The Relationship Between Emotions and Internal Organs

Which organ are you affecting by your current emotional state?

Hopefully by now, you’ve had many experiences in your life that have led to feeling the entire rainbow spectrum of human emotions. Maybe you’re currently feeling anxious about something in your life, grieving over the loss of someone or something, or you’re fearful about a situation that may come to be. These feelings can be perfectly useful and appropriate in the right time and place. When these emotions are unbalanced or prolonged, physical harm can ensue. Consequently, the reverse can occur; when your body’s internal organ systems are unbalanced, it can give rise unbalanced emotions, leaving you feeling out of control.

Take a moment and pretend you’re an actor doing research for a role…

Dig up some past experience that made you really angry…(I’ll wait for it).

Now, how do you feel? Did you warm up a bit? Could you feel it in your face? Your chest? Did it create a bit of extra energy?

Now let it go, it was in the past.

Let’s dig up something else. What in your life causes you to worry? That, if you let it, it would keep you up at night and occupy your every free thought.

How do you feel now? Where do you feel it?

Ok, now let that go too. It’s in the future and that cannot be seen.

If you were able to connect to those different emotional scenarios, you most likely felt them in different parts of your body. That’s because our internal organ systems don’t only help us process air and food in order to survive, they help us process our emotions. Unbalanced or prolonged emotional stress can stress our internal organs and cause harm. Therefore, gaining some control of our emotional state is a major key to protecting our health.

The Su Wen, the first text of the foundational doctrine in Chinese medicine, lays out the causes of disease. There are external reasons for disease related to the environment and pathogens, and internal causes that are related to our emotional health. They have been classified into the following categories, that when in excess or left ungoverned, hurt the internal organs.

The emotions and their related organs:







If it seems hard to believe, science may make this concept easier to understand. Current medical research is paying close attention to chronic stress and its negative implications to our health. Modern medicine is now recognizing the role chronic stress plays in the dysfunction of our immune, digestive, and hormonal systems.

For example:

·      Stress lowers SIgA, our main line of immune defense in our gastrointestinal system, leaving us more vulnerable to bacteria and other pathogens.

·      Stress increases our risk for cardiovascular disease: A heightened emotional event was shown to be correlated the timing of heart attack. Stress can trigger an inflammatory response that encourages the buildup of fatty plaque inside artery walls.  

·      Increased cortisol levels due to chronic stress increases our risk of metabolic syndrome.

·      A stressful event can change the microbiome in our gut, decreasing our good bacteria and increasing harmful bacteria.

·      Gut bacteria manufacture up to 95% of the body’s supply of serotonin, our feel-good neurotransmitter.

Most of us are exposed to daily stressors and we go through times in our lives that are substantially more stressful than others. How we deal with this stress, and how it is expressed, plays an imperative role in our overall wellness. Moreover, caring for your physical health can improve your emotional responses to stress.

Get closer to the root of your emotional imbalances by learning your Chinese Medicine diagnosis and start taking steps to heal at a deeper level.

Links and resources to learn more: