What are the Seven Emotions?

Bijgewerkt op: 16 feb 2019

Navigating the Yin and Yang of emotional well-being

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) emotions are considered the major cause of internal disease. When there is prolonged stress or an over-abundance of joy, anger, grief or fright, serious injury can happen to our internal organs, making it clear that balancing our emotions is one of the keys to optimum health. The following post from TCM site Shen-Nong offers a glimpse at Traditional Chinese Medicine understandings of emotions and healing, as well as outlining how specific emotions can affect particular parts of our bodies.

The Link between Emotions and Health

Suwen (The Book of Plain Questions) says “The five yin-organs of the human body produce five kinds of essential qi, which bring forth joy, anger, grief, worry, and fear.” TCM also believes that certain organs are related to emotional activities, i.e. the heart is related to joy, the liver to anger, the spleen to pensiveness, the lungs to anxiety and the kidneys to fear.

The emotions are considered the major internal causes of disease in TCM. Emotional activity is seen as a normal, internal, physiological response to stimuli from the external environment. Within normal limits, emotions cause no disease or weakness in the body. However, when emotions become so powerful that they become uncontrollable and overwhelm or possess a person, then they can cause serious injury to the internal organs and open the door to disease.



Emotions are considered the major internal causes of disease in TCM


It is not the intensity as much as the prolonged duration or an extreme emotion, which causes damage. While Western physicians tend to stress the psychological aspects of psychosomatic ailments, the pathological damage to the internal organs is very real indeed and is of primary concern of the TCM practitioner.

Balancing our Yin and Yang Energies

Excess emotional activity causes severe yin-yang energy imbalances, wild aberrations in the flow of blood, qi (vital energy) blockages in the meridians and impairment of vital organ functions. Once physical damage has begun, it is insufficient to eliminate the offending emotion to affect a cure; the prolonged emotional stress will require physical action as well. The emotions represent different human reactions to certain stimuli and do not cause disease under normal conditions.

The Pathogenic Features of the Seven Emotions:

Directly impairing organ qi (vital energy)Affecting the functions of organ qi (vital energy)Deteriorating effects of emotional instability