The realization that adaptation is a foundation of health really shifted things for me. I’ve always known that health is balance, and health is homeostasis, but I did not realize how much my failure to adapt to some areas of life had impacted my health. People rely on adaptogenic substances to restore physiological stability, but pay little attention to the lack of adaptation in their mind and emotions.
The only certain thing about life is that it is always changing. Sometimes, these changes are not what we hope for. We may lose someone or move to a place where we have no friends. Work and home environments can change (for better or worse) every year. New responsibilities, relationship issues, or having kids move out are other events that require adaptation. And sometimes, life just isn’t meeting expectations. Whatever the case may be, we’re faced with two options: adapt and adopt a positive outlook, or change the situation (or both)!
Our complaints in life show the ways we’ve become attached to a concept of the way we want things instead of being grateful for the way things are. Appreciation of everything good in your life or a given circumstance enhances your adaptability, while complaining and bemoaning increases the allostatic load by communicating to the stress-response system that all is not well.“
-Power of the Five Elements: The Chinese Medicine Path to Healthy Aging and Stress Resistance
In short: Repetitive negative feelings about life create chronic stress within the body, which plants seeds for maladaptation and illness.
The specific way a person becomes “maladapted” depends on their personality type. Some people become maladapted through depression or rigidness, others through fear and anxiety, others with anger. Chinese medicine has a thorough system for describing people and the ways they become maladapted with 5 element theory. Discussing a person’s elemental type is one of my favorite parts of medical astrology (each of the 5 elements are indicated by a planet in the horoscope). But for this article, I’m focusing on what applies to everyone).
Often in childhood, illness, emotional trauma, or unhealthy parenting leads to an energetic imbalance in one of the elements. People are generally more adaptable when young and become progressively more rigid as they age. It is when we start to settle into our imbalances, take on more stress, and complain that life didn’t work out how we wanted, that these imbalances and disease take hold.
The longer you stay in situations or in a mindset that “life is not good” or “I am not happy” the weaker your vitality and disease resistance becomes. Your body listens to everything you tell it. Years of self-demeaning thoughts will disrupt your hormones. Prolonged anger and sadness will disrupt your heart rhythm. There is always a physical price to pay for chronic negative emotions.
We Can’t Adapt to Everything
But we can’t expect ourselves to adapt to everything, nor should we try to. How are you supposed to adapt to being mistreated or not getting enough sleep each night? How are you supposed to adapt to feeling run-ragged every day, if you have a high-stress job or lifestyle?
It’s important to know what can be adapted to, and what needs to be changed. Ideally, we are continuously working to improve life, but recognize that some chapters are more grueling than others. And until the situation can change, we need to shift our mindset as much as possible to take away the stress load.
This is not “toxic positivity.” There are events in life that deserve grief. The goal is not to stay in our grief forever and to cling to the things that make our lives worthwhile and enjoyable. For the sake of our health.
Astrological Indications of Adaptability
You don’t need to know any astrology to understand these concepts or live by this wisdom, but…this is an astrology site. Sooo, here we go:
The Moon indicates one’s adaptability, and Mercury gives discernment. So, when Moon is in a sign of Mercury, or receiving an aspect from Mercury, one can discern what can reasonably be adapted to. This is what allows a person to know “This situation is not something I can adapt to, so I am going to change it/remove it from my life.”
Those without this aspect to Moon will be more willing to deal with stressful situations that are not good for them. They may shoulder unnecessary burdens, or diminish their needs. They will attempt to adapt their needs to the situation until they realize “wait, I actually can’t live this way.”
Ernst Wilhelm told me that a planet’s Dig Bala score shows how easily a planet switches between its active (yang) and inactive (yin) energies to get itself unstuck from illness. If you talk to Eastern medicine practitioners or have spent time observing people yourself, you’ll find that the majority of people with persistent health issues fall into two categories: high-strung and hyperactive, or those who have become too sedentary and lethargic. Dig Bala shows which systems/organs in the body will be more prone to getting “stuck” in overactivity or inactivity.
Regarding dig bala, I am still in the process of understanding the real-life application in charts that I read. Ernst said the common denominator for people who could not get themselves out of their illness had low dig bala for the planet in question. This information seemed to speak directly to what I had learned about adaptability: if one loses their ability to adapt in life, they can become lost in their illness.
For every way we become maladapted, there are ways to transform it. Can you change your fear and doubt into trust and acceptance? Or your anger into passion and focus? Can you turn your self-absorption into empathy and caring? If so, you can reach a state where you are expressing the healthiest parts of yourself, while reducing stress, premature aging, and increasing disease resistance.
If you’re interested in know your elemental makeup as indicated by your birth chart, you can always request that info in a reading with me. I also offer an astrological health report