Chronic Anger and its Addictive Nature
Angry? MOVE that body!
Behavioral Awareness to Ease Anger
Strength & Integrity in Sensitive Honesty
Herbs, Food & Nutrition to Support the Liver
The Liver & Chronic Anger
We don’t want to mess with our liver. It filters and detoxifies our blood; it metabolizes carbs, fats, and proteins, and it stores vitamins and sugars to release when we need them. We feel nauseous and fatigued as the liver has too many toxins to process. The easiest way to help the liver is to cut back or quit alcohol, smoking, sugar, processed foods, a diet high in carbs, and harmful fats such as deep-fried foods and hydrogenated oils.
Easier said than done. But clean and abundant energy from a healthy liver is so (seriously & amazingly) worth it!
We also strain our liver with anger. Of course, we’re highly resilient and are meant to feel a wide range of emotions. Anger, like all emotions, can be healthy to feel. Anger stirs us into action. Anger helps kicks our butt into making a change. It’s when we get stuck in one emotion or another (even expecting ourselves to feel happy all the time), and that emotion becomes chronic, that we begin to put the quality of our health and lives at risk.
Sometimes we can’t express our anger and it builds into resentment. Sometimes our anger protects us from feeling other emotions we’d rather not feel, like sadness, or powerlessness, or fear. Sometimes we become so accustomed to feeling angry that we begin to identify with it.
Sometimes our anger acts as fuel to make changes in our life or in the world, but we resist feeling the other aspects of the grief that will soften us into accepting the past for what it was, to put it to rest, to free ourselves from it.
When we’re free from the weight of our past, we open space where we can unleash our imagination to CREATE our life and the world around us rather than be subject to that world.
Within that space lies our freedom.
The Addictive Nature of Anger
Anger induces a stress-response, meaning it releases stress hormones in a fight or flight (or freeze) response. Stress has an addictive nature to it, and thus, so does anger. Just as with chronic stress, chronic anger easily leads us into self-sabotaging behavior, in how, why, and what we consume, and our relationships.
Very often drinking, smoking, eating, or using drugs is a way for us to either release our anger by saying what we otherwise cannot say or to temporarily ease the anger. The issue with this, however, is that the anger can either be expressed dysfunctionally, or as rage, or it gets packed in and grows into resentment. Either way, relational and physical tensions rise, only to increase our anger even more.
Angry? MOVE that body!
Take a moment to contemplate this. Is anger a reason that you drink, smoke, eat or use any drugs (prescribed, over-the-counter, or illicit)? Is anger a primary motivator for you in general? How do you express your anger? Do you hold it in, or does it explode out of you? Do you feel resentments welling up in you? Are you able to speak on your resentments, and when you do, how well do you say what you mean?
Identify with something you feel angry or resentful about. Sit with it at this moment. Where in your body do you feel it? Does it raise your hair, do you feel it in your skin, in your gut; does it swell as tears in your eyes? Where and how specifically can you feel the sensation of anger in your body?
Feel what is right for you. Trust your body. Are the sensations stirred by anger asking you to release them? Typically, anger (and irritation) love to be MOVED out of the body.
👉🏼 Safely release your voice—hum, sing, yell, scream.
👉🏼 Run, walk, punch the air or a pillow (or punching bag), dance, jump around.
👉🏼 Anger is creative, and ANY creative activity offers release.
👉🏼 Yoga with a focus on movement releases anger and yes, it’s okay to safely express anger through yoga!
👉🏼 Pumping lymph through quick and easy daily detoxification moves toxins out of the body, and in turn, eases anger.
Behavioral Awareness to Ease Anger
For long-term benefit, however, we need to gain awareness of our behaviors to reduce anger at their source, to keep it from growing within us emotionally, mentally, physically (and spiritually), and to ease its impact on our actions and interactions through our days that grow into the bigger picture of our personality, identity, motivation, inspiration, and purpose throughout our lives.
Answer these questions, either mentally or by writing your answers down:
👉🏼 Whom do you feel angry with?
👉🏼 What happened? (begin with one specific scenario)
👉🏼 Were you dishonest in the moment in any way, either by saying something you didn’t mean, exaggerating the truth, or withholding the truth altogether?
