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When the seven emotions impair the internal organs, they mainly affect the activity of visceral qi, leading to disorder of the activity of qi and, in turn, bringing on the disorder of blood circulation because the blood flows together with qi. Prolonged emotional upset may transform into fire known as "transformation of five emotions into fire", resulting in disharmony between yin and yang because fire consumes yin.
Excessive joy relaxing the activity of qi
"Relax" here also means "slack". Joy is controlled by the heart. Normally joy can harmonize qi and blood, smooth the activity of the nutrient qi and defensive qi as well as ease the mind. If it becomes excessive, it may slack heart-qi, derange the mind and lead to inability to concentrate and even mania,
Excessive anger driving qi to move upwards
Anger is controlled by the liver. Excessive anger drives liver-qi, together with the blood, moving adversely upwards and leading to dizziness, distending headache, reddish complexion and redness of the eyes or hematemesis, or even sudden syncope. Under excessive anger, liver-qi may flow adversely and attack the spleen and stomach, causing anorexia, chest oppression and belching or even diarrhea.
Excessive anxiety inhibiting qi
Anxiety is related to the liver and the lung. Excessive anxiety may impair the lung and the liver. Anxiety usually inhibits qi and leads to depression of lung-qi or stagnation of liver-qi. The depression of lung-qi causes chest oppression and unsmooth breath; stagnation of liver-qi leads to hypochondriac distension and fullness or pain, unhappiness and reduced appetite.
Excessive contemplation stagnating qi
Contemplation is controlled by the spleen. So excessive contemplation will stagnate spleen-qi and affect transportation and transformation, leading to gastric and abdominal distension and fullness, anorexia and loose stool, etc. Prolonged indulgence in contemplation consumes yin-blood and deprives the heart-spirit of nourishment, often bringing on palpitation, amnesia, insomnia and dreaminess, etc.
Excessive grief exhausting qi
Grief is dominated by the lung, so excessive grief exhausts lung-qi. Usually excessive grief affects the normal functions of the lung to depurate, descend, disperse and distribute, leading to failure of the nutrient qi and the defensive qi to distribute and consumption of the pectoral qi. So excessive grief often impairs the lung, leading to dizziness, lassitude and dispiritedness, etc.
Excessive terror driving qi to move downwards
Terror is dominated by the kidney. So sudden terror drives qi to move downwards, leading to incontinence of urine and feces due to failure of kidney-qi to fixate or weakness and atrophy of the bones and seminal emission due to failure of the kidney to store essence. Prolonged state of terror may lead to various diseases due to failure of qi to elevate, decline of tile visceral functions and inability of healthy qi to defend the superficies.
Excessive fear disturbing qi
Fear and terror are all caused by similar external stimuli, but they are different in the responses of visceral qi activity. Terror, dominated by the kidney, drives qi to move downwards; fear, originating from the heart, disturbs the activity of qi. So when frightened, the main responses are disorder of heart-qi, derangement of the mind, indecision and bewilderment. Disorder of the activity of qi damages the harmony between qi and blood and weakens the defensive qi, leading to invasion of pathogenic factors into the body and occurrence of disease.
Emotional factors can cause certain diseases. For example, people with frequent superabundance of liver-yang tend to flare into violent rage which brings on violent hyperactivity of liver-yang, leading to sudden dizziness and syncope or unconsciousness, paralysis and distorted face. Besides, certain diseases may become aggravated or worsened because of abnormal changes of emotions. For example, the heart disease can be caused and quickly worsened by sudden terror.