This article was printed in WellBeing Good Health Guide - Finding Balance.




In my own search for self fulfilment and happy relationships I have tried many different things, from counselling and psychotherapy to various meditation practices. All of which helped release some old emotional patterns but didn’t necessarily stop me from repeatedly feeling emotionally off balance for no particular reason. Chinese herbs, acupuncture and massage all helped restore balance but I wanted something I could do myself to prevent my downward spirals. I was beginning to have more emotionally stable periods because of the therapy work but then sometimes a mood would overtake me and once again I’d be an emotional nightmare.

It wasn’t until I discovered some ancient Taoist energy practices that I found I could take control of my feelings and come out of the many downward emotional spirals that I had come to think were “just who I was”. I would often wake up feeling down and assume “I had just gotten out of the wrong side of bed” that day, believing that I had no control over these feelings. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

I wish to point out here that there are certain types of emotional states that are the result of particular chemical imbalances of the brain and there are those deep seated emotions which are the result of severe early childhood or past life trauma. These patterns may also require the services of experienced counsellors or psychologists and/or medication in order to reach a point where the methods presented here can help restore balance on a day-to-day basis.

Generally speaking modern society creates large amounts of emotional stress each day. Such as the need to meet deadlines; deal with traffic or transport chaos; eating on the run or eating out too often; the stress of home life versus work, etc. These all take their toll. They drain our life force and can cause us to become undernourished physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This then provides a perfect framework for illness.

Ancient wisdom – modern application

Taoism is the underlying philosophy of energy medicine of the Orient and it has long recognised the impact of emotions on the physical body. It understands that all emotions are regulated by the life force energy or Chi via the meridian network. This is a network of invisible energetic pathways that connect all aspects of the physical body. The main systems of this network associated with emotional energy are those connected to the major organs.

In traditional Chinese medicine it is known that Emotions of any kind are the result of Energy being in Motion [or not in motion, as the case may be!], hence E-motion. When your Emotional Energy is happy, loving, at peace, content, yet continually motivated to grow, your life flows harmoniously. You have less or no dramas and you are generally healthy.

Emotions are intimately connected with Chi and directly influence its ability to function correctly. Positive emotions are integral to the overall health of the body and are classified as generating ‘high-grade energy’. Negative emotions, on the other hand, damage different aspects of bodily functions via their Chi connections and are classified as generating ‘low-grade energy’.

For example, did you know that anger and depression can damage your liver; fear can harm your kidneys; worry and anxiety can harm your spleen and pancreas; hate, sadness and despair can hurt your heart and injure your spirit; and hanging onto past hurts and injustices can impair your lungs and large intestine?

When all things are in balance and harmony within, Chi flows smoothly and evenly, unimpeded to all parts of the body. Negative emotions, however, can cause the Chi to misbehave in a variety of different ways. Disordered Chi may become stagnant; it may move erratically; it may disperse or disappear ; or it may move in the wrong direction. Any of these dysfunctions of Chi have the potential to cause illness.

Quantum Physics is now proving this ancient knowledge by finding that when people are unhappy, depressed, angry or fearful, particular hormones [chemicals] are found in every cell of the body. These substances disable the immune system in some way, leaving the person vulnerable to illness.

Whereas when a person is happy, feels love and compassion for all and is at peace with life, their cells have different hormones which work together with the body to ward off perverse influences and help maintain a healthy environment.

At a recent conference on Health, Ageing and Longevity in Brisbane, Professor Marc Cohen [Founding Professor of Complimentary Medicine at RMIT Melbourne] said that love is a prime cause for a long, high quality life. He added that, “There is increasing clinical evidence that enjoying loving activities will help prolong life.” That is, love whatever you are doing because if you can’t or don’t love your work or your life it could literally be making you sick!

The power to change is within you

Fortunately you have the power within you to change anger into assertiveness, motivation and responsibility; fear into courage and alertness; anxiety and worry into compassion and contentment; and hate and despair into love, joy and passion for life. Instead of holding onto negative emotions you also have the power to surrender to growth and to trust life. The question is how to effect the change?

The first thing you need to know is that there are both balanced and imbalanced emotions. The second thing you need to know is that whether you choose the balanced or the imbalanced expression, it is entirely under your control. Yes, this is the hard part, but it is not impossible. Begin by becoming aware of the imbalances you experience one day at a time, then by using the power of your mind, choose not to be victimised by your own emotions.

For many years now, people such as Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and Caroline Myss have been telling us that changing our thoughts, beliefs and patterns of thinking can change virtually everything about our lives, from improving health and slowing ageing to having abundance and happy relationships.

