Have you ever taken the time to distinguish the difference between anger and a temper? It is both normal and healthy to react to a negative circumstance with a flush of emotion. Even if that emotion happens to be anger, it is still considered to be a healthy expression of our sentiments. A temper seems to differ not with the type of emotion expressed, but more so with its triggers and intensity. People who flip out over lines at Starbucks or stolen parking spaces seem so momentarily completely consumed with anguish that they can barely hold it together. I once witnessed a guy threaten the down fall of a Chinese restaurant because his take-out time was misquoted. He assured all the gawkers that after years of loyalty, this slip up was worth his wrath.
These public outbursts plague society (and disproportionately those in the service industry), but they also rear their heads in intimate settings like relationships and the dating scene. Many people even say they would not have the patience for kids or even marriage because of how little tolerance they have for basic human interactions (understandably, the interactions would be 24/7 in those circumstances), and definitely those on the receiving end are not so happy with it either.
When observing a situation where one person is angry, we might be inclined to see both sides of the story. Cheated on him? His anger is justified. Keyed her car? Her anger is justified. Forgot to add the lemon wedge to your glass of water in a restaurant? Maybe not so much. While I understand that both types of people are experiencing waves of emotions that are difficult to control in the moment, it cannot always be true that the second party is always responsible for the explosive reaction coming from an irrationally hot-tempered person.
I believe those with short tempers should and can take steps to manage their rage. In order to understand the root of a temper, one first has to understand the body.
How does my liver control my temper?
The liver does over 500 functions for our bodies and takes up to 20% of our energy to do so. I will not get into the laundry list of miracle-working processes our liver performs. Instead I will highlight the two biggest ways it is connected to our tempers.
1) It metabolizes estrogen to prevent PMS for us females.
2) It prevents dips in our blood sugar in various ways from glucose production to GST for insulin management. The lows of which usually result in irritability for us all.
Seems simple enough, but in order to do these two (out of 500+) things well, our liver has to be in tip-top shape. It is really hard to be sure where you and your liver stand if you do not know what to look for, but once you learn about the aftermath of a dysfunctional liver the signs are everywhere.
Signs of an Overworked Liver
Most people assume liver damage happens only at destitute stages when words like “cancer”, “cirrhosis”, and “liver disease” are spoken in doctors’ offices. Although many people do suffer from these sometimes fatal stages, the majority of us will not. That is not to say that your liver is healthy as along as it is far from the operating table. Even just a subpar liver causes us to suffer when it cannot perform its basic tasks. Below are some of the very first signs that your liver is crying out to you:
- Chronic fatigue
- Tired after meals
- Mood instability
- Irrational anger
- Quick temper
How are you Hurting Your Liver?
What is the number one way we overwork our liver? Drinking! – is what I guess most of you are thinking, but you are wrong. There are a million different ways that we mindlessly tired that non-stop organ out every day before we even get to the bar. So let us look at the not so obvious ways we are stressing our liver out.
By eating pesticides – Those are the chemicals we sprinkle on to food to keep the mutated super bugs that followed at bay. Unfortunately, washing your apple “extra good” or even peeling the skin will not save you from ingesting the chemicals as they are now (as of the last 50 or so years) systemically within our produce. So unless you are eating organic at home and never eat out at places that are not 100% organic, chances are your liver has to work to break down your “healthy” salad.
By eating ammonia – I know you do not drink your window cleaner, but ever had a steak or a burger or a premium slice of prosciutto? Well, then you come pretty close to it. Most associate the ammonia in meat with pink slime, or cattle raised in compromising environments (they use ammonia to flush out the growth of E.coli that grows as a result of departing from their natural feed), or even cured meats that are literally sprayed with nitrates (to keep things pretty and pink!) and ammonia during the aging process. Ammonia is actually the result of normal digestion of meat, any meat, even if your meat is organic. So if you are eating meat (especially beef or pork) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner you are most likely overworking your liver.
The “Pill” – Birth-control pills flood our bodies with extra estrogen. If your liver is not busy detoxifying your lunch, and you do not happen to be low on any of the B vitamins (yes, there is more than one) or protein you need, then maybe your liver can handle this extra load. If not, then the tired liver starts to filter it out the estrogen to be recirculated as estradiol a toxin, rather than estriol which is not. Estradiol is associated with explosive tempers and irritability that can easily be found under the umbrella of PMS.
Smoking – But wait! I smoke to calm down and reset to prevent a blow out! Maybe the slow, deep breathing action associated with smoking is equivalent to taking a 10-count of deep breaths before you snap on a colleague, but the difference between that and the latter is you are sucking in toxins. All those toxins get into your bloodstream via the lungs and end up in line behind the aforementioned offenders to be filtered. Smokers, you may be shooting yourselves in the foot here.
How to Support your Liver and In Turn Be Welcomed Back into Society
So now that you have been beaten glum by the realization that you are the cause of your own explosive temper, I will tell you what you can do about it – besides get angry.
Eat this: lean meats like chicken and turkey or fish, which produce ammonia much slower than their red counterparts. If it is organic (no need to process antibiotics) that is even better. It would help to if you did this in moderation, too.
Take this: Digestive bitters (without alcohol). They flush out the liver every time you take them. They aid with the digestion of the aforementioned foods, but in order for them to work, you need to drink plenty of water.
Protect with this: Milk Thistle has a flavonoid called Silymarin. When extracted (at least 80%) it is an excellent for cleansing and protecting the liver and even reversing the negative effects already taken place. Up to 560mg per day for about 2 week is recommended to those who suffer from serious liver complications, you could probably take much less.
Drink this: Lemon water; one half to a whole lemon in 8 oz. of water to be exact. In the morning, at lunch, after a workout, at night, anytime really is a good time to have some of this detoxifying goodness. Just do not bite your server’s head off if they forget it the first time.
There are more drastic and difficult things you can do like lifestyle changes and detox programs to salvage your liver, but I know no one with a temper has the patience for that. Start with the little things, and once you stop seeing red, we can talk.
Originally written by me, but here at Love Kouture