Emotions

06/01/2020

As a Reiki Practitioner, I always wondered what controls our emotions and how are we in control of them? People mostly approach me because they are experiencing emotional imbalance, and their main focus is to ease their emotional pain. 

Do people fall victim into their own emotional traps, or is there something else that influences them?...Surely some of us would love to write it off to some external circumstance but is that always the case?... why do we develop stronger or weaker emotional responses...

With this presentation I am hoping to share something that could shed light on what causes these emotional imbalances and why some of us are more sensitive than others.


People are aware of what emotions they experience, they feel these emotions and divide them into positive and negative emotions, maybe label them good and bad.

Some of us, maybe would even try to block some of those emotions... When they are feeling sad or angry, they would think it is unnatural or bad.

Nowadays people are expected to always feel happy, grateful and feel for love towards  everyone and everything. Yet, others would say, that is complete nonsense...You cannot live only a happy life and neither can you shut down or ignore negative emotions...

and so we live in this huge conflict with ourselves... and if you are an analytical person you might try to reason your emotional state, making your own conclusion based on what you read on the internet and based on what you know and what people say.

 Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin

According to Darwin,

Emotions evolved, because they were adaptive, and allowed humans and animals to survive and reproduce. According to the evolutionary theory of emotion, our emotions exist, because they serve an adaptive role, motivating people to respond to the environment and helps their chances of survival.

It is also Darwin who mentions the facial-feedback hypothesis, he said that facial movement can influence emotional experience. In other words, when we smile we then experience pleasure or happiness. When we frown, we then experience sadness. These facial expressions indicate, one's emotional state and triggering our brain to recognize and understand them...


Paul Ekman
Paul Ekman

During the 1970s, a psychologist, Paul Eckman identified six basic emotions that he suggested were universally experienced in all human cultures.

The identified emotions were: happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise, and anger.

Later, Robert Plutchik, came up with a theory called the "wheel of emotions" that worked something like the color wheel.

Plutchik's Colour wheel
Plutchik's Colour wheel

Meaning, that emotions can be combined to form different feelings, much like colors can be mixed to create other shades. According to this theory, the more basic emotions act like building blocks. More complex, sometimes mixed emotions, are blendings of these more basic ones. For example, basic emotions such as joy and trust can be combined to create love.

In psychology, emotion is often defined as a complex state of feeling, which results in physical and psychological changes that influence thought and behavior.

There are 3 major categories of emotions:


Out of many theories of emotion, psychology names 4 major theories, which are:


The James-Lange theory of emotion

Emotions occur as a result of physiological reactions to events, the theory suggests, when you see something in your environment that triggers a psychological response, your reaction will depend on how you interpret it, 

Meaning: Event - Arousal - Interpretation - Emotion.


The Cannon-Bard theory of emotion 

People can experience physiological reactions linked to emotions without actually feeling those emotions, we feel emotions and experience physiological reactions and muscle tension at the same time.

Meaning: Event causing Arousal and the Emotion at the same time.


Schachter-Singer Theory of emotion

Physiological arousal occurs first, and then the individual must identify the reason for this arousal to experience and label it as an emotion, the trigger then leads to a physiological response, then cognitively interpreted and labeled as an emotion. 

Both Schachter-Singer and Cannon-Bard theories agree if one experiences a racing heart and sweating palms during an important event, one will probably identify the emotion as anxiety, but if one experiences the same physical responses on a date, they might interpret those responses as love, affection, or arousal.

Meaning: Event - Arousal - Cognitive Labels - Emotion


The Lazarus theory of emotion 

Thinking must occur first before experiencing emotion. The theory suggests, the sequence of events first involves a stimulus, which is followed by a thought, which then leads to the experience of a physiological response and emotion at the same time.

Meaning: Event - thought = Emotion + Arousal

A study was made in which a smartphone application was developed to monitor real-time emotions of an exceptionally large number of people. People's everyday life seems profoundly emotional: participants experienced at least one emotion 90% of the time. The most frequent emotion was joy, followed by love and anxiety. People experienced positive emotions 2.5 times more often than negative emotions, but also experienced positive and negative emotions at the same time relatively frequently.