👉🏼 How would you handle that situation differently now?
👉🏼 How can that scenario teach you how to express yourself more honestly and optimally in the future?
You can apply these questions to any situations that you feel anger or resentment, and look for the common threads in your relationships and the scenarios you tend to be in and how you handle them.
*If you notice that all of your anger is aimed toward institutions and macro issues such as government, inequality, destruction of our planet, etc., can you break this down into something smaller that is within your direct capacity to change? If this is your tendency with anger, notice this—do you intellectualize your anger, and can you begin to allow yourself to feel anger in your inter/personal realm of life?
*If you feel anger about childhood events, you don’t need to take responsibility for them—you were a kid! Begin with more recent scenarios and relationships that will empower you now. Childhood hurts can be felt and faced using different tools, under more sensitive circumstances.
Remember, this is just a learning process! Too many of us have trauma in our histories, either from childhood or from events in adulthood, and this can shape how we interact with people and life, by either responding with anger (fight), being extremely anxious or fearful (flight), or not being able to really feel in the moment (freeze). There is also a fawn response, which is about people-pleasing, to keep the peace. If trauma is impacting decisions and behavior (consciously or not), there is chronic stress. Look here for tools that can begin to help you with the stress.
Strength & Integrity in Sensitive Honesty
From your answers, discern how honest you were. If you weren’t, why not? For example, did you want the person’s approval; did you want to keep the peace, or did you not feel angry at the moment but only later in reflection?
Many need to take a few moments or minutes (or longer) before speaking on anger, learning to pause. Others who chronically withhold their truth (either by telling no one or those it doesn’t pertain to) need to learn to let it out, even if it’s messy in the beginning.
If you feel that it is unsafe to express your anger in a sensitive manner, that is an indication of a potentially harmful and toxic relationship, which may be your anger asking you to get out of that situation altogether! Either way, it requires discipline and diligence to change habits in expressing anger with love and care, even if that love and care is first for yourself, your safety, your growth, and your well-being.
It’s also important to remember that others can benefit from your honesty, by learning more about themselves through your experience with them. Maybe you’re the only one who can help them grow in specific ways. Relationships can strengthen with the challenge and integrity in sensitive honesty.
What are your patterns? And how does any use of self-medication—or self-sabotage—help or hinder your capacity to be honest with your anger?
Herbs, Food & Nutrition to Ease Anger & Support the Liver
👉🏼 Supplementing or drinking tea with milk thistle regenerates liver cells and can be used before bingeing on liver-harmers to reduce liver-damage and hangovers.
👉🏼 Supplementing with quality and preferably activated B-complex may be necessary since B vitamins are depleted with stress and toxic consumption that harm the liver in the first place.
👉🏼 Turmeric can help to reduce free radical production that damages cells throughout the body.
👉🏼 Using herbs and foods that support chronic stress will ease anger and support the liver as well since anger and stress go hand in hand.
👉🏼 Eating a well-rounded, whole-foods diet ensures the vitamins, minerals, and digestive support that are interrelated with liver health.
All of these supportive tools build a foundation that reduces cravings for our liver-destructive, self-medications, including smoking, sugar, alcohol, processed foods, a diet high in carbs, and harmful fats such as deep-fried foods, hydrogenated oils, and saturated fats from meat and dairy products. Any of these fixes need to be reduced for us to heal. Moving lymph to aid daily detoxification will be of great benefit as we heal, if not utterly necessary, moving damage from our livers out of our bodies.
👉🏼 EFT tapping is a practice that connects the body-mind and is a powerful tool for releasing emotions and updating limiting beliefs that may accompany emotional pain and distress. Check here to learn more about the EFT practice, and there is a tapping practice guided specifically for anger in the Holistic Liberation Facebook group.
Because health is a web between our thoughts, behaviors, and communication, interaction and consumption, our beliefs AND emotions, a supportive program can be exactly what we need for wholesome transformation. I run the Holistic Liberation Program that offers exactly that. Check here for more information.
Jyllin is a holistic health coach and somatic practitioner, and teacher of therapeutic yoga and creative movement, specializing in liberation from addictive patterns of chronic stress. Learn more about Jyllin and The Holistic Liberation Program.