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The Lungs and Our Emotional Life

Our emotions play an important role in our health and well-being. For thousands of years Asian medicine has attributed specific emotional qualities to each organ system. By recognizing them and working with their energy we could improve our health.

Woman breathing during sunrise

The lungs, due to their connection with the exterior through the upper respiratory system, establish a boundary between the body and the environment protecting us from external pathogens. Psychologically, this is expressed as the ability to establish personal boundaries; taking in what is of value (inspiration) while letting go of what is not needed (expiration).

Having a strong sense of boundaries allows us to open up to others and establish clear relationships where we can say “yes” or “no” when appropriate.

Other qualities attributed to the lung system include finding our place in the world, knowing who we are and believing in our self-worth.

From a symbolic perspective, the lungs are related to the father. In Asian medicine, the father is the one transmitting a sense of self-worth to the infant. The father does this by appreciating the child for manifesting the potential that he transmitted at conception. Many times, the ability of a person to recognize what is of value in the self and others reflects the type of relationship they had with the father. In clinical practice there has been a connection between asthma in young children and a longing for the father, who is physically or emotionally unavailable due to death, divorce, or work.

In our daily life the value we give to our environment and our sense of aesthetic are also tied to the lung function. The state of our home, the boundaries of our fences, clean windows, and a well-tended garden are all manifestations of lung energy.
Clearing clutter from our house and our life supports lung function and can bring more clarity to our mental and emotional life.

In equilibrium, the lungs will allow us to process the loss of a loved one by remaining connected to spirit once the material aspect of the person has left.

A deficiency of the lungs will manifest as having a hard time letting go of people, objects, or spending much time reliving the past.

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