Journal of Acuherb in Medicine

The Seven Emotions

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By Dr. Kenneth Wang

The Seven Emotions

Emotional related diseases factors, which effect the organ associated with the emotion as well as organs that have a Five Element relationship with that elements emotion.

The Seven Emotions are:

Joy (Over-excitement, Manic) - Heart and Fire Element

In TCM joy refers to a state of agitation or overexcitement.


Slows the Qi
Fear controls Joy (Water controls Fire)

  • Insomnia
  • Unclear Thinking
  • Mania, Disturbed Shen (possibly manic, risk-taking)
  • Heart Attack

Migraine headache caused by sudden joy from receiving good news.

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Anger (Rage, Resentment, Frustration) - Liver and Wood Element
Anger could lead to high blood pressure.







Makes Qi Ascend
Grief controls Anger (Metal controls Wood)

  • Vertex Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Blurry Vision
  • Blood Pressure is Raised
  • Stroke
  • Internal Wind (trembling from anger or an onset of Wind symptoms such as a seizure)
  • Pain in the Costal Region Especially in the Liver

Liver attacks Spleen and Stomach

  • Spleen Qi Xu
  • Rebellious Stomach Qi
  • Bleeding

a. Nosebleeds common because Qi is ascending
b. Vessels Burst Because Spleen is Weak

Liver counterattacks Lung

  • Asthma

Liver Can harm Gall Bladder (Yin Yang paired Organ)

  • Inability to make decisions (I’m so angry, I can’t think straight)


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Grief or Sadness - Lung and Metal Element

Grief that remains unresolved can create disharmony in the lungs.

Weakens, Depletes, or Dissolves the Qi
Joy Controls Grief (Fire controls Metal)

  • Tightness in the Chest (SOB)
  • Excessive Crying
  • Asthma
  • Frequent Colds and Flu (Wei Qi is weakened)
  • Skin problems

Grief Affecting the Heart

  • Zong Qi is weakened affecting Heart

Metal counterattacking Fire

  • Circulation Becomes Impaired

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 Pensiveness - Spleen and Earth Element

Too much intellectual stimulation can cause pensiveness.








Stagnates or Knots the Qi

Wood controls Earth (Anger controls Worry and Pensiveness)

Harms the Heart (Son Depleting the Mother), and ultimately the Shen

  • Palpitations
  • Spleen Qi Deficiency
  • Heart Blood Deficiency

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Fright (Terror, Shock) - Gallbladder and Wood Element

Fright can affect the kidneys if left unchecked.








Fright Confuses or Scatters the Qi
Grief controls Fright (Metal controls Wood)

Note: There is a difference between fear and fright: Fright: startling, scared by things that are present. Fear: deeper, more chronic; scared by things not present

  • Indecisive
  • Confused
  • Lack Courage

Harms the Kidneys (son depleting mother; Wood depleting Water)

  • Long-term fright turns to fear (child abused once causes fright; ongoing abuse leads to fear of when it will happen again)

Harms Liver (Gallbladder and Liver are Yin Yang paired organs)

  • become angry at what frightened us (a mother becomes angry with a child that loves to startle her as a joke)

Harms the Heart (Wood fails to nourish Fire)Fright unroots the Shen 

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Fear - Kidneys and Water Element

Fear that cannot be directly addressed is likely to lead to disharmony in the kidneys.

Makes Qi Descend
Concentration and thinking controls Fear (Earth Controls Water)

Note: Less sudden, more chronic and internal than fright

Kidneys are weakened when living in fear

  • might lose bladder control

Harms Liver and Gallbladder (Water not nourishing Wood)

  • Depression
  • Indecisive
  • Confused
  • Lack Courage

Harms the Heart (Water not controlling Fire)

Heart Fire blazes out of control

  • anxiety, restlessness

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