques, as well as a whole bunch of other holistic health disciplines. So far so good, but did you know that understanding your body’s energy meridians could also be the key to beating depression? Not a lot of people know this, but as well as transporting energetic ‘juice’ around your body and keeping you physically well, the state of your energy meridians also has a profound impact on your emotional state. The ancient Chinese associated each meridian with a specific set of emotions, and taught that if a particular meridian was weak, blocked or otherwise malfunctioning, that issue would also show up in the person’s related emotions. To put it another way, if you figure out which meridian is home to your ‘happy energy’, it can literally transform the way you deal with depression.

The $64,000 question.

So now, we’ve hit the 64 thousand dollar question: what energy meridian is connected to, and responsible for, our feelings of happiness? The answer is: the Spleen Meridian. Unless you spent a few years’ studying Chinese Medicine, you probably don’t know much about what a Spleen Meridian actually is, let alone how it holds the key to beating depression. So here’s a quick rundown about the Spleen Meridian, and the different jobs it does in the human body:

1: Spleen Meridian deals with all the stuff coming into the body. The Spleen meridian is responsible for digesting, assimilating and 'dealing with' all the input you get from the outside world. That input could be food; it could be environmental; it could be knowledge; or it could be emotions and feelings. (Food allergies, intolerances and learning disorders, to name but a few things, are all connected to issues with the Spleen Meridian, and all of these issues have also mushroomed into massive problems in recent years.)

2: Modern life is pretty hard on Spleen Meridian. The Spleen Meridian can be wiped-out or chronically-weakened by a whole bunch of things that are part and parcel of modern life, including:

Shock or trauma – traumatic births (or traumatic deliveries, if you’re the mom), serious illnesses, child abuse, divorce, car crashes, or even things like watching replays of the Twin Towers coming down.

Chemicals and pollutants – food additives, MSG and bleach can all take out your Spleen Meridian.

Electromagnetic 'smog' – every electronic gadget gives off its own particular ‘vibe’, or frequency. The nearer that frequency is to the natural vibration of the human body, the more it can potentially disrupt the body’s own internal chemical messaging system, and the more damage it can potentially do to your energetic functioning and health. The worst offenders are WiFi, cellphones and microwave ovens.

• Negative, critical emotional environments – Spending too much time with angry, critical people is one of the fastest ways to wipe-out your Happy Energy. • Stress – When you get stressed, that triggers off the ‘fight of flight’ reaction in your body. Another meridian called the Triple Warmer Meridian is responsible for activating your 'fight or flight' response, and when Triple Warmer gets switched on, the first place it sucks all the energy from is your Spleen Meridian.

3: Compassion, caring and nurturing strengthens the Spleen Meridian. The more compassion, caring and nurturing you have in your life, the stronger your Happy Energy will be. It really helps to spend a lot more of your time with upbeat, optimistic, generous folk, but that’s only part of the answer. If you really want to boost your Happy Energy, you also need to work on developing more self-compassion, and to make sure that you’re taking good care of yourself across all three levels of body, mind and soul.

4: Indifference, anger and hostility take out your Spleen Meridian. If your co-worker blows up in your face at the office, or you’re on the receiving end of a ‘road-rage’ induced verbal attack on the way home, the first place you’ll feel it is in your Spleen Meridian. Nothing but nothing dissolves your Happy Energy faster or more effectively than being yelled at, ignored, neglected (especially if you’re a child) or beaten-up, both verbally and otherwise. So minimising the time you spend around angry, negative people is a brilliant way of instantly boosting your Spleen Meridian. But there’s also an inner dimension to this, too. Perfectionist-types who are very hard on themselves, or people who are prone to guilt-tripping themselves for making mistakes or failing to live up to other people’s impossible expectations usually spend far too much time beating themselves up, which is also guaranteed to short-circuit the Spleen Meridian.

How to keep Spleen Meridian strong.

Now you know just how crucial spleen can be to getting, and staying happy, here’s a few easy things you can do to keep it strong and healthy:

• Pray on it – God can move mountains, even if you’re still stuffing in the microwave meals and living next to a nuclear reactor.

• Make sure you're giving and getting enough healthy compassion in your life.

• Do your best to avoid or minimize the stuff that's wiping it out (and if you’re not sure what that is, re-read Fact 2, above, to remind you).

• Exercise regularly – dancing for at least five mad minutes is the single best way to instantly give your Happy Energy a boost.

• Use a simple energy technique (described below) to strengthen the Spleen Meridian. A super-easy technique to strengthen spleen energetically: Tap the spleen pressure points.

A great, easy way to strengthen your Happy Energy is to regularly tap or rub the Spleen acupressure and neurolymphatic points. These points are located just under your boobs, in front, or at the side of your boobs. Tap whichever area feels more tender – the more energy has got blocked or trapped there, the more it will hurt.

The stronger Spleen Meridian is, the happier you’ll feel.

It’s been a best-kept secret for millennia, but keeping your Spleen Meridian strong and vibrant could well be the missing piece of the puzzle, when it comes to beating the blues. Junk food, stress and angry people probably aren’t going to disappear anytime soon, so in the meantime you need to take precautions to keep your Happy Energy strong. Be aware that if you’re feeling down and depressed, a weak or blocked Spleen Meridian is almost certainly a prime cause of the problem, and that there’s a whole bunch of holistic things you can do to get it pumped-up, and working properly again.

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