angry adult womanIn Traditional Oriental Medicine, the cause and effect of disease are not strongly differentiated. Nevertheless, the onset of disease is broken down into three main categories— external, internal, and other (ie imbalanced diet, wrong treatment, trauma, etc). When it comes to long-term health and wellness, the most important of all of these categories is the internal causes of disease, known as the Seven Negative Emotions, or the Internal Demons.

Of course we all experience what we can label 'negative emotions' as a natural part of being human. We all feel fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, and worry as a perfectly normal part of our daily lives. These feelings and emotions are an important part of how we as a species learn to adapt to our environment and survive.

In this sense, emotions aren't really bad or good, per se. They only can seem that way based on how we react to them, or if they prevent us from accomplishing things we want to do.

But Acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine, when some of these feelings and emotions become excessive or repressed they are believed to turn inward and take over many of the most important bodily functions. They very much become like demons that cause us and those around a great deal of anguish.

In Acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine, unresolved negative emotions alter the flow of vital energy within us. Because they disrupt the balanced flow of vital energy, unresolved negative emotions are always involved from the very onset of any disease. This being the case, they undoubtedly affect the functioning of the mind and spirit, and very often will set the foundation for the trajectory an illness will take and how a person will recover from it.

But in Acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine, unresolved negative emotions also have a direct effect on the physiological function of the internal organs. Too much anger and depression destroy liver function, too much fear zaps the kidneys, not enough love corrupts the heart, and too much sadness clogs the lungs.

Much like the chronic illnesses they are associated with, unresolved negative emotions alter the function of internal organs and body systems in small increments over a long period of time. Just like most types of heart or liver disease take a long time to become pathological, deep seated anger, sadness, or lack of compassion do not suddenly emerge over night. It takes many years of oversight and neglect of our emotional wellbeing before these imbalances are cultivated into detectable physical pathology.

In this sense, it helps to think of unresolved negative emotions as giant magnets that continually attract other similar negative thoughtforms to increase their strength while repelling those that are opposite.  

On the other hand, because it takes a while for them to increase in strength and become more powerful, at any given point, whether physical pathology is detectable or not, we have the opportunity to identify and remove any unresolved negative emotions that have buried themselves inside.

However the challenge is being able to recognize an unresolved negative emotion has taken the wheel. When this occurs, we often don't even know its happening and cannot stop ourselves from reacting a certain way.

Similar to when a virus has been injected into your computer's operating system, unresolved negative emotions become harmful programs that alter information and dictate the majority of our behavior without us even knowing. This is why many people cannot make the connection between their unresolved negative emotions and strained relationships, lack of direction in life, poor lifestyle choices, and disease.

30-day Positive Affirmation Exercise

In order to begin clearing out unresolved negative emotions, you first need to take control of the driver's seat and build up your emotional intelligence. There are many self-help tips out there but one that I've found to be especially powerful is a 30-day positive affirmation exercise.

Positive affirmations are extremely useful because they can help you recognize the various programs of unresolved negative emotions that may be running in the background of every conscious waking moment of your life. The idea is that any time you make a conscious effort to make a positive affirmation in your mind, unresolved negative emotions will creep in and try to shut it down.

The way it works is that the more often you make the affirmation, the more you will be able recognize any mental program running on unresolved negative emotions. Eventually, the sheer act of recognizing these negative thought forms over a period of time and running through them, over and over, will allow you to notice that your mind quiets, becomes tired of the protesting, and agrees with your affirmation, in effect nullifying and making unresolved negative emotions obsolete.

Step 1: Setting Your Affirmation

First you need to choose a positive affirmation. The affirmation needs to reflect your particular situation that focuses on making changes in yourself.

Your affirmation must use positive language and be in the present tense. Keep it short, but affirm what you need or want most in your life.

Most importantly, your affirmation should move you beyond your normal comfort zone, away from where you feel safe and secure, and make a bold affirmation that will create an immediate protest from your Internal Demons. Here are a few examples:

  • I fulfill my personal definition of happiness.
  • I easily attract an abundance of compassion in my life.
  • I manifest my vision for my health and wellbeing.


