Four years ago, I discovered through blood testing that my liver was inflamed and irritated. As someone who makes every effort to avoid chemicals in foods, cleaning products, and the environment, I was confused. The doctors I saw at that time were confused as well; no one could figure out what was wrong with me.
This forced me to take a closer look at my life and consider other ways I might be allowing toxins into my body. I discovered that the toxins weren’t coming from the food I was eating or the products I was using. They were coming from my emotions. Specifically, the anger and resentment I was feeling around a very difficult divorce. It wasn’t until I made an effort to process these emotions, learn to forgive myself, accept the situation, and be grateful for the lessons learned, that my liver enzyme levels returned to normal.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I think it’s important for you to know that I’m human. I experience many of the same emotions and challenges that you experience. I also think it’s important for you to know that your emotions affect your physiology. They can shift the balance of your hormones, create inflammation, and affect your liver’s ability to remove chemicals and toxins from your body.
Toxins don’t just come from what you eat, breathe, clean with, and put on your skin. Toxins also come from experiences, beliefs, and relationships.
Everything you experience is felt by your body. Your emotions begin as sensations that are later processed and given meaning by the brain. Sweaty palms, for example, may be interpreted as nervousness, an increase in body temperature may be indicative of anger, and an increased heart rate could be interpreted as fear. These are physiological responses to an experience. As such, they have the ability to affect the internal environment of your body just as any toxin would, especially when we experience emotions like anger, frustration, and resentment.
According to Chinese medicine, these emotions are processed in the liver; it holds the energy needed to process and digest anger, resentment, irritability, and frustration. If these emotions are not felt and dealt with, they can overload the liver, making the natural detoxification process less efficient.
This is true for toxic thoughts as well. The negative thoughts that you have about yourself and your body also affect your physiology. Thinking you’re not good enough, or hearing negative things about yourself, creates toxic energy that can affect your liver and overall well-being if they are not managed, processed, and digested.
Your body cannot thrive in an environment where there is an absence of feelings of kindness, love, compassion, and gratitude. Make an effort to cultivate these feelings for yourself and surround yourself with people who have these qualities.
Also, if there are people in your life, past or present, that you are feeling anger or resentment toward, make an effort to forgive them. It can feel challenging, but it’s important to remember that forgiveness is not about the other person, it’s about you. It gives you the opportunity to release toxic energy from your body so it’s no longer affecting you physically, mentally, or emotionally. It also makes it possible for your liver to function efficiently, and for you to truly be well.
In the spirit of optimum liver function and detoxification, here are some steps you can take to recognize and partake inventory of any emotions that may be negatively affecting your body and find ways to process those emotions, instead of allowing them to fester and affect your health:
- Start by identifying the any strong emotions you may be feeling.
- Once you’ve identified the emotion, scan your body from head to toe, notice whether there are any sensations present in your body that are associated with the emotion that you’re feeling.
- Try your best not to judge or become attached to the emotion. Instead, place your hand wherever the sensation is present and give the emotion a voice. You can do this by saying things like, “I feel anger here,” or “I feel hurt here.”
- Notice how this feels in your body and write down any thoughts or insights that arise.
- If you need to breathe, make a sound, or move your body to help you to release the sensation or emotion that you’re feeling, give yourself permission to do so.
Remember, there are no bad or wrong emotions. Give yourself permission to feel, and celebrate when you are able to release those feelings. With release comes growth and good health.