Thursday, March 10, 2011

We can learn a lot from anger

Spring is the season of the liver, so I am told. A time to prepare, clean out the dust accumulated over winter, and bring forth a fresh start. If you had a chance to read Melissa Cole's informative March edition of the Luna Lactation newsletter, you already know that nourishing your liver can support lactation and how to do so.

What does the liver have to do with emotions? Kristen Dilley and Sunny Jaynes, Nurture's gentle and wise acupuncturists, both told me that the liver is known to be related to anger.

Anger gets a bad rap. It seems to be the villain of all emotions and it is often associated with violence, intensity, frustration, hate, feeling out of control, bad, negativity... It is an emotion that can certainly wreck internal physical damage, especially if it is bottled up. But our fear of anger, itself, is out of proportion. Anger is a normal emotion, we all experience anger. And it can actually be a very useful emotion, if given a chance.

Anger is a good indicator that something is not right, that something needs to shift or change. It is a protective emotion; we have all heard a new mother talk about their mama bear feelings of protection for their babies. In our wise minds, anger can be understood in this light, as a barometer, a check engine light, a tap on the shoulder.

When we are supported, healthy, and balanced, we can notice anger, experience it without reacting in ways that we will later regret, and search for the meaning behind it. When we are not feeling supported and balanced, anger can seize us, holding tight clenching deep, and build up. It is when we are not balanced that we try to ignore and push away anger. We push it down and it seeps out or makes our brains feel itchy with anxiety or mutes our spark causing hopelessness and despair.

So what can we do about anger? Well, first we need to take care of ourselves so that when we notice anger we can have the fortitude to accept it. We need to slow down and examine our fears about anger. When we are no longer afraid of it and trust that we will not do something rash, then we can be open to experiencing anger by feeling it and then work to find an honest understanding what it is trying to tell us. With this knowledge, we can let it go with a promise to shift or change something in our lives. Maybe this job is too demanding, maybe I need to connect with other parents, maybe I need to have a direct and open conversation with my partner, maybe I need to take care of my body.

Anger can also be a sign that something is not right physically. Perhaps a chemical imbalance, chronic pain, low or high blood sugar, or exhaustion. Anger impacts our hearts, and I now know that it originates in the liver. These two organs are closely tied, and are said to be the only organs that generate emotions. Kristen will be continuing this discussion about spring and the liver, so I will let her expound upon these concepts from here.

This is a post from Heart Stories by Mychelle Moritz, ATR-BC, LPC


Melissa said...

A beautiful reminder that our emotions need not be labeled "good" or "bad" and that we can accept the full range of feelings as normal! Thanks for the lovely post.

Nurture: Center for Growing Families said...

Thank you , Melissa!