Step 2: Writing Your Affirmation

Once you have chosen your affirmation, it's time to start writing it. This step will require about 10-15 minutes a day. Be sure you choose a timeframe when it is quiet and you will not be disturbed or distracted. Early in the morning is ideal and a great way to to start your day. And be sure to turn off your phone, tablets, or the TV- use an actual pen and piece of paper.

To begin, divide a sheet of paper into two columns. Write your affirmation in the left column, then site quietly and listen intently for any internal negative thoughts that arise. No matter how silly, irrelevant, critical, or harsh these may seem, write down these negative thoughts on the right hand column opposite to the affirmation. Then repeat this process until the page is full.

Some people create a template on their computer, make enough copies for the month, and then write their affirmations and negative emotions daily by hand. Others just type it all in to their computer. You can choose either way. But to make this exercise work you need to write your affirmation by hand, not just think it or type it into a computer device. Your page should look something like this:

Positive Affirmation Negative Thoughts
I fulfill my personal definition of happiness. I'm too lazy.
I fulfill my personal definition of happiness. I don't care enough about myself to be happy.
I fulfill my personal definition of happiness.  I don't know how to do that.


Step 3: Clear Away Your Negative Emotions

This is the step where you'll be exhausting your unresolved negative emotions by using your affirmation to discharge their power.

Write the same affirmation over and over again, day after day, for 30 days. Over time you will notice the negative emotional programs lose their grip on your mind, and you begin to agree and accept your affirmation.

As you progress into the 30 day period, you may begin to notice that negative thoughts are not showing up as often as in the beginning. This is a good sign you're headed in the right direction. When this happens, begin to notice any changes or transformations in your behavior and how you now think and feel about your affirmation.

Depending on the boldness of your affirmation, this may take a day, a week, or a month. Whatever you do, do not walk away from this exercise. Stick with it until the end for it to have an effect, then watch your unresolved negative emotions begin to dissolve into the nothingness that they really are.


During the first 30-days of affirmations, try to eat a clean plant-based diet and reduce your distractions, such as screen time, to a minimum. These will help keep your mind uncluttered and clear so that you can confront your Internal Demons with clarity.

Some people will naturally gravitate to trying a cleansing or detoxification diet during this time. While it is not necessary, it will help accelerate the process.

A more gentle approach is to go for a daily walk in silence and try to recognize which Internal Demon is in control at the wheel.

Many people also enjoy receiving acupuncture during this time, which helps gently uproot negative emotions and calm the mind. Chinese herbal formulas and supplementing the diet with vitamins and minerals are also very useful in supporting any emotional turbulence.

It's also important to remember that if at any time you feel overwhelmed by the degree of negative emotions you feel, be sure to contact a professional who can help you work your way through it.

Following Up

After completing the first 30-days of affirmation, most people generally have noticed they have a lot of unresolved negative emotion programs that interfere with their daily interactions and routines. Many people also begin to get new ideas for how to make their affirmation a reality.

In either case, this is when you need to coach yourself through making changes. For some people this will be easy, but others may feel stuck or lost without direction.

If this happens to you, don't panic. Remember no person is an island, and despite our own inner rumblings rarely can anyone make significant changes in their life without the help of others. 

Instead, find a professional that can coach you through it. Remember acupuncture is fundamentally geared towards balancing the mind and body, and can be very helpful during this time as a tool to help you transform the remnants of unresolved negative emotions and adopt a more balanced and healthier emotional intelligence.

Rinse & Repeat

Once you've had the time to reflect and have figured out a plan for seeing your transformation through, choose a new affirmation and begin another 30-day exercise. Some people find this exercise so useful and powerful that they even adopt it into their daily routine, becoming a daily workout to strengthen emotional intelligence.


About the Author

authorRene M. Rodriguez is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and board licensed acupuncturist with 20 years experience in alternative natural medicine. He's in private practice in Los Angeles, CA, specializing in digestive disorders, skin conditions, infections, environmental illness, and mind-body health and wellness. For more information, please click here.

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