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5 Essential Oils for Anger Management

by Jodi Cohen

Anger can take many forms – from rage, to blame, frustration, hostility or irritation. And it seems to be exploding lately.  People seem much more quick to anger with much less provocation.

While your external world might seem unpredictable between the virus, the economy and political situation – all of which may feel outside of your control – you can take steps to control your physical, mental and emotional response.  Namely your own anger management.

In traditional Chinese medicine, anger is correlated with poor liver function. As you may know, your liver filters physical toxins in the blood coming from your digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. Your liver also detoxifies chemicals from everything you eat, inhale or absorb along with emotional toxins and feelings.

Any stagnation, congestion or compromise in the healthy function of your liver allows toxic chemicals to build up and accumulate in your body.  Frustration, rage, and anger tend to build up when toxins build up. Your liver shares a common bile duct with your gallbladder.  This bile ducts can get congested and clogged up which diminishes your liver’s ability to remove toxic substances from the body. The buildup of poisons can lead to changes in brain that impact your mood and your need for control.

Toxins in the Blood Contributes to Anger

When your body detoxifies, it eliminates toxins by moving them out of your cells, into your blood, through your liver, into your bile, which then carries toxins into the gut for elimination in your stool.  As long as toxins flow in the right direction, they can be eliminated.

If there is a block in detoxification pathways, like a clogged bile duct, the fluids carrying the toxins out of your body are not able to flow out of your liver into your intestines for elimination.  When detoxification pathways are blocked, toxins are forced to flow back into your bloodstream and either need to be eliminated through other detoxification pathways – your skin and your kidneys or linger in the blood.

When bile carrying toxins flows in the wrong direction into the blood, even in small amounts, it creates irritation, anger and frustration. So that is what when we refer to a bilious nature, a person who has overflowing bile.

Similarly, when liver or bile ducts are clogged, nutrients are not passed to the cells in the body in sufficient quantities, depriving your cells of nourishment.  When there is not enough glucose or oxygen or other nutrients made available to these cells, the cells become frustrated angry. This can further suppress and diminish some of the healthy function of the body.

 

The Energetic Connection between Anger and Your Liver

Energetically, your liver is responsible for maintaining harmony and the smooth movement of energy (known as chi) throughout the body, including the smooth transition between feelings and emotions as situations change around us. This liver energy supports your drive, planning, endurance, perseverance, quick, clear intellect, ambition, patience, and organizational abilities.

When your liver energy is balanced, you probably feel kind, benevolent, compassionate and generous.   When your liver is physically or energetically congested or stagnant, you might experience intense feelings of angry outbursts, irritability, resentment, frustration, rage, impatience, jealousy, or even depression.

You might also feel the need to control both yourself and others which might present an attachment to strong opinions, or being power-hungry or over-ambitious. Basically, you seek power so that nobody has power over you.  Control dynamics also play out as blame, shame and guilt.

Your liver energy works in conjunction with your gallbladder energy.  If gallbladder energy is stuck, it can back up into the liver causing energetic congestion which manifests as rage, anger or frustration.

 

Energetic Toxins

Most of your organs are connected to an emotion and your liver is the organ connected to anger. The health of your liver is actually fundamental to how you experience and react to emotions.

Your liver is a filter that processes, neutralizes and eliminates both physical and emotional toxins.  For example, intense feelings that we do not process or release, like intense unexpressed or repressed anger, fear or grief, can also build up in our system.  They are emotional toxins.

When physical toxins build up or continuously recycle because they are reabsorbed and not eliminated, the liver has less energy and vitality to process and release emotional toxins. At these times you may have a more difficult time controlling or letting go your angry feelings. Similarly, if you embark on a physical detoxification of the liver, it is common to experience the release of anger and rage as well.  When the liver has more bandwidth, it is able to process and release both toxic chemicals and toxic emotions that have accumulates in your body. Often the more toxins a person releases, the more stored emotion that is also released.

Stagnation, such as what we are seeing in the current environment where stores, gyms, travel and social interaction has been limited, set the stage for both physical and emotional toxins to build up can contribute to anger or rage.

Suppressing emotions might work for a short period of time.   But at a certain point, these repressed emotions begin to boil over in a way that we often cannot control them.   A good example is morning sickness.  Your body literally vomits out toxins so they do not get passed to the fetus.  The more you physically detoxify your body before pregnancy, the less likely you are to suffer from morning sickness.

