Live(R) Your Best Life
by Annia Baron
Can you relate to this? After a busy period of go-go-go, you finally have the chance to rest, be it at home or away on holiday but as soon as you’re able to switch off and relax, you feel it coming on – scratchy throat, a subtle headache, and a noticeably flat mood. “Oh great,” you grunt to yourself, “I’m getting sick.”
The immune system plays a significant role in our wellbeing. But certain other organs are incredibly powerful in terms of how we fight off physical and psychological conditions.
“Hello liver, nice to meet you.”
Most of us know that the liver processes fats, stores sugars, and filters our blood. But unless there’s a medical problem or we hear about a celebrity contracting some kind of liver disease, we don’t really think much about the liver. After all, high school biology never went beyond the basics of liver anatomy, so we’ve missed out on the intelligence and sheer magnificence of this organ. Moreover, we may not realise just how important the liver is in terms of our mood, vitality, and general self-confidence.
Your liver is like a third brain (it’s said that our second one is the enteric nervous system that regulates our gut). Just as the brain can adapt its abilities in certain circumstances (i.e., neuroplasticity), our liver can do the same. In fact, it’s said our liver is the only organ that is truly adaptogenic because no matter what thoughts you have or emotional challenges you’re going through, if taken care of, your liver will acclimatise to every situation presented, and do all the hard work behind the scenes with only one agenda – to defend and to serve you. For example, if you breathe in cigarette smoke, your liver will absorb the chemicals from your bloodstream so that your heart doesn’t asphyxiate from poisonous substances. If you overindulge in a greasy burger, your liver will break down trans fatty acids to protect your pancreas and prevent you from developing diabetes. The liver never rests, engaging in over 2000 responsibilities 24/7. It cleanses and detoxifies. It disarms and detains bacteria, viruses, toxins, pollutants, and excess adrenaline, to name a few. Your liver is the ultimate warrior, fearless and brave, ready to fight for you until the end.
Sluggish liver = lower psychological vibrancy
A healthy liver is critical to enable the seamless work it carries out. However, because we didn’t learn about our liver from a young age, decades of being overworked and underappreciated means this selfless organ begins losing its efficiency to identify, absorb, catalogue, and deliver critical biochemical compounds to where they’re needed. When our powerhouse of protection and purification is overburdened, our ability to regulate emotions, shift negative thought patterns, and make life-enhancing decisions also suffers. The growing body of research is finding links between affective disorders such as anxiety and depression with liver disease (Shea, et al 2021) and meta-analyses show links between liver dysfunction and psychological distress (e.g., Russ, et al 2015).
An appreciated liver = Your best self
What if we started to see our livers as close companions? What if we celebrated them more often? And just like the pleasure we experience from witnessing our loved ones happy, we could begin to see that it’s an honour to care for our livers. Perhaps we could relax into the wisdom of knowing that symptoms of illness are not the body’s way of punishing you (or robbing you of opportunities to enjoy your holiday!), but they are invitations to offer our liver a helping hand. This doesn’t mean having to make major lifestyle changes or miss out on what you like to do. Simply talking to your liver can be a great start. See what it feels like when you place an open palm on your liver (located on the right-hand side of your upper abdominal cavity, beneath the lower part of your rib cage) and say, “Hello liver. Thanks for being so awesome.” Think of your liver as more than just an organ. See your liver like a dear friend who wants nothing more than to see you shine.
Give your liver a little more love and empower yourself to live(r) your best life.
Annia Baron is a mum, a Clinical Psychologist and Mindset Coach. Want to learn more about mindset tools to create a life you desire and deserve? Get in touch on Instagram @anniabaron or visit www.remindyourself.com.
Did you know the liver of birds contains 10,000 lobules. Within them are star-shaped Kupffer cells, which ingest damaged red and white blood cells. A type of lipoprotein called vitellogenin is synthesised
in the liver of laying birds and under the influence of oestrogen, is exported to the ovaries where it contributes to the formation of egg yolk.