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Emotions Affect the Organs - How to Heal Yourself Emotionally (Chinese System)

Updated on August 7, 2012
How to Heal yourself Emotionally
How to Heal yourself Emotionally | Source

Traditional Chinese medicine holds that there are seven basic emotions, which affect the physiology of the human body via corresponding organs. According to practitioners of Chinese medicine, it is necessary to assess and treat the basic emotions in relation to the organs that they impact and are impacted by.

The seven basic emotions in the Chinese system are joy, anger, worry, thoughtfulness, sadness, fear, and shock. Each of these emotion affects a specific organ in the body. These relationships are designed to helps the person react to the trials and tribulations of life, when certain emotions are excessive or insufficient, the body is prone to becoming ill.

For instance, excessive anger is hamful to the liver and the associated bodyparts, because anger "dwells" in the liver. Therefore, too much irritation or extreme rage runs the risk of amplifying the liver energy, which will then overflow and rush to the head, potentially causing such conditions as high blood pressure, headaches, or even stroke.

It's not only the seven basic emotions that influence the corresponding organs, but also vica versa. While they impact the organs directly, it also needs to be remembered that the emotions themselves are created in the corresponding organs, according to the correlations below:

The 7 Basic Emotions and the Organs They Affect

The seven basic emotions in Chinese medicine are joy, anger, worry, sadness, thoughtfulness, fear, and shock.

  • Joy dwells in the heart
  • Anger dwells in the liver
  • Worry and sadness dwell in the lungs
  • Thoughtfulness dwells in the spleen
  • fear and shock dwell in the kidneys

How to Transform Your Emotions

The transformation of emotions can occur along the lines of three distinct patterns: (1) an emotion can give rise to another, (2) an emotion can overcome another, and (3) an emotion can reduce another. These transformations, if unintended and uncontrolled, are unfavorable and may cause imbalance in the body.

The seven basic emotions give rise to one another in the following cycle: anger to joy, joy to thoughtfulness, thoughtfulness to worry and sadness, worry and sadness to fear and shock, fear and shock to anger. This means that if you happen to have unpredictable mood shifts or feel that you can't control your emotions, chances are you can expect them to "rear their ugly heads" in this order.

They can overcome one another in the following manner: anger overcomes thoughtfulness, thoughtfulness overcomes fear and shock, fear and shock overcome joy, joy overcomes worry and sadness, worry and sadness overcome anger. Being aware of the power of emotions over one another enables you to transform a predominant emotion into a more favorable one and keep the bodily balance.

Finally, emotions reduce one another according to the following pattern: worry and sadness reduce joy, anger reduces worry and sadness, thoughtfulness reduces anger, fear and shock reduce thoughtfulness, joy reduces fear and shock. You can heal your body emotionally by using emotions to reduce emotions in excess.

How the Seven Emotions Affect the Organs

Let's take a closer look at how the seven emotions can affect the corresponding organs negatively.

I'm sure the most controversial one is excessive joy. Joy is considered a positive emotions of which you might think you can never get enough. However, according to age-old Chinese lore, excessive joy consumes the energy of the heart causing deficient functioning, because the heart becomes "too relaxed."

In a similar manner, excessive anger burns up the energy of the liver, which causes the liver to function deficiently. This anger energy also rushed to the head leading to high blood pressure, headaches, and in extreme cases even stroke.

When worry and sadness reign supreme, they consume lung energy, which in turn causes swelling and abdominal pain.

Overpensiveness (too much time spent in deep thought) consumes the energy of the spleen, which results in congestion in the organ.

Too much fear or shock burns up the energy of the kidneys as well as causes this energy to be downward oriented. This leads to lower-body issues and impaired kidney efficiency.

Food Can Heal the Emotions

In China, the 5 basic flavours in foods are utilized to help transform an emotion into fire. Transforming an emotion into fire means that you first overcome an unfavorable emotion with the help of another through a conscious effort and then you transform that other emotion into healing power.

The five favors of foods are also utilized to amplify important emotions while reducing emotions in excess according to the following chart:

Enhanced Organ
Enhanced Emotion
Emotion Reduced
Heart, small intestine
Sadness and worry
Spleen, stomach
Fear and shock
Liver, gallbladder
Kidney, bladder
Fear and shock
Lungs, large intestine
Worry and sadness
How Foods Affect Emotions


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    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 

      6 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      This is such great, useful information. Thank you so much! I am reading some books right now on Chinese Medicine over Western Medicine.

      We need to learn more natural ways to healing like this wonderful hub!

    • sen.sush23 profile image


      6 years ago from Kolkata, India

      Very interesting information - I love these age old ideas of different cultures that seem to hint at the medical science of those times and people. I think I will try to follow if I really get indications of the interrelatedness of the organs and emotions. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

    • ThompsonPen profile image

      Nicola Thompson 

      6 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      I love this. I experienced my first bout ever of extreme anxiety and I don't know which it affected more: my mentality of my body. It was a couple months ago, and I'm still trying to get my digestion back on track. Thanks for posting!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Kitty Fields 

      6 years ago from Summerland

      Awesome hub. Thanks for the information, voted up useful and interesting.

    • sandrabusby profile image

      Sandra Busby 

      6 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      Very interesting and useful information. Thanks for SHARING.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 

      6 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      Interesting well constructed hub - I definitely believe that emotions effect the body, and it was interesting reading how traditional Chinese medicine views this link. Voted Up and interesting!

    • vespawoolf profile image


      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      This is a very well-written hub. I do believe our emotions affect our health and the Chinese thought behind it is fascinating. Voted up and shared!


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