Toxic Emotions and Your Health

Seven Deadly Emotions that can Wreck Your Health

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” — Nelson Mandela

Do you find that you often harbor negative emotions of Anger, Fear, Depression, Worry or Anxiety frequently? These negative emotions can be contributing to your ill-health. Traditional Chinese medicine has acknowledged the role of emotions in health and well-being for over 2000 years. Increasingly, scientific studies are backing up the ideas that negative emotions can cause serious health issues.  Certain parallels can be drawn between the Seven Deadly Emotions of Chinese medicine and the Seven Deadly Sins of Christian philosophy – anger features in both and is particularly destructive to others and to self.

The Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins, is a classification of objectionable vices (part of Christian ethics) that have been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct Christians concerning fallen humanity’s tendency to sin. The currently recognized version of the sins is usually given as anger or wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

The Catholic Church also recognizes seven virtues, which correspond inversely to each of the seven deadly sins.  The Seven Deadly Sins are those transgressions which are fatal to spiritual progress and which must be fervently repudiated by the devotee.


“And now abide faith, hope, love; these three:  but the greatest of these is love” 1 Cor. 13.13

What are the seven deadly sins?  The seven deadly sins are perversions of the soul viewed by society and literature as contrary and detestable for the spiritual unfoldment of humanity. Whether Christian or not.  helps us delineate these negative emotions.

  • Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Wrath when very strong.  Wrath is strong vengeful anger or indignation: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).  The antidote to unremitting anger is tolerance, love and patience. When you realize you are possessed by the spirit of anger, you will need to pray for strength and self-control to enjoy a life of contentment and joy. You will also need to pray to God to remove the darkness of anger controlling you. For more on the management of this negative emotion you can go to Anger Management Techniques.
  • Pride is excessive belief in one’s own abilities that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.  Pride is the quality or state of being proud – inordinate self-esteem: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).  The antidote to a haughty spirit is humility and a willingness to serve or help others. Are you struggling with arrogance?  It’s hard to humble yourself when you’re stuck in pride, it’s hard to see you are proud!  However you can transform a proud spirit when you recognize it by developing a humble spirit, remembering that ”God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  Learn therefore to humble yourselves, under God’s mighty hand.
  • Envy is the desire for others’ traits, status, abilities, or situation.  Envy can be a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2).
  • Envy and jealousy are closely related, however, a connotation difference exists. Jealousy wants what someone else has whilst Envy is when you don’t want someone else to have what you don’t have.Even Islam as well as other World Religions detests envy and jealousy. Envy or Jealousy in Islam is known as Hasad (Destructive Jealousy) and is recognised as a sickness of the Soul and Heart.  Hasad (destructive jealousy) is among the most destructive emotions or feeling which a man may have towards his fellow human being. It causes him to wish evil for others and to be happy when misfortune befalls them.  The Prophet of Allah (SWT) said: “Beware of envy because indeed envy destroys good deeds in the same manner as fire destroys wood.”Know that this condition, Hasad is a sickness of soul and heart and it also harms and is a health risk or rather an hazard to your total health.  Please go to for more. 

The antidote to these two maladies is kindness, one of the fruits of leading a spiritual life.  In transforming these negative emotions you cultivate the Fruit Of The Spirit.  Christian philosophy admonishes: “Overcome envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hope, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

  • Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires. Gluttony is excess in eating and drinking: “for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Proverbs 23:21). The antidote here is self-control and to know when to stop!
  • Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body. Lust means to have an intense desire or need: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Balance lust with chastity. Someone has rightly said, “Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” Lust must be conquered at the thought level and transformed to chastity. Chastity is sexual purity. Those who are chaste are morally clean in their thoughts, words, and actions.

Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.  Greed is excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness: “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19).  As one grows in spiritual maturity and consciousness, all such negative attitudes as envy, anger, hatred, lust, gluttony, and sloth diminish their hold on the consciousness. Greed can be balanced with temperance and contentment.

But His Holiness the Dalai Lama tells us that “ …when you reflect upon the excesses of greed, you’ll find that it leads an individual to a feeling of frustration, disappointment, a lot of confusion, and a lot of problems. When it comes to dealing with greed, one thing that is quite characteristic is that although it arrives by the desire to obtain something, it is not satisfied by obtaining. Therefore, it becomes sort of limitless, sort of bottomless, and that leads to trouble. One interesting thing about greed is that although the underlying motive is to seek satisfaction, the irony is that even after obtaining the object of your desire, you are still not satisfied. The true antidote of greed is contentment. If you have a strong sense of contentment, it doesn’t matter whether you obtain the object or not; either way, you are still content.

  • Giving is the antidote to greed according to our great Teacher. In Mark 10:21 — we read:  “Jesus looked at him and loved him. One thing you lack,‘ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor.
  • Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.  Laziness or sloth means a disinclination to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous: “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (Proverbs 15:19).  Sloth can be balanced with diligence and intelligent activity in well-doing.

Practicing the Cardinal Virtues 

The Seven Cardinal or Heavenly Virtues are faith, hope, charity, fortitude, justice, temperance, prudence. The Heavenly Virtues combine the four Cardinal Virtues: prudence, temperance, fortitude — or courage, and justice, with a variation of the theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity.Classical Greek philosophers considered the foremost virtues to be prudence, temperance, courage, and justice. Early Christian Church theologians adopted these virtues and considered them to be equally important to all people, whether they were Christian or not.St. Paul defined the three chief virtues as love, which was the essential nature of God, as well as hope, and faith. Christian Church authorities called them the three theological virtues because they believed the virtues were not natural to man in his fallen state but were conferred at Baptism.In modern terms, the Seven Contrary Virtues can be stated to be: humility, kindness, abstinence, chastity, patience, liberality, diligence. 

If you feel angry, offended or unjustly treated, you must learn to forgive and free yourself from this bitterness or anger. This is what the great Nelson Mandela taught: the power of forgiveness frees and relieves the pain of bitterness and anger. He taught the true meaning of freedom is giving and receiving love thru forgiveness; He lived the way of freedom from renunciation from all bitterness and negativity.

If you realize that you spend much of your life consumed with fear, worry, anger and bitterness or anxiety and your life becoming an uphill battle with every day a struggle with these negative emotions, then you should begin to practice the Cardinal virtues.  Practicing these virtues is said to protect one against temptation toward the Seven Deadly Sins: humility against pride, kindness against envy, self-control against gluttony, chastity against lust, patience against anger, liberality against greed, and diligence against sloth.

The so-called Seven Deadly Sins have their correspondence in the Seven Deadly Emotions of Chinese medicine. But the similar Seven Deadly Sins of Chinese medicine are linked to certain major organs and also certain disease states in all human beings, irrespective of gender, race or color.    Traditional Chinese Medicine is the oldest professional, being  a continuously practiced medicine in the world. It can be traced back more than 3000 years. It is now the second largest medical system in the world and it is currently used by one-third of the world’s population. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a holistic medicine that considers the “whole” person – body, mind, diet, environment, emotions, lifestyle, and exercise.    Chinese medicine interpretation brings the Seven Deadly Sins closer to human organs and functioning.

What are the negative emotions to avoid according to Chinese Medicine?

The disease-causing emotions in Chinese medicine based on their Five-Element Theory will continue next.

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