How chronic anger harms your health

One of the most primitive emotions we can experience is anger. From early childhood, each one of us has felt angry at times for various reasons – betrayal by a loved one, a driver cutting in front of you, or feeling shortchanged. If anger is expressed infrequently and in a constructive, healthy manner it can be helpful.  However, anger you may be holding within or if you commonly explode in a rage when ticked off can be more harmful to your health than you realize. If losing your temper is a frequent occurrence, here are several reasons why gaining more control and practicing staying calm can literally save your life;

  • Anger places your heart at risk

Frequent angry outbursts affect heart health the most. But if you tend to internalize angry without expressing it, this also raises heart disease risk. People with a personality trait who are prone to feeling angry are at twice the risk of coronary heart disease than individuals who are more happy-go-lucky.

Instead of controlling your anger, speak up and address your feelings with the person you are frustrated with. Feeling angry is a normal emotion but to bottle it up without releasing it, is detrimental to heart health. Be kind to your heart by learning ways to express your feelings in a diplomatic manner.

  • Anger also increase the risk of stroke

If you’re prone to angry outbursts, think twice before you do. Individuals who lash out have been shown to be at a higher risk of having a stroke.  To help you avoid anger boiling over, identify your triggers and then figure out how to change your response. Do deep breathing, go on a walk, practice assertive communication skills, or leave the situation. Deescalate the anger brewing inside to calm yourself down.

  • Anger can weaken your immune system

An angry attitude can result in you getting sick more often. Studies have shown that just the simple act of remembering an event that made you angry can result in a six-hour reduction in immunoglobulin A, an antibody that is your cells’ first line of defense in protecting you from infection.

Supporting good immune functioning is vital to your health and well-being. Begin by developing better coping strategies such as assertive communication, effective problem solving, using humor, or learning news of thinking of coping with difficult situations.

  • Anger results in increased anxiety

Do you ever worry and feel angry too? These two emotions tend to go hand-in-hand.  When you internalize anger without expressing it, it can increase symptoms of a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).  Studies have shown that individuals with GAD have a greater risk of excessive and uncontrollable worry that can consume and overtake their day-to-day life.

  • Anger can lead to depression

For men dealing with anger issues, there is a greater link to depression. If anger is consuming your life, likely you will also feel depressed. The trick is to get involved in staying busy with activities you enjoy.  Anything that can take your mind off a situation making you feel angry is a good way to focus on the present and what you can do instead of ruminating on things you may not be able to change.

  • Anger is harmful to your lungs

Feelings of hostility can lead to an increased risk of respiratory issues involving healthy lung functioning. A Harvard University study found men who were frequently angry had significantly worse lung capacity, believed to be due to an increase in stress hormones associated with anger that cause inflammation in the airways.

  • Anger reduces your life span

People who are stressed out and angry tend to have a shorter life span when compared to those who lead happier lives. It’s okay to say when you are mad about something when the anger is expressed effectively.  Learning to express anger in appropriate ways is a healthy way to release it.  You’ll feel more freed of repressed anger and empowered stating your true feelings instead of keeping a lid on them. This can lead to feeling more at peace and happier about yourself and life without the heavy burden of anger.

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