Are Your Emotions Making You Sick – The Seven Emotions That Can Destroy Your Health


You have probably realized that your emotions can make you sick, but do you know why?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has the answer.

You have probably noticed that when you have an extreme emotion, your pulse and breathing change, you lose your appetite and / or your urination or defecation become more frequent.

TCM identifies seven injurious emotions. These are excessive joy, anger, fear, anxiety, fright, pensiveness and grief. Over time, extremes in these emotions cause havoc in the body.

Each of the seven emotions is attracted to a particular organ.

An excess of anger damages the liver.

An excess of fear and fright damage the kidneys.

An excess of joy damages the heart.

An excess of grief damages the lungs.

An excess of sympathy /pensiveness damages the spleen.

Fear arises from thoughts in your mind, while fright is caused by a sudden shock. No particular damage is attributed to anxiety but it is assumed to have the same effect as sorrow.

Conversely, if any of the major organs are weak, they will generate the emotion that is affiliated with them.

So if your spleen is weak, you will become an extremely sympathetic or pensive person.

Alcoholics and drug addicts who have damaged their livers, can be very angry people.

People with weak kidneys are often timid and nervous.

Have you ever heard of someone having a heart attack after they have won the lottery? Also people can manifest lung cancer from grief after their life partner has died.

Anger causes the qi to ascend; joy causes the qi to scatter; sorrow and anxiety cause the qi to disperse; fear causes the qi to descend; pensiveness causes the qi to become knotted; and fright causes abnormality in the qi. Qi is the vital energy or life force in our bodies. Each organ has its own qi.

For example, extreme anger causes the liver qi to rise upwards through the liver channel. The liver channel travels right through the body connecting the liver to other major organs and to the skin.

Hence, damage to the liver can affect the eyes, shoulders, back, nails and tendons. It can also cause migraine and headaches. If it is not treated, it can adversely affect the heart, to which the liver provides nourishment. It could also affect the stomach and spleen causing alternate diarrhea and constipation.

Breast problems such as lumps and swelling can be traced back to liver problems. Be aware though that it is not only expressed anger that can damage the liver – suppressed anger can too. In fact, it is quite normal and healthy to express anger when appropriate. It is only the extreme of emotion that is unhealthy. It is far better to express anger (within reason) than to repress it. Suppressed anger is expressed in the body as depression.

We probably all know a kind and helpful person that has been constantly put upon by their friends and family. They never complain and they appear to be perfectly happy with their lot, but one day they contract cancer. Repressed anger causes stagnation in the liver and this leads to stagnation in other organs.

Emotions just do not damage their own organ. Due to the channel relationships within the body, any excessive emotion will inevitably lead to damage in the liver channel. The liver rules the emotions, balancing them and ensuring there is free circulation of qi. When an emotion gets stuck in an organ and the liver is unable to shift it, the liver becomes blocked.

Also, because of the unique position of the heart as emperor of the body and its affiliations with all major organs, it is damaged by all emotions too.

At times we are all likely to be subject to emotional extremes. Life is just like that. People die and we become grief stricken. People make us furious and situations make us frightened.

So what can we do?

Controlling emotions is easier said than done. Meditation, tai chi and yoga are all helpful in relaxing the body and mind. Acupuncture calms the emotions and frees up the qi. Flower essences (available from health food stores) and homeopathy are also excellent for changing blocked mental patterns.

It takes time, but in due course you will find yourself become a calmer person and you will find that your health improves accordingly.

Roslyn J. Motter is a Sydney, Australia registered acupuncturist with her own clinic. She is also a children’s author and has recently published three children’s books – The Doofuzz Dudes Rescue Moondar; The Doofuzz Dudes and the Princess Detector; and the Doofuzz Dudes and the Babbling Bottles. The series are fantasy adventure stories and are most suitable for children aged 7 – 12 years. Woven into the adventures is a subtle theme of caring for the environment.

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