When emotional toxins exceed your storage capacity, you may vomit them out onto other people.  This often happens during a woman’s menstrual cycle and can be expressed as anger, rage, moodiness, overwhelm or excessive feelings of agitation, often labeled premenstrual syndrome (PMS).   As you are releasing blood and allowing it to flow out of your body, unprocessed emotions often flow with it.

READ THIS NEXT: Essential Oils for Grounding

 

It Works Both Ways

Poor liver function can drive anger and rage.  AND anger causes the liver’s energy flow to be blocked which can contribute to toxic build up. As your liver begins to malfunction due to a prolonged state of anger, the entire body struggles to maintain its essential functions

When you live in anger and resentment, your liver produces an excessive amount of bile. Because this is something the organ would not produce in its natural state, the surplus bile causes acidity in the stomach; thus, we start experiencing headaches and an overall state of depletion and toxicity.

Anger and hostility also produce higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) – a substance produced by the liver in response to inflammation, lending credence to the hypothesis that anger diminishes liver health.

 

5 Essential Oils for Anger Management

Essential oils can be powerful tools to help support anger management. Your sense of smell links directly to the emotional control center of your brain known as amygdala, where emotional memories are stored.

Your sense of smell is the only one of your five senses that is directly links to this unconscious area of your brain, known as your limbic lobe, making the sense of smell and the tool of essential oils the most direct path to healing emotions like blame, shame and guilt.

Essential oils inhaled through the nasal passageways enable immediate access to the regions of the brain that house these intense emotions like anger and rage so we can integrate and release them. The word “emotion” can translate as “energy-in-motion.” Emotion is the experience of energy moving though our bodies. This emotional energy actually works at a higher speed than thought and essential oils can help us clear the energetic residue of blame so it doesn’t remain in our thought patterns, negatively impacting your energy field or your health.

The following essential oils for blame can be used to help you process through the toxic emotions of anger:

1. Liver Support™

Liver Support™  – Anger that we don’t process and release can get stored in your liver, according to Chinese medicine.  I believe anger can be the most intense and the most damaging of all the repressed emotions, because of its intensity.  The more we try to suppress it, the more it rears its ugly head in ways that can undermine our health, our growth and our personal relationships. Liver Support™ helps support the release of anger, including frequent irritation, impatience, resentment or frustration, being critical of yourself or others, control issues, an inability to express your feelings, feelings of not feeling heard, not feeling loved, not being recognized or appreciated.

Just place the bottle under your nose and breathe deeply, fully inhaling the oil for 3 – 7 breaths.  It helps you breathe into and work through the emotion.  You can also apply it around the ankles as this is often an area where we hold resistance to moving forward in life and block the ability to receive joy and pleasure.  Start at the back of the ankle and apply under the ankle bone around to the front and back under the other ankle bone, all while allowing yourself to release challenging emotions. For more tips on detoxify emotions, read this article.

2. Liver™

Physically cleaning and supporting your liver frees up bandwidth for your liver to release toxic emotions, like anger. Essential oils can be powerful agents to assist the body in ridding itself of toxins.  Specific blends can be used to enhance, accelerate and support your body and your organs, like your liver and other detoxification pathways. Supporting your detoxification pathways helps lessen the burden your liver and eliminates liver overload.

Liver™ helps support optimal health and vitality of the liver.  Formulated with oils that help stimulate, strengthen, and tone the liver, including German Chamomile, which stimulates bile secretions and supports liver detox, Ylang Ylang, which helps detoxify your nervous and digestive systems and Peppermint, which helps you detoxify through your respiratory and digestive systems. This is a great blend to support any kind of digestive repair effort that would release extra toxins (like yeast die off), a detox cleanse or for anyone who demonstrates liver stress symptoms like sensitivity to smells (smoke, perfume, etc.) and or chemicals or those who are easily intoxicated or hung over.

Apply Liver™ directly over the liver (right side beneath the breast) 2-3 times daily.  You can also combine Liver™ blend with castor oil – just add 3 drops of Liver™ to 1 tsp of castor oil and rub it over the liver before bed.  Castor oil is notoriously messy, so you can either: (1) cover it with a piece of flannel and plastic wrap and apply heat from a hot water bottle (avoid the electricity of heating pads) for 20-30 minutes,  (2) wear a ratty t-shirt and let your body eat work it’s magic (3) climb into an Epsom salt bath with the castor oil and Liver™ oil and benefit from layering 3 healing strategies at the same time.  Learn more about detoxifying your liver here.

