No emotion is bad and they are all part of what makes us human and feel through our everyday life. There are times when emotions are repressed or become an excess in life for a long period then this could affect your health and well being.


In Chinese medicine there are five emotions that affect five different organs. All of the emotions listed in this article affect the heart in some way as well as the organ discussed in reference to each emotion. In Chinese and other Asian cultures the heart and mind are one and the same. The mind is also refered to as the spirit.




Anger is related to the wood element and liver. Wood as an element is yang in nature and rises up and out like a plant or tree. Anger also flows upwards and outwards. Liver Qi aids with the smooth flow of Qi and blood in the body, if liver Qi is not flowing then this creates stagnation and the need to the Qi to flow can create frustration, stress or anger. An outburst of anger can be positive because it allows the forward movement of Qi but if repressed for too long or if stress, frustration or anger continues for too long then the Qi will rise.


These are possible signs and symptoms


  • headaches

  • dizziness

  • tinnitus

  • red face

  • stiff can be related to anger


"It may cause liver Qi stagnation if anger is repressed, liver yang rising and liver fire. Anger also affects the stomach, intestines or heart” (Foundation of Chinese medicine, Maciocia).


Some conditions or even pain can feel worse when experiencing stress or anger.

If there is stress or anger while eating this can stop of regular movement of food during the digestive process. Sometimes this can cause constipation, heart burn or even irritable bowel syndrome.




Joy is a wonderful emotion and it can counteract stress or anger. It is very therapeutic. So why can joy cause illness? This is related to overstimulation of joy during to too much recreational drugs and in modern society smart phones and tablets also overstimulate the mind. Constantly waiting, searching or craving for the next stimulation or sedative or narcotic leaves the mind unable to distinguish between what reality and in some cases fantasy.


  • Joy slows Qi down

  • It affects the heart

  • Palpations, overexcitability, insomnia or restlessness

Worry and overthinking


Overthinking relates not just to worry and anxiety but also to studying. The Chinese character is a heart and field or brain. It illustrates circular thinking that involves going over thought repeatedly. Some people are naturally over worry about situations or all sorts of things in everday life. Worry or overthinking affects the lungs and spleen but is mostly associated with the spleen and the element of earth.


Worry affect the lungs with sign and symptoms like


  • It knots Qi causing symptoms such as uncomfortable feeling in the chest

  • slight breathlessness, tensing of the shoulders

  • a dry cough, weak voice, sighing and pale complexion

  • Worry affects the spleen with signs and symptoms like

  • Poor appetite, slight epigastric discomfort

  • abdominal distension

  • tiredness and pale complexion




Grief is associated with the element of metal, Autumn and the lungs. Grief is a natural emotion to experience especially after the loss of a close friend, family member or even a pet. This will not to lead to illness, however if the grieving process does not process continues to years and has not naturally healed then it can in some cases lead to illness


Grief affects the lungs and heart. It dissolves Qi causing


  • Breathlessness

  • Tiredness, a feeling of discomfort in the chest

  • depression or crying

  • In some cases it may deplete liver blood (only in women




This is related to chronic fear or anxiety of sudden fright.


  • It affects the kidneys

  • It makes Qi descend

  • This can be common in children that wet the bed

  • Incontinence of diarrhoea

  • Sometimes the Qi will rise causing palpitations, night sweating, dry mouth and red face