Most of our organs are connected to an emotion and your liver is the organ connected to anger.
The majority of people are unaware of the correlation between their anger and the effect it has on their liver because they don’t understand the depth of the connection. The state of the liver is actually fundamental to how we will feel the emotion, which could directly shape how we will act or react to what life dishes out.
Hard to accept life on life’s terms when one’s liver is toxic with unwanted chemicals!
It’s a bad start to changing the way we think – to change the way we feel – to ultimately change our behaviour by using food for comfort. Have you heard someone being referred to as having “sh#t on the liver”? This refers to someone who is in a bad mood or emotionally unstable.
Emotional overeating is often the result of a reaction to anger and resentment and we look for comfort food to soothe our troubled mind. Of course, anger itself is not a bad emotion, and it should not be repressed as this causes additional mental, emotional and physical problems. Another cause for reactive emotions is unstable brain chemistry and we will look at this in more detail in the near future.
Dealing with Anger
- Express your anger; talk about your hurt. It may help to write a letter to the person (if a family member) you are angry with explaining your feelings. If they have passed away, you can still write the letter and take it to the burying place, read it then burn it!
- Examine your anger. Who are you really angry with? Friends, Family, Strangers, Spouse. Or are you angry at yourself for triggering their mistreatment and whether it is fact or fiction. Often we react to someone when it is our own sensitivity and paranoia that stands in the way of emotional maturity.
- Perhaps alcohol, too much sugar, or drugs were a factor in the abuse you suffered. Alcohol and sugar will affect your brain chemistry and is toxic to your liver.
Here are some ways to remove past anger and bitterness is an individual process using DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy) and active meditation. What works for one person, does not always work for someone else. It is sometimes necessary to try many ways to remove anger and hurt before you find peace.
DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy) assists in changing strong emotions, like anger, with 4 basic steps.
1. Practice mindfulness (awareness) to the emotion (anger) so that you become aware of what you feel and experience.
- Notice that a wave of anger is washing over you
- Notice that your teeth or fists are tightly clenched
- Observe tension in your shoulders
- Notice the urge to shout/push/scream/swear/throw, etc.
- Observe the thought, “I hate you” or whatever negative thought you are harbouring
2. Change your body language and posture as they are giving your brain feedback to keep firing the emotion that you want to change.
- Take some deep breaths
- Loosen your hands and open them or put them in your pockets.
- Change an aggressive stance to a friendlier and inviting one. Stand back from the recipient of your anger – give them space.
3. Change your facial expression. Like your posture, it changes the feedback your brain gets in order to know what emotion it thinks you need. Our subconscious is impartial to what is right or wrong. You are what you think you are!
- Adopt a half smile (not a smirk) and you will be surprised how this affects the other party.
- Take on an expression that you think communicates calmness. Keep breathing deeply.
- Try and change your expression to one of compassion, if the recipient is frightened or alarmed by your anger.
4. Engage in behaviours opposite to the emotion to interrupt the anger that is currently firing and re-firing angry ammunition at whoever or whatever is the recipient of your out-of-control emotion. This means choosing behaviours that are incompatible with the emotion you are targeting for change.
- Take the focus off the person you are angry with – stare at the sky, the wall, a tree and keep breathing deeply.
- Take time out and say: “How about we discuss this later?”
- Walk away and do something constructive – not destructive!
- Slowly and mindfully drink a glass of water
- Avoid, for the moment, the person you are angry with
- Think about how life might be hard for the person you are angry with
- Are they emotionally disturbed or ignorant about how you feel?
- Say out loud to yourself: “I can handle this situation”
- If you are driving, be cautious and concentrate on the road.
- Think about things that are inconsistent with your anger. Think about pleasant things, happy times, beautiful places, successes. If you are in the car, listen to some soothing music.
Another way to remind yourself about Mindfulness and Acceptance is to wear a light rubber band on your wrist and snap it whenever you feel angry or upset. This is an anchor you can use to “kick start” change in your behaviour by going through the above steps.
You might think that all of the above will take minutes to process but that is not true. Start practicing the above and you will be surprised how effective and quickly you can diffuse your anger. This is because you are forming new neural pathways to the brain – this will be discussed in more details in upcoming articles.
When you are ready, approach the person and, being Mindful and living in the moment, communicate in an emotionally mature way that will not antagonise or reignite the argument. Before you approach them, take 15 minutes to listen to an active meditation CD on “Letting Go of Anger” from www.calm.com.au and this will help to keep things in perspective.