Most of us have dealt with irritability by this point of quarantine. Staying indoors can create a sense of ‘feeling stuck.’ But in general life, we can sometimes find ourselves in this space too. We are dynamic individuals, and if you are like me, you like to be on the move.

In Chinese medicine, Liver Qi aids the movement of Qi (energy, vital force) through the body and the flow of blood. Liver Qi can be slowed down or blocked by stress and certain foods. The liver likes to move forward in life and frustration can arise when this movement is halted. The liver is greatly affected by stuffed emotions. When we feel stuck in these ways, a condition can form called Liver Qi Stagnation.

A few things that can also provoke Liver Qi Stagnation:

  • Not exercising
  • No creative outlet
  • Excessive work

Liver Qi Stagnation symptoms:

  • Upper abdominal distention
  • A sense of constriction in the chest
  • Sighing often
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Feeling wired
  • Digestive signs: nausea, stomach churning, sensing a lump in the throat, constipation, diarrhea
  • PMS – The liver is a hormone processor. If it is not flowing well, the premenstrual and menstrual phases can be more symptomatic

How to reduce Liver Qi:

  • Avoid eating big meals or overeating, as this will make the energy more stuck
  • Avoid hard to digest foods, which can vary person to person, but can include meat, dairy, nuts, corn, and processed foods
  • Reduce caffeine and white sugar
  • Creative outlets
  • Brisk exercise
  • Breathing exercises
  • Talking to someone about what is going on and how you feel
  • Focus on what you are grateful for

Liver Qi Stagnation may accompany an individual that eats when they are stressed, so the first above bullet point may be difficult to do, but it is worth putting forth the effort. Liver Qi Stagnation is a condition associated with heat, so it can be helpful to focus on foods that are cooling and soothing, such as cucumber, celery, and mung beans. Bitter and sour foods also benefit the liver, such as lemons and dandelion greens. Pungent foods and pungent spices benefit the liver as well, such as watercress, onions, cardamom, and cumin.

What I have also found helpful is to recognize what you are getting accomplished each day. Even though you may not move as fast as you’d like, as long as you are putting forth effort towards your goals, you are moving. Try to focus more on being action-oriented versus all the way emotionally-oriented. Emotions matter, but do not let them overpower your movement.

There are many herbs, nutrients, and homeopathic remedies that also help to support and clear the liver. Irritability is usually only a piece of someone’s story. As I work with clients to help them heal their bodies, irritability and other negative moods reduce.

If you have found this information helpful, please share this post with three people you know who are interested in finding relief from digestive symptoms and hormone imbalances.

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