In ancient Greece medicine first emerged as a secular activity independent of religion.

Hippocrates and his followers, combined naturalistic craft knowledge with ancient science and philosophy to produce the first systematic explanations of the behavior of the human body in health and illness. They made the first attempts to understand emotions as mental phenomena, which had surprising and complex connections to physiological order and pathological disorder.

The dominant theory of Hippocrates, was that of the four humors or body fluids: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. When these humors were in balance, health prevailed; when they were out of balance - disease took over.

The goal of medical therapy was to restore the balance of the liquids, by adjusting diet, exercise, and the management of the body's evacuations, like the blood, urine, feces, perspiration. The humors, were used to explain more complex phenomena like emotional states in much simpler physical terms. For example, when a patient was melancholic, physicians assumed, that his or her complicated feelings of sadness and depression resulted from the physical excess of black bile. Likewise, an excess of yellow bile was thought to make a person angry and impulsive. 

Chinese Medicine originates from the Pre Qin era (475 BC), which makes it more than 2,5 thousand years old, resulting from the combination of knowledge and theoretical summarization of a long-term medical practice and the traditional culture of China. 

The Climate of the Chinese nations provided favorable socio - cultural conditions for the formation of the theoretical system of Chinese medicine. The Chinese medical understanding of biological activity, and structure of the human body. 

The main theory in Chinese Medicine Is the theory in Yin - Yang, which is the exchange of the endless forces of the universe and the relationship between mankind and nature. The anatomy, physiology and pathology of the human body, stating that internally, the human body is an interconnected whole. And also is externally closely tied to it's natural and social environment.

Yin Yang exists is all things and manifests in all phenomena of the physical world. Ultimately Nothing is absolute, everything is relative.


The theory of the Cang Fu organs 

There are 2 categories the 5 Cang organs: The heart, the liver, the lungs, kidneys and spleen

And the Fu organs:

Gallbladder, Stomach, Large and Small intestines, Urinary Bladder and the Pericardium


In Chinese Medicine they speak about 7 emotional statesJoy, anger, sadness, contemplation, melancholy, fear and fright,

They are considered as normal physical and psychological reactions which do not lead to a disease only, if there is an abnormal emotional imbalance, which ultimately leads to disease and this is when traditional chinese medicine speaks about the 7 emotional pathogens or in other words - illnesses. According the chinese medicine, an individual's emotional and psychological activities are closely related with the qi, physical energy and blood of the zang fu organs and that human emotional and mental activities are the external manifestations of the production of the internal organs.

  1. Fright and Joy are the emotions of the Heart.

  2. Anger is the emotion of the Liver.

  3. Contemplation is the emotion of the Spleen.

  4. Sadness and melancholy is the emotion of the Lungs

  5. Fear is the emotion of the Kidneys.

The dysfunction of the work of these organs may result in emotional imbalance. On the other hand emotional imbalance in turn affects the function of the organs. The theory also suggests that the 7 emotional illnesses are related to psychological or mental illnesses, such as depression, psychosis and mania. Mental and emotional activities take the strength of the internal organs in other words, strong emotions after time injure the organs directly.

In the Chinese Medicine they place The Heart as the commanding organ of the 5 Zu organs and the primary agent of all mental activity. All injuries caused by the seven emotions will eventually relate back to the Heart. Clinically, the Heart, the Liver and the Spleen are the organs most commonly injured by emotional factors.

Joy or happiness, is a positive mental state. It helps the qi and the blood to circulate smoothly and brings comfort to the body, which is beneficial to health. Joy is the emotion of the Heart. But on the other hand excessive joy damages the Heart and leads to the disruption of the Heart qi. In mild cases causing: palpitations, insomnia, and inability to concentrate, while in severe cases nervous laughter, crazed speech and actions.