Balanced and Imbalanced Emotions

As I mentioned earlier, there are five pairs of meridian-organ systems in the body. These act something like control centres for specific types of energy that include physical, mental, emotional and spiritual functions.

These five systems relate to the following organs:

Lungs and Large Intestine
Kidneys and Bladder
Liver and Gall Bladder
Lungs and Large Intestine
Spleen and Stomach.

When your body is balanced and healthy there are natural emotional expressions that are said to be “the light of the soul”. An old Chinese proverb states:

When there is light in the soul, there is beauty in the person;
When there is beauty in the person, there is harmony in the home;
When there is harmony in the home, there is honour in the nation;
When there is honour in the nation, there is peace in the world.

What a wonderful world it would be if we would all maintain the light in our soul!

Following are some examples of how our Chi energy system expresses itself emotionally both in and out of balance. I suggest identifying your most recurring negative emotional state by checking the examples marked (a), and then making use of the positive expressions marked (b) as daily affirmations of what that system would be expressing when it is in balance.

Be aware that affirmations work a bit like dropping pebbles into a bucket of water, where the pebbles represent the new thoughts and the water the old. At first very little water is displaced and therefore it can be hard to feel the subtle stirrings of change occurring deep within the psyche. However, with continued persistence and repeated affirming, more and more water [or old ways of behaving] is displaced. Until one day you suddenly realise that a situation has occurred where you might have once respond with negativity, instead you allowed the light in your soul to shine through, maintaining your balance and your true sense of self.

Find the Light in the Soul

1) Lungs and Large Intestine

When out of balance I express jealousy, envy, defensive pride stubbornness, selfishness, greed and despondency. I can be stoic, hypersensitive and judgemental. I can’t let go of the past. I wallow in self-pity. I crave or dislike spicy foods. My vice is gambling.

When in balance: I am a strong and stable person who is open and receptive. I easily take in new ideas and am non-attached to outcomes, material possessions or emotions. I am a good provider and I handle money well. I have integrity and exercise right judgement.

2) Kidneys and Bladder

When out of balance I express fear, mistrust, suspicion, paranoia, timidity, apprehension. I have panic attacks. I may be foolhardy and I often feel inadequate. I may have an inferiority complex or I may feel superior to others. I crave or dislike salty foods. I overindulge in alcohol.

When in balance: I am a person with dignity and vitality. I have a powerful inner strength and will. I am persistent and have long staying power. I have a gentle inner calmness and alert awareness. I see adversity as a challenge to be overcome. I have healthy sexual relationships. I am not afraid to show my pride.

3) Liver and Gall Bladder

When out of balance I express anger, frustration, resentment, depression, irritation and hostility. I run guilt trips on myself and/or others. I am moody and I get bored easily. I have no motivation to change. My life is stuck in a rut. I can be very competitive and may rush around like a chook with its head cut off. I crave or dislike sour foods.
When in balance: I am a responsible, self-motivated person who uses active imagination to make positive changes and choices in my life. I am creative, powerful and kind. I am in touch with my own higher purpose and am committed to self growth. I choose right relationships and am able to define my own boundaries. I have a vision and plan for my future.

4) Heart and Small Intestine

When out of balance I express despair, sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, nervousness, self-doubt, intolerance, and impatience. I can be hasty and arrogant. I can be cruel with tendencies towards violence. I have low self-esteem and can sometimes become hysterical. I crave or dislike bitter foods. I misuse my energy in politics or sex.

When in balance: I am a person with an enthusiastic joy for life. I am creative and have great passion for expressing my creativity. I am honest and sincere. I have a heart of gold. I love life and I love myself. Therefore, I choose loving relationships as I am unafraid to open my heart.

5) Spleen and Stomach

When out of balance I express anxiety, worry, indifference, obsessive actions and behaviours. I crave sympathy. I am forgetful, needy, and absent-minded. I crave or dislike sweet foods and I either under eat or over eat. I play mind games.

When in balance: I am a balanced and sensible person who shows a great amount of fairness and compassion. I have an empathetic oneness with everything. I am considerate and generous in all dealings. I am grounded and centred. I nourish and nurture myself. I am honest. I have a quick mind and am creative in thoughts and ideas.

Try writing down all those marked (b). Now read it through from beginning to end. Now you have found the Light in your Soul.

How emotions can affect the physical body

Chinese medicine believes that Chi controls your emotional and physical wellbeing, meaning that your life force directly impacts upon your body as well as affecting your emotional state. It also maintains that the mind controls Chi – that is, your thoughts and beliefs govern the way in which your Chi affects your body.

