If you are prone to regular bouts of anger, it can have serious repercussions for you health-wise. This post is going to look at some ways that anger can negatively affect your health and well-being, reasons that may make you think again next time you jump to anger as your first response.
Numerous studies have shown that having a lot of anger can really increase your risk of heart attack. A study at Harvard medical school found that angry men were 3 times as likely to suffer from a heart or blood vessel disease than those with calmer dispositions. Dr Chris Aiken, a doctor and instructor in clinical psychiatry says that in the two hours after having an angry outburst, the individual's chance of having a heart attack doubles.
What a damaging effect on your cardiac system! It makes sense though, because anger is such a strong emotion that arouses the nervous system and produces effects throughout the body. Repressed anger - when you try to hold it in and control it within you, has negative effects - it is associated with heart disease.
But venting your anger out is no better. Many think that 'expressing' your anger is a better option than allowing it to build up. However, your anger won't disappear just because you release it and start yelling. Anger takes a while to dissipate and expressing your anger will usually just increase its intensity.
A better option to venting your anger is to deal with the issue with a viewpoint that is based on problem-solving. This means speaking directly to the person you are angry with and trying to resolve the issue reasonably and peacefully.
Anger often obliterates the capacity for clear thinking. You are so focused on the how bad you feel that you can hardly reflect on the situation at hand. Anger can also greatly impair your judgement, and is not good for your mental health. When a person is angry, they are more likely to act harshly without giving proper thought to the consequences that may result. Most of us see the value in having our thinking capacities in tact, and that alone is a good reason to keep anger far away.
Because anger lowers your ability to analyse the situation, you are likely to act with prejudice towards other people in the room. Your reaction is emotional rather than rational and you blame others and take out your feelings on them. We often do things we later regret, during a moment of anger.
Many studies have linked aggression and angry outbursts with depression. Those with depression tend to express passive anger, feeling very bitter and hostile but not taking specific action about it. Dr Aiken, mentioned earlier, offers good advice for those who struggle with a mixture of anger and depression. Aiken says that they should endeavour to be busy and stop thinking so much about the angry situation.
When you think deeply and extensively about a circumstance that hurts you, who tend to allow anger and resentment to grow and develop. It's better to let the issue go and move on to another activity. By doing this, you leave no room from the anger to stir up inside you.
When you are angry, you become stressed and this can result in tension in your neck and scalp muscles. We tend to describe frustrating situations as 'such a headache', and the truth is when you are angry and tensed up it can actually bring on a headache. You can deal with this by breathing deeply and slowly. This will relax your head and neck muscles, to help you calm down.
Here's an important reason to keep anger away: it can shorten your life span. This is not surprising because anger and stress are generally linked to many health issues. Prolonged anger can lead to problems such as high blood pressure, debilitating strokes, and as we mentioned, heart disease. Imagine being so angry that you end up shortening your life span by impacting your health in the above ways!
Another key reason to keep anger away is because of the effect it can have on the ones you love. We must not neglect this side of the anger issue. After all when we are angry, we tend to direct it externally, to the people around us. Think about how your family and friends feel when you snap at them even when they are not to blame. When you are angry, you lash out at others and likely say hurtful things that you later wish you could take back. Words that the people involved may remember for a long time to come.
In short, there are many reasons to keep anger away. The benefits of learning to manage anger are numerous and result in benefits, both to yourself and others. For more ways to deal with anger, read these articles about controlling your own anger and communicating with angry people in an effective and clever way.
Thanks for reading!
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