Did you notice how the word ‘Danger’ has the word ‘anger’ in it? It’s not a coincidence. Anger puts your health and life in danger and on the line, literally.

Anger has been shown to shorten lifespan, reduce the quality of life, and cause many health problems. Not to mention the mental and societal issues that stem as a result of uncontrolled negative emotion.

Anger is a human emotion we all experience from time to time. Being angry can sometimes help us. It makes us stand up for ourselves and say, “enough is enough.” But too much anger can inflict harm on us and those around us.

You may be angry about what is going on in the world, the workplace, or at home. Or sometimes you may be having a bad day. It is normal to be angry. But it’s important to know that too much anger, especially over a long time, can have negative consequences.

In this article, we’ll look at the dangers of anger and conclude with a few tips for managing anger.

Permanent consequences

Anger starts with a small spark that triggers the amygdala, which turns on the hypothalamus that releases corticotropin hormone. The pituitary gland activates the adrenal glands, which release adrenocorticotropic hormone. Then the adrenal glands secrete the hormones (like cortisol and adrenaline). (1)

These hormones cause an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels. They also decrease blood flow and metabolism in the digestive system. (1)

Anger contributes to coronary heart disease since it places a heavy burden on the heart. (2) Additionally, it is also associated with developing type 2 diabetes. It can come from poor lifestyle habits linked with anger such as alcohol, smoking, high caffeine doses, and low metabolism, leading to obesity. Or diabetes may be the end product due to the increase in the body’s inflammatory response. (2)

Also, anger has a profound effect on post-surgical recovery. A study found that this emotion slows down wound healing and recovery. Participants who were angrier had higher cortisol levels, which meant a longer healing time. (3)

Likewise, anger harms the immune system as it decreases thyroid function. It may also cause a stroke or heart attack shortly after the outburst, according to Harvard Research.

Anger often comes about as a result of emotional suppression for a period of time. The suppression itself is risky as a 12-year study found that participants experienced earlier death, especially death from cancer. (4) In short, negative emotion like this shortens your lifespan. That’s why it’s essential to have healthy discussions and find common ground, whether it’s with your family, at school, or at work.

Don’t suppress your anger. Manage it.

The first step for managing anger is self-awareness. Before those few sparks of anger hit, pause for a second and take some deep breaths. Act from a rational perspective and find what’s causing it and ask yourself if it’s worth your health.

Try to develop better anger management habits such as physical exercises, yoga, meditation, and respectful talking. Consider spending time outside in nature while listening to your favorite jams. Understand that problems will always exist. How you control your reaction to them is up to you and down to your health.

Your long term health and peace of mind is more important than a temporary emotion. Always remember the following quote the next time you feel an anger episode on the horizon…

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

References

(1). CE/CMEs, E. et al. (2017) How Anger Affects the Brain and Body [Infographic] – NICABM, NICABM. Available at: https://www.nicabm.com/how-anger-affects-the-brain-and-body-infographic/ (Accessed: 3 December 2020).

‌(2). ML Staicu, M. (2010) “Anger and health risk behaviors “, Journal of Medicine and Life, 3(4), p. 372. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3019061/ (Accessed: 3 December 2020).

(3). Gouin, Jean-Philippe, et al. “The Influence of Anger Expression on Wound Healing.” Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, vol. 22, no. 5, July 2008, pp. 699–708, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0889159107002644?via%3Dihub, 10.1016/j.bbi.2007.10.013. Accessed 3 Dec. 2020.

(4). Chapman, B.P., Fiscella, K., Kawachi, I., Duberstein, P. and Muennig, P. (2013). Emotion suppression and mortality risk over a 12-year follow-up. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, [online] 75(4), pp.381–385. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3939772/ [Accessed 3 Dec. 2020]

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