Anger is such a frustrating emotion. It often has a life of its own, like a wild fire that has no boundaries. The slightest wind blows, amplifying the intensity and steering the fire into new, unforeseen directions. It is an emotion that desires to be heard by anyone who will listen, and felt by those who are unwilling participants. This is a very selfish emotion, unwilling to take others into consideration. The physical sensations of anger do not recede quickly. There is a cascade of physiological chemicals that have been released into the wild, uneasily tamed by soft spoken words or a gentle touch. Like the wildfire, anger needs time to run its course.
What does anger feel like in your body? Typically there is a sudden intense reaction to whatever sets you off. Your heart starts to race. There is a drop in your stomach, followed by a rush of blood and energy towards your head. Perhaps your face gets flush, or you feel a warm tingling in your scalp. Its almost as if you are sprouting flames from your head. Perhaps at some point we are no longer mentally angry, but our body posturing, tone of voice or even intentional silence are still screaming to the world, “I’m still angry!”.
Let us look at the anatomy of anger from an acupuncturist’s point of view. Each organ in our bodies is connected to a particular subset of emotions. If we experience a certain emotion regularly, we can negatively affect the related organ. Or, if that related organ is experiencing disharmony, we may be more prone to that emotion. In this case, the Liver is in charge of regulating the feelings of anger, frustration, resentment and irritability. From a physiological perspective, the nervous system connects to the hepatic portals or tubes that flow in and out of the liver. When you are experiencing stress for example, the nervous system tends to activate the portals causing them to tighten up and prevent the smooth flow of blood in and out of the liver and into the rest of your body. This can cause what acupuncturists diagnose as “Liver Qi Stagnation”. Prolonged stagnation can cause all the emotions associated with anger to build in your system, just waiting for the right moment to let it all out. The release of the anger is a release for your liver organ, which is in part why it often feels so good to let your angry wildfire spread so quickly.
The lesson here is to be kind to yourself next time you feel yourself experiencing anger, or perhaps feel empathy for those around you who do. The next time your are noticing anger, frustration or irritability, take a moment to close your eyes, take a deep breath and connect with your liver. Ask your liver what it needs from you in order to release these negative feelings in a healthy, positive way.
For more information on how acupuncture can help you resolve your feelings of anger, feel free to connect with me through email, text or social media. Or simply book your acupuncture session online by clicking the link below.