For example, anger impacts on the liver, causing a stagnancy of Chi flow and possibly generating heat in the body. This is because anger is the imbalanced expression of Liver Chi. This can result in headaches, ulcers, indigestion, period pain and premenstrual tension among many other things. Whereas choosing to let go of angry thoughts (and thoughts are all they are) and moving into positive liver emotions such as kindness, trust and responsibility, changes the internal environment from toxic to healthy – or from low-grade energy to high-grade energy.

This is not to suggest that you will suddenly be healed and never experience negative emotions or illness again, nor is it about condoning other people’s poor behaviour. I am simply saying that if you choose to stay with the balanced emotions you will have more chance of being healed and having happy, harmonious relationships than if you were to stay with the negative.

The above affirmations show how to use your mind to control your Chi in moving from low-grade energy into high-grade energy by shifting your focus from points (a) to (b). Now I want to show some of the physical effects these negative emotions can have on the physical body.

Note that these symptoms relate to the Energetic connections of each of the categories. Although in the West we have named the meridians according to the organs to which they are connected, the energetic influences of each of them is much greater than simply affecting the related organs.

Lungs and Large Intestine: Persistent or chronic coughs; colds/flu-like symptoms; asthma; bronchitis; sinus; mucous problems; constipation; diarrhoea; eczema; psoriasis [as the skin is considered the third lung]; pain along the lateral border of the arms.

Kidneys and Bladder: Chronic cystitis; bladder or kidney infections; chronic low back pain; weakness and pain in back, legs or knees; cold feet; painful feet; infertility/impotence; chronic fatigue; no stamina; no vitality; poor memory; poor concentration; ringing in ears; hearing loss, greying hair.

Liver and Gall Bladder: Indigestion; heartburn; nausea; vomiting; ulcers; stomach pain; alternating constipation and diarrhoea; premenstrual tension or PMS; headaches and migraines; neck and shoulder tension and pain; weak finger nails; vision problems; sore/dry/tearing eyes; pain around ribs and sides.

Heart and Small Intestine: Palpitations; angina; panic attacks; insomnia; mind hyperactive at night; mouth ulcers; stuttering; circulation problems; spasmodic pain in intestines; pain back of shoulder and down little finger side of arms.

Spleen and Stomach: Puts on weight easily and can’t lose it; problems with nutrient absorption; poor circulation; cold hands; sluggish digestion; cellulite; varicose veins; forgetful; “foggy” feeling in head; period pain; menstrual bleeding problems [too little too much]; habitual miscarriage; pain and weakness medial aspect [inside] legs and feet.

These are just some of the more common signs and symptoms you may experience when your emotions [or your diet and lifestyle] cause the Chi to dysfunction.

The Loving Inner Smile

Finally, I want to give you one more technique you can use to help your internal organs in maintaining their energetic balance. It is an integral part of the above practice to be performed simultaneously with repeating the affirmations. This is practise of Taoist Inner Alchemy. It is very versatile, and can be done anywhere, at any time. You can add it to your own daily exercise or meditation practise. Do it before going off to sleep or when you first wake up each day. I do encourage you, however, to do it in conjunction with the above affirmations, as it greatly enhances their effectiveness.

To begin, take some deep breaths to centre yourself and calm your mind. Then think of something or someone that makes you feel really happy and loving. This can be anything, just so long as you can get that joyful, loving feeling. Now hold this thought in your mind and allow the feeling it generates to flow through to your face. Feel how your eyes soften and your lips turn up slightly at the sides in a gentle smile, as if you are looking at your created image.

Now, still holding the thought and the feeling it generates direct your attention to each of your internal organs. Don’t be concerned about their exact location or shape. Trust that your own body knows where to send this loving, happy Chi. All you need to do is name each one, then mentally direct your loving inner smile to that organ. Let it know you appreciate all that it does for you without you having to control it. If you are visually inclined you may visualise the entire process; if not simply imagine that each of your organs are receiving your love and each one smiles back to you.

You can use this process to send love and joy to every part of your body. Particularly if you have an illness, ache or pain somewhere. Instead of saying, “I have a bad ……….[you fill in the blank]” and infusing it with even more negative, low-grade energy, send it a loving, inner smile every time you think about it or feel its presence. In time you will begin to notice a shift in discomfort levels as you help your body to find its power to heal itself.

By giving the mind this positive food on a regular basis you will allow yourself the opportunity to experience bliss and ecstasy in each of your present moments. You will become conscious and in control of yourself and your emotions and your balanced energy will flow out into your life, relationships and creative expressions.