Friday, April 20, 2018

Human Emotions and Depression

Human happiness has much to do with human emotions and feelings. Emotions and feelings are two sides of the same coin; they are closely related, but they are two very different things in that the former create biochemical reactions in the human body, affecting the physical state, while the latter are mental associations and reactions to the former.

The Seven Emotions

According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we all have qi (), which is the internal life-giving energy circulating within each and every one of us, giving us internal balance and harmony. Human emotions are also energy states, which either give or deplete our own internal life-giving energy, causing harmony or disharmony, and leading to wellness or disease.

In Chinese medicine, there are seven emotions that not only trigger feelings of unhappiness but also cause many internal diseases because they may adversely affect the different body organs associated with these emotions. For example, anger or rage affects the liver; fear and fright (the difference between fear and fright is that the former is due to things that may happen in the future, while the latter is due to things that are in the now) damage the kidney; sadness impairs the lungs; anxiety and worry weaken the spleen; joy, especially excessive joy, may dysfunction the heart.

Because Chinese medicine is all about internal balance and harmony, any excess in these emotions may be harmful. To illustrate, even excessive joy may dysfunction the heart, leading to mania and even mental disorders; it is not uncommon that many people experience winter blues right after the joyful celebration of Christmas and the New Year.

According to Western medicine, as much as 50 percent of human diseases may be psychosomatic. Dr. Caroline B. Thomas, M.D., of John Hopkins School of Medicine, discovered that cancer patients often had a prior poor relationship with their parents, attesting to the pivotal role of emotions in the development of cancer. In another study by Dr. Richard B. Shekelle of the University of Texas School of Medicine, it was found that depression patients were not only more cancer prone but also more likely to die of cancer than the other patients. If emotions play a pivotal role in cancer, by the same token, negative emotions may also adversely affect the symptoms or the prognosis of any other human diseases. Indeed, thoughts of anger, despair, discontent, frustration, guilt, or resentment are instrumental in depressing the physiological processes, including the human body’s immune response—a formula for promoting the development of an autoimmune disease.

To conclude, it is not an overstatement that the mind and diseases are inter-connected, especially when it comes to human emotions.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

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