Contributed by – Preksha Buttan
Anger in itself isn’t a problem. In fact, it can be good for you if expressed in a healthy way. But if you are someone who doesn’t know the correct way of managing anger, then it may affect your health. Suppressing it or often exploding in rage – both affects your health.
Physiological effects of anger
Our average heart rate is 80 beats per minute. But if you are angry, then it can go up to 180 beats per minute. Anger affects blood pressure in the same way. Average blood pressure of 120 over 80 can jump to 220 over 130. In a state of anger, our body also releases chemicals that can potentially clot the blood. These clots can travel up the blood vessels and reach the brain or heart which may cause serious health complications. Besides, the muscles become tense and uptight as they are needed to fight or flee in the state of anger.
Your body reacts in the same way when you are afraid, anxious or stressed. If you persistently feel these emotions then in the long run these body reactions can affect your health negatively. Hence, you need to make efforts to manage your emotions effectively to avoid any health deterioration.
5 ways in which anger affects your health
- Your risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke increases as blood pressure and heart rate go up when you are angry.
- Due to exhaustion caused by anger, the immune system becomes inefficient and you fall sick more often.
- If you are angry often, then you may also have higher anxiety levels as anger and anxiety often goes hand-in-hand.
- You may feel tired or have frequent headaches if you get angry too often.
- Anger may lead to feelings of hurt, self-doubt, and isolation thereby taking a toll on your mental health.
Ways to manage anger
Identify the cause of your anger
More often than not an angry outburst is a knee jerk reaction to a situation and the real cause of the anger might be blurry. You might be lashing out on an ‘easy’ target when the actual cause is something else – probably something or someone that made you feel unsafe that you suppressed your anger. Or the cause could be an unresolved issue of the past and something that happened in present triggered it. Finding and understanding what actually is the reason behind your anger will help you find an effective way to manage it.
Evaluate your anger
Before you take any action to calm yourself down, ask yourself whether your anger is justified. Sometimes, anger can be your friend as it gives you the courage to take a stand or change the situation. For instance, if your human rights are being violated, then your anger would help you to take the action and do something about the situation. However, in case your anger is causing distress and damaging your relationships then take that as a red flag and work on changing your emotional state.
Step away from the situation
One of the best things that you can do to win over your anger is stepping away from the situation. Whenever you are in a heated conversation or when you know you are about to explode, then take a step back and leave the situation for the time being. Let the other people know that you are just trying to manage your anger and you would be back to resolve the issue after some time. In the meantime, you can either go out for a walk or do any activity that helps to relax your mind.
Talk to someone you trust
Talking to a friend or family member whom you trust can have a calming effect on your mind. But make sure that you don’t vent as that can backfire. Instead, work on developing a solution or reducing your anger. Talking about something other than the situation that made you angry in the first place also helps.
Focus on relaxation
For relaxation, there are different exercises that you can benefit from to reduce your anger. Breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation are the two most commonly used ones. The key here is to find the one that works best for you.
Get professional help
If you are struggling to tame your anger and it’s causing problems in your life, then seeking professional help would be the best. Some mental health issues could also be linked to anger. Here, an expert would know better to deal with the situation.
Anger is a common emotion and everyone experiences it from time to time. However, if it’s turning ugly and causing problems in your life, that is when you need to take action to control it. Experiment with the anger management methods given above and find the one that works the best for you. It will only help you avoid the negative effects it may have on your health.
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