The liver and anger.

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The liver and anger.

The liver in Chinese medicine has a primary role in processing emotional states and regulating our response to stress. The liver helps us to experience an emotional state, for example to feel sad or frustrated and then to allow the mood in our body to shift to any other emotional state which may be present such as joy, peace, pleasure, deep grief, anguish, fear, rage.

There is a high cost to our mental and physical health from not feeling the full-range of our emotions and being present in our bodies.

The liver has a close relationship with the gall bladder, such that they both require each other in order to function well in life. In our mental life it is the liver which makes plans, analyses and assesses circumstances, whilst the gall bladder is the organ which has clarity to make a clear decision and to follow through with a decision in a satisfying way. Sometimes we may not have thought through a decision, and despite the gall bladders clarity to make a decision the outcome may turn out not in our best interests because we lacked the livers capacity to assess and plan. Or we may be so good at strategy and planning, but lack clarity or feel impotent to make a decision. So both the liver and gallbladder require each other to effectively feel empowered and grounded to move through our life circumstances we encounter.

The liver also has a role in reproductive health and sexual desire, alongside the heart and kidney. The liver is the organ that could be said to most strongly say yes to life, to eros in the body.

As well as having a role in allowing all emotions to be felt and expressed. When we feel violated, disempowered, or hurt the liver has a natural expression of feeling angry, frustrated, irritable, agitated, grumpy, resentful, furious, enraged, etc. We can release this anger in an aggressive or mobilised way through physical force, the tone of our voice and our speech (i.e. shouting or a ‘fiery tongue’), or we may internalize the anger and experience the energy in a more passive or covert way. Anger which is unable to be expressed outwardly may also show up as feeling depressed or feeling inertia in the body. Sometimes anger may just manifest as a feeling of fire or heat in the body, or as conditions in the body that express with redness and heat internally or on the skin surface. When the liver is able to feel and express anger in a safe way, it allows the possibility for other emotions to be felt such as joy or sadness and eventually a state of expressing kindness or benevolence.

Potential Liver Qi stagnation signs:

The symptoms of liver qi stagnation can vary from person to person, but some of the most common signs include:

  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Bloating and abdominal discomfort
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Poor digestion and bowel movements
  • Menstrual cramps and irregular periods
  • Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
  • Poor circulation and muscle tension

Yours in TCM,

By 36.

*cited from 'Mend Accupuncture'.