Though it may seem strange to treat an anger issue by way of your liver, thousands of years of wisdom suggests otherwise.
Both China and India have a long history of treating imbalances of the emotional and mental body by way of the physical. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic Medicine combined boast a whopping 5,000 years of practice, and both consider the mind and the body to be inseparable. Hence, what impacts one will have an effect on the other, often in a cyclical fashion.
TCM and Ayurveda both look to the energy channels within the body (called meridians) along which our life force flows, and to the organs each intersects. Each organ or organ system is also associated with a corresponding emotional or mental state.
Our second largest organ – the liver (skin is our largest) is responsible for handling the cleanup and detoxification of every single thing that enters our bodies through the blood stream. It’s the workhorse of the body, and can quickly become clogged and overloaded as a result of poor dietary habits, excessive drinking, prescription and recreational drug-use, and everyday exposure to air, food, and water borne toxins.
In both TCM and Ayurveda, the liver is associated with the emotions of anger and frustration (along with such offshoot emotions as jealousy, resentment, bitterness and impatience). If you find yourself struggling with an overabundance of any of these feelings on a regular basis, you may want to take a look at your liver health.
Emotional signs of a sluggish or overloaded liver may be expressed as increased outbursts of anger and rage, and difficulty controlling these and other similar feelings. Conversely, long-standing repression of resentment, anger or jealousy can result in additional stress on the liver, according to TCM.
Taking steps to improve our lifestyle and habits can have a corresponding positive effect on both our bodies and our emotional and mental health. When we take the time to address imbalances from both sides, we can have profound positive effects on our overall health and well-being.
For a healthier liver, and to address issues with anger, here are a few things you can do:
- Cut way back on your sugar intake. This is a biggie. Excessive sugar consumption in the form of obvious sources (candy, desserts, pop and fruit juices) as well as those more cleverly hidden ones (condiments, so-called ‘diet’ foods including low-fat yoghurt, granola bars, fruit snacks, and cereals) can create an overgrowth of Candida yeast. This yeast in turn can produce an alcoholic by-product that can lead to liver damage, thereby decreasing the liver’s ability to rid the body of other toxins.
- Use supportive botanicals. Milk Thistle, Burdock Root and Dandelion Root are all excellent supportive herbs for the liver. Not only do they help the liver to process and eliminate accumulated toxins, but they may also actually encourage regeneration of damaged liver tissues.
- Improve digestion. Anything that supports a healthy digestion, such as the inclusion of turmeric, black pepper and other spices into your meals, drinking aloe vera juice, adding good fibre to your diet, and increasing your consumption of fresh fruits and veggies (which contain plenty of live enzymes for healthy digestion) will go a long way to supporting your liver, and reducing the load it has to carry.
- Add specific liver cleansing foods into your diet. Dark green leafy veggies, avocados, apples, garlic, ginger, olive oil, cruciferous vegetables, citrus fruit, and beets are all excellent liver-cleansing foods. Anything with a naturally bitter or astringent taste will be beneficial.
- Deal with anger constructively. Anger, jealousy, and impatience are all very natural emotions, and we should not, nor can we, avoid them altogether. But before they become the more toxic and chronic states of rage, bitterness, and resentment, we can learn effective ways to manage and process these feelings as they arise.
When we address our health from both the physical and emotional realms, we can expect to experience significant shifts towards overall well-being.