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The Seven Emotions - Spleen & Worry

Updated: Jul 12, 2023



Emotions -

The free flow of thoughts, bodily fluids, and the digestive system contribute to us performing in an unrestricted way. There is a sense of clarity in our thinking, how we view situations, and how we respect the limits of our consumption. We can enjoy the pleasures of life without dwelling in excess and by fostering a healthy awareness of self-nurturing.

Signs and symptoms of imbalance occur when there is no longer ease of movement in those areas affecting the mind, body, emotions, and spirit.

The seven emotions are very important, as they are often the underlining internal pathogens. They are not the sole reason for illness, but they are taken highly into consideration, especially where there are signs or symptoms that have possibly manifested from the emotions.

In the Nei Jing, it is said that attending to the emotion before addressing the main issue can help make subsequent treatments more effective.

This is one of the reasons why Zen Shiatsu is beneficial to your nervous system: by downregulating it, it clears the way for the Yuan Qi (source energy), the deeper intelligence within you, to be part of the healing process. Shiatsu creates the space so your mind, body, emotions, and spirit can relax and reharmonize.


The seven emotions

with corresponding Yin organ.

  • Liver - Anger

  • Heart - Elation

  • Spleen - Worry

  • Lung - Grief/Sadness

  • Kidney - Fear/Fright

Worry

In Eastern practises, the seven emotions are assigned to the five Yin organs.

The Spleen's associated emotion is worry.

When there are long periods of being in a worried state, it is said that it damages the Spleen, impairing its function of transforming and transporting. Another way the Spleen can be harmed is through poor diet, which will also reduce its function of transforming and transporting, which reduces the clear upward Qi of the Spleen and affects the state of mind.

As the Spleen (including the pancreas) helps to transform food, making it easier to move through the system, psychologically it holds the same position of transforming thoughts and finding a resolution.

The type of worry you would normally see with a Spleen imbalance, which could become a pernicious influence on our physical body, is around ruminating over a specific detail, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), unable to transition a thought and find a solution. Some of the signs and symptoms that could manifest in our bodies from continual worry might interrupt our digestive system, affect our blood production, or interfere with the transportation of Qi and Blood throughout our body and through our channels.

It is also necessary to remember that there is an interrelationship with our system. Extreme worry for a long period may affect the Spleen, but can also cause emotional disturbances of the Heart, Liver, lung, or Kidney. This is where the grounding influence of the Earth phase, which is associated with the Spleen, can help stabilise the excess emotional imbalances of the other Yin organs.


Yi

Each of the five phases has a Shen (spirit) that is virtuous in nature. They are able to embrace and alter the seven emotions into a quality that is more helpful to us and our environment.

The Earth phase is associated with the Spleen and Stomach, and its Shen name is Yi, pronounced Yee. This Yi translates as thought, ideas, and intention.

When we allow ourselves to rest, a solution to a problem can come to us. This might happen straight after a meditation, after some relaxing bodywork, or by simply leaving a room for a few minutes to do something completely different. It could be thought of as the uninhibited Yi at work. Seeing possibilities and transforming a thought that you were fixated on is also the focus of how you guide your intention during things like creative activities, martial arts, or healing work.

The Earth phase is about unconditional love as we nurture families, friendships, strangers, and ourselves.


Late Summer

The fifth season represents change, and it is not part of the solar calendar; it's not actually a season that stands on its own in the West. It is seen as the point where Yin and Yang are in relative balance, as the Yin within Yang becomes more dominant or vice versa while moving into the following season.

The late summer is an atmospheric occurrence that spans over the tail end of summer into autumn, creating a more humid atmosphere as the last strength of summer heat blends with the cooler essence of autumn. It is a pivot point that may last a few weeks.

As the summer's vibrant, expansive, and dynamic Yang energy reduces as we move into the next phase. It succumbs to the inevitable, encroaching dominance of Yin.

You become aware of the following season, but you can still sense the previous one.


Spleen Health

Nurturing, Hands holding a plant

  • Stretching with some breath work and physical exercise.

  • Most meats, sweet potatoes, legumes, nuts, oats, liquorice, and oily fish are foods that have a sweet nature to them. Some of these can be added to your diet. Sweet harmonises the other flavours: Sour, bitter, pungent, and salty not to be consumed in excess.

  • Green tea, jasmine tea, mustard leaves, coriander, corn, oily fish, and pumpkin are foods that have a bitter nature to them.

  • Meditation: If you are just starting out with meditation, there is an idea that 7 minutes is a good length to start with. Then you keep adding 7 minutes as you progress.

Digestive System Tips

  • Stop eating just before you are full. This will help reduce the strain on your digestive system and give your body less work to do in processing the food.

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  • Eating a varied diet: Our bodies need a wide range of food groups that supply us with vitamins, minerals, fibre, proteins, etc. Eating soups occasionally is helpful, so the Spleen isn't overworked.

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  • Quality of food: Where it is possible, consume organic or free-range products. Try to buy locally grown produce at farmers markets, etc. Another way to find healthy food that is extremely cheap or free is to use apps like Olio or Too Good To Go.

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  • Early dinner: Your body naturally slows down towards the end of the day. This means your digestive system isn't performing at its maximum in the evening. Finishing your last meal around 7-8pm, will ensure an easier digestive process.


  • Exercise: Any form of exercise is fantastic for your digestive system and your state of mind. Make sure the exercise is comfortable, within your capabilities, and enjoyable. That way, you are more likely to keep it up.


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.
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