In particular the liver is adversely affected by long term frustration and/or anger. These can impede the liver’s function of maintaining the free flow of Qi, a word which is impossible to translate into English, but which is a lot to do with flow, with smooth movement. The liver helps maintain this smooth movement, and frustration or anger can impede this, resulting in, for example, a disruption to the smooth functioning of our intestines so we might alternate between constipation and loose stools, or to a disruption to our moods so that we sway between being irritable one moment and apathetic the next. In fact any health problem which involves this kind of swinging back and forth between one extreme and the other will suggest to a Traditional Chinese medical practitioner like me that the liver is not doing its job so well, and perhaps this is because of frustration or on-going anger. (There is nothing wrong with anger per se, but it becomes a problem when it is arising in situations where it is not appropriate, as when we fly off the handle at the slightest provocation; or when it is a constant background presence, all the more damaging if unacknowledged.)
Of course there is a vicious circle arising here if we are not careful; the liver’s ability to promote smooth flow is impaired by frustration and anger, but that impairment leads to more frustration and anger! That is why we and our liver sometimes need a bit of help, for instance from acupuncture, which is good at supporting the liver and promoting the smooth flow of Qi. This not only defuses our anger and frustration, but gives us the space and freedom to start to think about things we might be able to do to calm that anger or ease that frustration.