Life’s wheel of Emotions

by | Jul 8, 2022 | Acupuncture, Blog Posts, Fertility, Health, Seasonal | 0 comments

~ by Dr Nicole Pawley

Emotions are a natural part of human life. We experience an array of feelings such as joy, anger, worry, sadness, and fear. Expressing emotions as they are required allows the body to recalibrate and release. Where emotions are repressed or held onto, it stores a trauma in the body from the fight, flight or freeze response. The nervous system imprints the experience of the event in the amygdala from a rush of adrenaline experienced by the action. The amygdala is a part of the limbic system, also noted as the mammalian brain. It is where all emotions and feeling are stored – our memories, habits and attachments. 

The mammalian brain develops from birth, holding all muscle/motor memory and with all emotions that are experienced, will have an affect on all body systems. When emotions are not expressed, it leads to disease from lack of flow. What we call “Qi stagnation”! They get stuck, pent up and eventually cause disease. 

Gabriel Mate says, “emotional stress is a major cause of physical illness, from cancer to autoimmune conditions and many other chronic diseases. The brain and body systems that process emotions are intimately connected with the hormonal apparatus, the nervous system, and in particular the immune system.” Whatever the stressor, it will impact because hormones-nervous-immune system are all connected. They talk to each other.

Within Chinese Medicine, emotions are associated with organs and will produce ill health specific to that organ system. This is what that might look like.

If Balanced Strong Lung Qi allows you to embrace change, let go of the past and see an exciting future.
If Unbalanced Sadness damages the Lung & causes Qi to contract in the chest. Common symptoms:

  • Excessive or uncontrolled crying
  • Tightness in the chest/shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Asthma/coughs
  • Poor immunity
  • Skin problems

Result of emotional disharmony

  • Sadness
  • Complicated grief
  • A blunted affect
  • Tendency to overreact
  • Unjust/immoral behavior


If Balanced Strong Liver Qi creates happiness
If Unbalanced Anger damages Liver Qi, creating heat that can rise forcefully to the head. Common symptoms:

    • Blurry vision/floaters
    • Dizziness
    • Headaches
    • High blood pressure
    • Rib pain
    • Red face
    • Ringing in ears
    • Menstrual issues
    • Sighing
    • Breast problems
  • Nausea/vomiting

Result of emotional disharmony

  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Resentment
  • Unkindness
  • Feeling “cut-off” from the meaning of life
  • Bitterness
  • Moody


If Balanced Strong microbiome, clear boundaries in life & can communication effectively
If Unbalanced Worry injures the Spleen & binds up the Stomach causing digestive problems Common symptoms:

    • Fatigue
    • Memory issues
    • Poor appetite
    • Bloating
    • Weight problems
    • Pale skin/lips/nails
    • Poor hair/nails/skin
    • Poor concentration
    • Loose bowels
    • Weak muscles
  • Bruise easy

Result of emotional disharmony

  • Worry
  • Overthinking
  • Pensiveness
  • Excess mental stimulation

If Balanced Face your fears and do things.
If Unbalanced Fear damages the Kidneys & causes Qi to collapse or drop (like wetting oneself). Common symptoms:

  • Hearing issues
  • Poor digestion
  • Low back pain
  • Knee pain
  • Urinary issues
  • Vertigo
  • Night sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Infertility
  • Adrenal problems
  • Low libido
  • Premature greying 

Result of emotional disharmony

  • Illogical fears
  • Reckless behaviors
  • Deep seated anxiety
  • No willpower
  • Insecure
    • Isolated

If Balanced Spreads love, inspiration & joy.
If Unbalanced Damages the Heart causing excess expansion. When someone experiences highs that are too taxing, they burn out their nervous system. Common symptoms:

  • Palpitations
  • Insomnia/excess dreaming Unclear thinking/poor memory
  • Excess risk taking
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Spontaneous sweating

Result of emotional disharmony

  • Edginess
  • Shyness
  • Social awkwardness
  • Agitation
  • Delusions
  • Lack of enthusiasm/vitality
  • Mental restlessness 

Repressing emotions like anger and sadness is established often from a young age because they are not acceptable to show. They get packed away in the unconscious, stored within many different parts of the body and expressed as pain and discomfort and even disease. As an example, many women store gynecological trauma in the pelvic area. Can you imagine how a cervix might respond from a pap smear!

Expressing emotions in a grounded and centered way is very empowering, enabling you to get your needs met. Introspection is a beautiful way to work through feelings of overwhelm, sometimes easy to do, sometimes difficult if you can’t get clarity with your thoughts. A simple deep breath and a body scan to locate the feeling you have and giving it substance e.g. a colour, shape, texture. Soothe it further with conscious breathing. Other cathartic practices to move energy include whacking a pillow, hitting a ball, crying loudly or smashing crockery (Smash Room/Break Room). More placid forms – music, breath, meditation, exercise and mindfulness.

Acupuncture is known for stimulating the central nervous system promoting physical and emotional wellbeing. It is also well researched in evoking a deactivation of a limbic system as well as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, slowing down stressor responses and normalizing breathing. 

There is only so much a practitioner can do to deal with stress for their client. Removing the stress is the obvious way to maneuver better emotions. Acupuncture, herbal medicine and constitutional recommendations are great ways to rebalance a client and educate them on their emotional needs to live more mindfully and with wisdom.




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