Feeling angry over something is normal. Psychologists even suggest expressing your anger to prevent pent up emotions from hurting your system. As long as you express your anger in a healthy manner, this emotion won’t hurt you nor others.
However, anger can impact your life negatively when it becomes chronic. When you always fly into a rage, you will be at a greater risk for the following serious health problems:
● Heart attack
Clinical psychiatry instructor Chris Aiken reported that your risk for heart attack doubles within two hours after an angry outburst. Repressed anger is way more damaging to your heart. When you repress your anger with the intention to control it, it will act as a poison to your system. This increases your chance of having coronary disease. One study showed that people who were always angry were twice as likely to have coronary problems compared to their less angry counterparts.
If anger is bad news for the heart, it’s more even deadly for your risk of stroke, which triples within two hours after lashing out. This intense emotion may cause some blood clots or bleeding to the brain, leading to a stroke. Without your awareness, your heart rate and blood flow will increase at a much rapid rate. Unhealthy anger is even more dangerous to people with aneurysm, whose risk for rupture of this aneurysm increases up to six times.
● Lung problems
Smoke is not the only thing that could bring harm to your lungs. Hostility has also the power to create damage to these organs. A Harvard University study revealed that people who are prone to anger have the worst lung capacity and have an increased risk of respiratory problems. According to the researchers, the stress hormones associated with angry feelings can cause inflammation in the airways.
Note that anxiety is linked with feelings of anger and worry. Feeling anxious at times is normal when there’s a reason to be feeling this way. But when this emotion starts to interfere with your daily affairs, you might be diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder or GAD. This issue will exacerbate when you’re always angry. The more you express intense anger, the more you suffer from GAD symptoms.
● Weak immune system
Ever noticed that angry people often get sick? This is because the feelings of anger can hurt the immune system. Even a simple recall of your anger-provoking experience can cause a drop in your immunoglobulin A levels, an antibody that works in the frontlines to fight off infection.
Anger increases your risk of depression. Men who were unable to express their anger and instead chose to ruminate about it without taking action were found to be depressed, according to Aiken. Just because you’re not expressing your anger you think you’re in control, you’re wrong. Feelings of anger should be acknowledged without having to resort to violence, otherwise, your feelings of aggression that are bottled up within can kill you from the inside out.
● Shorter life span
Happiness is linked to longevity. In the same manner, anger and stress are linked to a shorter life span. This has been backed up by 17 years of study by the University of Michigan, which found that holding on to anger caused couples to have a shorter life span than the ones who were able to express their anger constructively.
There’s nothing wrong with becoming angry. The difference lies in how you manage your anger in such a way that it will cause less harm and damage. If you’re prone to anger, before freaking out about the risks associated with aggression and hostility, know that there’s a way out. You still can become healthy by managing your anger issues in the right way. The following tips may help:
Be aware that you’re angry
Just by knowing that you’re angry separates you from the feeling itself. This allows you to think whether your anger is logical or not. At times, past experience or trauma can make you react to situations sharply even when the situation is manageable. These are the situations where you create mountains out of molehills.
When this happens, experts say you’re probably in a self-defense mechanism called displacement. You find yourself involved in road rage when your real problem is being unable to move on from the conflict between yourself and your boss. But when you’re able to identify the source of your anger, you can approach the situation in a much less stressful manner.
Take a break
Get yourself out of the environment to calm yourself down. If you feel there’s no point arguing with your spouse or partner, walk away. Find a space where you can ease up and calm your nerves. The physical distance allows you to think clearly and not focus on your angry feelings.
Sweat it out
Get physical. Do something that can help you release pent-up emotions. You can take a jog, run, brisk walk, or bike. Pull the weeds out of your garden or clean the garage and backyard. The process of burning off that extra muscle tension relaxes your nerves and reduces your physical and emotional stress.
Take deep breaths
Doing relaxation exercises also helps your body to slow down and ease up. Taking deep, slow, and long breaths also clear your thinking and release anger naturally. Focus on your breath, on the slow inhales and exhales, then notice how your thinking shifts from anger to calm.
Use the power of art
The best art is one that speaks of intense emotion. Since anger is a powerful emotion, take advantage of the situation and use anger as your inspiration to make use of your art. Try to create song lyrics or dance steps. You can also paint, write or do anything that allows you to express your anger creatively.
Angry feelings can take a toll on your muscles and make you feel tense and rigid. To avoid keeping the tension in your muscles, try the progressive relaxation technique. Start tensing the muscle group at the top of your head down to your face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, chest, stomach and all the way to your toes. This helps you feel better.
Talk it out
Another effective way to release pent up emotions is by talking it out to another person. They could be your best friend, family member, spouse or anyone you trust. Talk about your anger not to get sympathy or win an ally but to help you release your anger and process your emotions. Make sure that this person is also able to help you see the bigger picture including the rationale behind your anger.
If you’re always angry even for a slight provocation and the above things no longer work, you might need professional help. This happens when you resort to harming yourself or others, you can’t pacify yourself or accept the situation, and your relationships are already affected. Don’t hesitate to seek help to save your relationships and yourself from the looming dangers of uncontrolled anger.