The Seven Internal Causes
The seven internal causes, otherwise known as the Seven Emotions, are illnesses brought about by intense, prolonged, or suppressed feelings, and are defined as follows:
Sadness decreases the flow of qi in the lungs and heart, and is associated with depression, fatigue, amenorrhea, shortness of breath, asthma, allergies, cold and flu.
Grief is similar to sadness, and injures the lungs, decreases immunity to colds and flu, as well as chronic upper respiratory diseases such as emphysema, allergies, and asthma.
Pensiveness, or over-engaging the mind in activities such as worry, thought, or study can deplete spleen qi, and may result in edema, digestive disorders, low appetite, and fatigue.
Fear, or paranoia causes qi to descend, resulting in potential harm to the kidneys, lower back, or joints when this emotion is ever present.
Fright, or shock is unlike fear in the sense that the onset is very sudden, causing one's qi to diverge. The rapid change in flow first affects the heart in symptoms such as breathlessness and palpitations, then moves to the lower body in a similar fashion to fear, damaging the kidneys, lower back, and joints.
Anger encompasses all the negative emotions of rage, irritability, frustration, and resentment, and causes the qi to rise inappropriately. Anger is associated with headaches, mental confusion, dizziness, and hypertension.
Joy in Chinese Medicine refers to excess, or overabundance, and relates to illness relative to overindulgence. Damage to the heart may result, and the conditions of hysteria, muddled thought, and insomnia may arise.