The Liver, Diet & Attention

angry personOn the right side of our body just below our ribcage we have this large and amazing organ, a liver which has the job of filtering and purifying all that we put into our bodies. That it has to filter food and drink is no surprise, but not many people realize that, along with certain foods, how much we think, and being stressed, puts a strain on it too. There is a connection between our liver and our “attention”.  So when the liver is under strain the evidence we may see is:

  • That we have a “bad attention”.  Ever noticed that when you are stressed it’s often more difficult to focus and clear the head because our mind is working overtime?
  • That we feel irritable, hot headed, short tempered, always dissatisfied and grumpy, or just agitated and unable to relax.
  • That we just can’t stop overthinking everything in doing the thing over and over in our heads before doing it for real. This can be very unsettling and interfere with our general sense of calm and wellbeing, or meditating. Otherwise known as “worry”.

So by being kind to our liver we can reduce some of these negative effects, and help it do it’s job (produce glucose to fuel our thinking, as well as purify our system) more effectively. Drinking lots of water is good, as is taking to a more liver friendly diet.  Looking after the liver helps us to feel calm, joyful and meditate more deeply, which has a knock on effect in that it helps us handle life’s challenges in a more balanced way, thus mitigating future disasters as a result of making decisions under stress.  But even if we aren’t meditating that well every day, just being aware of how diet and stress impact our liver and our attention can help us improve our state of wellbeing more generally.

One way to cool the “attention” is to look at, or watch, nature, especially the sky and the trees. Just being one with the beauty of the moment helps us regain some perspective on things, and our overactive minds to cool down.

Click below (or here) for a list of foods that are heating (bad) or cooling (good) for the liver.


This guided meditation is very soothing, and demonstrates how to cool and support the liver during meditation, thus lessening the thoughts.

Here Katya Rubia from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, gives a short talk on the research that has been done to date covering the health benefits of Sahaja Yoga Meditation.