Fright or Panic is a sudden, fiery emotional reaction and also is an activity of the Heart. When we experience fright too often that creates irregular circulation of the Heart qi In mild cases resulting anxiety, paranoia, palpitations and insomnia while in severe cases panic, incoherent speech and psychological disorders.

Anger, rage or wrath, which is a furious, agitated emotional state that corresponds to Liver, carrying the blood upward with possible side effects of the Spleen and Stomach. It manifests as irritability and sudden outbursts, headache and distention of the head, flushed cheeks and bloodshot eyes; the upward-moving qi then stirs the blood causing vomiting, spitting blood or even fainting, belching, abdominal distension, diarrhea, loss of appetite.

Thinking is good for you but... Overthinking harms the spleen and causes qi to stagnate. Thinking too much is an emotional activity of concentrated thinking and deliberation, therefore too much thinking would harm the Spleen, causing stagnation of the Spleen qi, affecting the Liver and Kidneys as well as disrupting the Calm of the Heart. Stagnant Spleen, can cause loss of appetite, abdominal distension and diarrhea. If the calm of Heart is disturbed it can result in heart palpitations, insomnia, excessive dreaming, even dementia. When constant anxiety affects the Liver and the Kidney, it can cause impotence, nocturnal emissions and premature ejaculations in men and irregular menstruation and vaginal discharge in women.

Excessive sadness and melancholy damages the Lungs; leading to low voice, Sadness or sorrow is a depressed, painful emotional state weakness and shortness of breath, listlessness, depression and low spirits. Long term melancholy may damage the Lungs and cause depression, low and pessimistic spirits, thoracic discomfort and feeling of suffocation of breath.

Fear damages the Kidneys, fear, horror, terror is a scared emotional state and is associated with Kidneys. If Kidney qi is injured it causes qi scatter and consuming the blood and essence Which also called "essential qi" or jing which is considered to be the base of all aspects of organic life and the material basis for all kinds of functional activities that are responsible for human growth and development. 

Fright can manifest in the body as urinary and fecal incontinence, premature ejaculation, spermatorrhoea, nocturnal emissions, a pale, white complexion, dizziness and painting. In addition, fright and fear often attack together. However, there is a definite difference between the two. The term "fright" emphasizes the suddenness and lack of expectation of the shock received; while "fear" points to the psychological uneasiness that is accompanied by a certain degree of self-awareness. Fright arises suddenly and without warning while fear tends to accumulate gradually, making the former easy to recover from and the latter very difficult. 

Fright belongs to yang emotions, being caused by extrinsic factors, when the frightened person is unaware of it; 

While fear (terror) belongs to yin emotions, being caused by built in factors, the fearful person is self-aware of it.

But do these emotions belong exclusively only to Humans?... 

When I look at my cat... he gets scared when something bangs, or hears a sharp sound, my cat fears the vacuum cleaner and the guitar music, when it's played live, he gets aggy and angry when I overstroke him and he gets depressed and worried, when we go on vacations or when he is sick, or when something hurts. On the contrary, he feels happy when he sees us coming home, he headbuts me when he wants to get and express love and he gets excited, when I open the tin of tuna ...and he feels disgusted by his own feces.

Observing this... gives me the impression that these emotions are also instinctive... and they are given for us to survive and to evolve... The main focus is not to simply label our emotions as good or bad... but to learn to become aware of them and try NOT to suppress them but understand the consequence of staying in these emotions too long learn to transform them and bring them into balance.

In Shintoism, which is the traditional belief system of ancient and contemporary Japan, and the fundamental base of Reiki practise they state: 

Everything is part of a single unified creation, and that humans are born pure, badness, impurity or sin are things that come later in life.

Also in the Oriental East, they say human is the mediator and the balance keeper between Universe and Earth and Mankind.

The great advantage of our times is to have the ability to learn anything that would help us to evolve, And bring us back to balance...to our own origins So we can adapt better to change and with less effort which would ultimately help us to restore the balance Not only between body and mind, but also to maintain this balance between humans and nature So we can all live a long healthy life.

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