top of page

The Seven Emotions - Heart & Elation

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

Heart, Elation

This is now the second part of the seven emotions. The first part was about anger, which is associated with the Liver. We will now look at elation, which is associated with the Heart.

The name for each of the seven emotions is an emotion that can be harmful if it is excessive.

Below, I have listed the emotions with their relative Yin organs:

Liver - Anger, Heart - Joy, Spleen - Worry, Lung - Grief/Sadness, Kidney - Fear/Fright.

The only one out of these that has a positive reference is Heart with Joy. It would be a reasonable question to ask: how can elation have a negative effect? To find the answer to this, we will have to take a look at summer, the Shen, joy, and Heart Qi.


Summer is the moment at which the Yang energy of the earth is at its strongest point of activity. We have now reached the stage of actualization, with the full splendour of life bursting out. And as we are undeniably intrinsically connected to nature, we will have similar traits. We will be more energetic; we might want to do more activities, stay up later, have stronger desires to be outside, be adventurous, and socialise more. We can feel that vibrant pulse within and around us; this is what we experience during a Yang session. There is still the calming and cooling influence of Yin. The complete absence of Yin, or an insufficient amount of its quality, can affect the environment and us physically and mentally.

Yang without Yin cooling

The effect of the scales tipping the other way will have the same inevitable end.

The symbiotic relationship between Yin and Yang cannot be underestimated.

Yang warmth is the transformative force in our bodies; it is like the fire of a furnace, keeping our metabolism in order and providing our energy. This is partly why our first drink or meal of the day should be warm.

Yin without Yang warming

Heart Centre

You may have heard of the term 'heart centre' used in other traditions. This is a wonderful term that conjures up images of compassion, devotion, and openness radiating from the whole body.

In the Chinese system, this is represented by joy and enjoyment for life, showing that the spirit (shen) is anchored, keeping a connection with heaven (the universe), man (us), and earth (the environment). It is reflected in your eyes, in the way you carry yourself, and in how you experience things around you.

When all our emotions are fluctuating in a regular way, there is an awareness of self in this space and time. The interaction with the world is appropriate; there is knowledge of how to conduct ourselves in different surroundings and situations.

One thing to bear in mind is that if any of the emotions run too high for long periods, the Heart, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), can be overwhelmed. When it is overwhelmed, the Heart can lose connection in an emotional, mental, and physical way. It is important to have some form of grounding in our environment through our friends and family and in our energetic work so we remain connected to our roots. This will help to prevent the separation of mind, body, and spirit.


As I mentioned in Part 1, each of the five Yin organs houses a Shen. The names for each of the five Shen are: Liver (Hun), Heart (Shen), Spleen (Yi), Lung (Po), and Kidney (Zhi).

They are named the five Shen, but the Heart spirit is also called Shen. This Shen helps to mediate and regulate all the emotions. Making sure that we are not doing things like laughing out loud in solemn situations, having the right timing with our responses and actions, and having healthy relationships.

The nature of the Heart, reminds me of chapter eight of the Dao De Jing, 'Adaptable in Nature'.

With measured, balanced emotions, our judgements can be more precise as we move with the Dao. What I hear in this chapter is how we are in the world and how we are in ourselves.

If our system is maintained through self-cultivation like body therapies, diets, meditation, and rest, the Heart has a greater potential to be its purest self. Through these practises, we are nurturing our Essence (Jing), Blood (Xue), and Energy (Qi), which contribute to a well-adjusted Shen (Spirit).

Adaptable in nature. A quote from the Dao De Jing, translated by Richard Bertschinger

Joy and Heart Qi

When the Heart is overwhelmed, its Qi slowly scatters, and the Shen is no longer anchored.

With that uprooting, you may see symptoms like insomnia, poor memory, a lack of concentration, or an inability to gauge appropriateness. On the more critical side of Shen disturbances, there is a loss of connection with reality, mania, or even talking in tongues. When this happens, the treatment can be difficult and a slow process.

In ancient China, there were male and female shamanistic practitioners called 'Wu Yi'. This Wu translates as 'magician or sorcerer' and Yi translates as 'doctor of medicine'. One of their skills was working with the Shen and restoring harmony. Primarily, they worked for the emperors and were highly respected for their advice in many areas, like war, health, and agricultural matters.

In the Nei Jing, there is a line that says what happens to Heart Qi when joy is in excess. 'The Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen', is considered one of the essential compendiums on Chinese medical theory. It was compiled by the medical advisors to Huang Di (the Yellow Emperor). They were Qi Bo and Lei Gong, circa 2,500 BC. The Nei Jing (Inner Cannon) has discussions on topics like Yin and Yang, the five flavours, living in accordance with the seasons, levels of illness, and its path. This only touches the surface of this incredible body of work. On those pages is a section that refers to 'The hundred diseases generated by Qi'. - A hundred refers to many. Here is an extract from that section, I have added the corresponding Yin organ with a small expansion.

"When one is joyous, then the Qi relaxes" -

Heart - Qi can pass freely and is in harmony. If the Qi is excess, it can become agitated and you might experience insomnia, anxiety or mania. If the Qi is deficient, there will be sadness and maybe signs of tiredness, palpitations or lethargy.

Image of the heart made from flowers


Another important factor in the health of your Heart and body is your Blood.

When the Blood is nourished through supportive foods, exercise, and rest, the body feels invigorated and your mind is more present. Exercise helps to strengthen your digestive system while supporting the function of the Heart to circulate the Blood around your system.

In TCM, Blood is a substance that nourishes the organs, tendons, muscles, hair, bones, and brain.

And it has a strong relationship with Qi and Shen. When there is harmony with Blood, Qi, and Shen, it will benefit your mind and body.

The state of the Blood shapes the spirit, The movement of the Qi defines the Blood

Foods For Blood Health

This information is not to replace any medication.

Please remember, everything in moderation

  • Dark leafy green

  • Lots of fresh vegetables

  • Aduki beans, kidney beans

  • Dates, figs

  • Dandelion, nettle

  • Seafood and meat

  • All of the above, organic, were possible.

Not Good For Blood Health

  • Processed food

  • Too much fried food

  • High salt and sugar

Activities For Heart Health

  • Exercise

  • Rest, especially in the afternoon.

  • Meditation

  • Yoga, Qi Gong, and Shiatsu

As you go through the seven emotions, you will see that we are a combination of all of them in different degrees. There is a constant interplay physically and emotionally of Yin and Yang, Qi and Blood, as we respond to our social environment and tussle with internal dialogues.

Zen Shiatsu helps to support
and regulate your system.
While working with the physical,
It is helping the psycho-emotional
While working on the flow,
It is helping to restore
Zen Shiatsu has a holistic approach.
To maintaining your wellbeing.

If you decide to use Shengong or any other practice to work directly with your spirit

please find a highly qualified practitioner.

93 views0 comments

Related Posts

See All


Full Zen Shiatsu Logo
bottom of page