Is Your Liver Making You Angry?

Did you know that every one of your organs is connected to some type of physical emotion? It might not surprise you to discover that the liver is connected to anger.

In other words, if your liver is sick, you might notice yourself getting angry more often.

And conversely, if you get angry a lot, or experience a high-degree of stress in your life, that can physically harm your liver. It’s a messed-up viscous cycle, but I promise there’s a way to break it.

Eastern medicine teaches that at much as 50% of your liver troubles may have to do with this physical/emotional relationship.

Toxic Blood Means Toxic Emotions

As we cover in the Fix Your Fatty Liver program, when the liver isn’t functioning properly it can’t properly filter the toxins in your body. The result is a build-up of gunk and acidity in the blood and other organs, which can cause inflammation and lead to an overall reduction in health.

This can directly impact your emotions, specifically causing anger, irritation, stress, guilt, sadness, frustration, and depression.

Any of those sound familiar? If so, you aren’t alone.

Not to mention when you are angry, three physical things happen in your body that are terrible for your liver:

1. Your breath shortens: Breaths often become short and shallow, which prevent your body from taking in the oxygen it needs, and also from releasing the carbon dioxide that’s built up in your blood, all of which is filtered by your liver.

2. Your cortisol and adrenaline levels increase: These two hormones put stress on the entire body, and can actually age you faster since they encourage your “fight or flight” response).

3. The blood flow to your liver, gut, and organs slows down: The body sends energy and resources towards your muscles in preparation for physical exertion.

As if that weren’t bad enough, researchers recently discovered a link between anger and a protein called CRP, which promotes heart disease and strokes.

So, what can you do about all this?

It’s important to pay close attention to your emotions, both how you react to situations and how you perceive the world around you. If you find yourself always seeing things from a negative perspective, or if you become easily angered and irritated, you may even want to see a trained counselor to help you work through it.

There’s no shame asking a professional for help. A lot of people hold on to anger, letting it fester in their mind and body, causing those negative physical effects. That’s when it becomes a serious problem.

The simplest and healthiest approach is to express your anger at the exact time it’s occurring. Do so in an assertive but not aggressive manner. Don’t hold it in, but also be careful not to dump it on others.

Rather than assigning blame, pointing fingers, making assumptions, or yelling, talk to them about the situation in a calm fashion. If you aren’t ready to talk about it, writing a letter can help get some of those feelings out into the open where you can unpack them and see how true they are.

Many times, it’s your story about what happened rather than what actually happened that’s causing the problem.

And listen, you don’t have to send the letter, the very act of writing and putting it down on paper can be extremely healing, even liberating. This technique works especially well if you are holding on to anger or resentment towards someone who has passed.

Once the letter is written, you might find it therapeutic to rip it up or burn it. This can be a tangible symbol of letting go.

Other ways to identify, prevent, and let go anger…

  • Consider taking an online meditation class or picking up a book about the topic from Amazon. Meditation is one of the easiest ways to relax, and it’s been around a heck of a lot longer than Prozac. 😉
  • Learn how to begin and end your day with simple breathing exercises. These shift your body into a parasympathetic state, which is ideal for the liver and other organs. There’s a good tutorial on breathing exercises here.
  • Take an inventory of your diet. Remember that eating sugar, processed foods, fast food, soda and alcohol can affect both your happiness level and the health of your liver, a double whammy.
  • Take a break from the news, and Facebook, and any other media source (or social circle) where arguing, intensity, and strong emotions are present. While you are healing yourself, I promise you don’t need them in your life. You might even discover you don’t need them ever.
  • Connect with how your body feels when you do get angry. Observe the tension. and understand it can be a warning sign you are holding on to old emotions that are unconnected to the present situation.

There is nothing wrong with occasionally feeling mad. You are human and it’s sometimes necessary. It is how you process and deal with it (or don’t deal with it) that makes the difference. When you feel a sense of anger, irritation or frustration coming on…

  1. Stop what you are doing.
  2. Take four deep breaths.
  3. Move your body so you loosen yourself up (e.g. a simple stretch will do).
  4. Smile (even if you don’t mean it at that moment)

Once you have calmed down, look at the situation again from this new frame of mind and develop a healthy action plan to deal with it, or forget it, (or whatever), and then resolve to move on.

You’ll feel better, and so will the person you are angry with. 😉

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