3.  Gall Bladder™

Your liver works in conjunction with your gallbladder, so supporting the health of your gallbladder and the healthy flow of bile can help support the release of anger and rage.

Your gallbladder is responsible for storing, releasing, and concentrating bile.  Your liver eliminates toxins and their metabolites into the bile, and out of the body via the stool.   If bile becomes too viscous and is not properly flowing, toxins are not eliminated from the body and often get reabsorbed. This can be caused by a very low fat diet, too much toxicity in the body, estrogen dominance, or chronic stress.

The gallbladder is also another organ that holds onto negative emotions like resentment, anger, bitterness, and hate.  Some indicators that the Gall Bladder blend might be a helpful blend for you would be motion sickness, floating stools, avoiding fatty food like meat or if you do eating fatty food, needing to use the restroom shortly after, pain between shoulder blades, subtle headache above eyes.  For more ways to support the gall bladder, read this article.

To support the optimal flow of bile and allow toxins to flow out of the body, apply 2-3 drops of Gall Bladder™ underneath the ribs at the gall bladder (right side, underneath the ribs.  If you lean forward, it is easier to apply under the ribs).

4.  Parasympathetic™

Anger is perceived by as a threat to safety by your brain, which triggers your vagus nerve to activate your nervous system’s “fight-or-flight” survival response.  Ideally, the danger is short lived and your vagus nerve then signals your body to shift back into your parasympathetic “rest, digest and recover” state of your nervous system so you can feel safe and calm.

Unfortunately, when angry feelings don’t have a definitive ending — such as anger at the dynamics unfolding on the planet right now – you can stay stuck in the “fight or flight” state.  In order for the body to detoxify and heal, it needs to be in the rest and digest parasympathetic state.  You literally cannot detoxify when you are under stress. Fortunately, you can activate your vagus nerve with essential oils to reset your “rest and digest” state amidst the chronic stress.

Essential oils are natural, non-invasive, easy tools to use to activate your vagus nerve.  They possess both olfactory (smell) and transdermal (topical application) qualities, making them easy to inhale and apply on the skin to activate your vagus nerve.

Research backs this up as inhaling essential oils such as lavender or bergamot has been shown to activate your vagus nerve as measured by improved heart rate variability. Inhaled essential oils travel directly to your brain (specifically to the prefrontal cortex behind your forehead) where they can immediately help calm the fear response in your brain.  In addition, topically applied essential oils can cross the blood-brain barrier to stimulate your vagus nerve within the brain.

Apply the Parasympathetic™ blend behind your earlobe on your mastoid bone to help calm your nervous system.

Parasympathetic™ blend also helps you support Glutathione Levels. Your liver’s ability to transform toxic molecules into less toxic ones, and then help your body excrete them, depends many enzymes and molecules, including glutathione. Research also shows that the limonene found in citrus essential oils, like Lime in the Parasympathetic blend, can stimulate the production of glutathione.  Unfortunately, most nutritional supplements of glutathione are not absorbed well and do not raise glutathione levels within the cells, so Lime oil’s ability to help stimulate the production of glutathione inside the cells contributes to the Parasympathetic™ blend’s ability to prevent or reduce systemic inflammation in the gut and the brain.

READ THIS NEXT: Stimulate your Vagus Nerve

5. Heart™

A powerful strategy for shifting OUT OF anger is shifting INTO gratitude or forgiveness.   Early in my nutrition career, I was taught to “crowd out” processed food, but upping my intake of healthy foods like vegetables.  In the same vein, I believe you can crowd out negative emotions, by replacing them with positive emotions.

Heart™ helps amplify feelings of self-love and gratitude, helping to balance and crowd out feelings of anger. Every moment of our life you have the opportunity to see the glass as half empty or half full. How you envision each moment helps paint a picture of our actual experience, so why not choose to be happy, to think of and move toward things that bring you joy.

Essential oils that amplify feelings of love and gratitude can help you pivot out of the intensity of any negative emotion and act as an instant reset.  Apply 2-3 drops of Heart™ directly over the heart (left side of chest) 2-3 times daily. During times of intense anger, use as often as is needed (every 20 -30 minutes).  Read More about Essential Oils for Gratitude HERE  and Essential Oils for Forgiveness HERE and HERE.

It is strongly recommended that essential oils be paired with high quality, organic fruits and vegetables, liver supporting supplements like milk thistle and dandelion root and binders like chlorella or charcoal for optimal effectiveness. Read More about Binders.

 

Resources:

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About The Author

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.

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