As human beings, we all get angry. It is an unavoidable consequence of being human. Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. But did you know that intense anger can be detrimental to your health? Like other emotions, anger is accompanied by physiological and biological changes. Consequently, anger could be having an adverse effect on your health, without you even being aware of it.
There are several health conditions linked to anger. Intense or frequent anger can put your heart at risk. Researchers have found that your chances of a heart attack doubles two hours after an angry outburst. Anger can also increase your risk of a stroke. One study found that there was a three times greater risk of having a blood clot to the brain two hours after an angry outburst. Anger can weaken the immune system, cause gastrointestinal problems, and has been linked to depression and anxiety. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 85% of all diseases have a link to one’s emotional state.
If you are someone who has a hard time expressing your anger in appropriate ways, the following steps, if practiced, can assist you in letting go of anger and to a healthier life:
- Become aware of your feelings (including your anger) and your behavior.
- Take responsibility for your emotions and your responses.
- Foster a positive vs a negative attitude.
- Develop resources and a support system.
- Practice self-care behaviors.
- Develop positive self-esteem.
- Develop alternative responses to counter old angry responses.
- Rehearse these new responses.
- Use “I” vs “You” statements.
- Have a plan for when you become angry.