Anger can impair health

Although Anger Sometimes Leads To Positive Results, It More Often Has A Negative Effect On Your Health 

Everyone loses their temper now and then. Sometimes that can be a good thing, and sometimes it isn’t. Pegasus caregivers in Newhall and elsewhere want you to know how anger can affect your health.

Anger varies from individual to individual. What sets one person off might be a minor annoyance to someone else. That’s because anger is an emotional reaction to something that’s not right.

Your idea of being wronged differs from others, as well as personally from time to time. How angry you become also varies according to the situation. Another variable is how long you stay angry.

Anger often occurs quickly before you have time to think. Common triggers include:

  • Someone close to you, such family members or friends, creates a problem
  • Incidents beyond your control, such as someone cutting you off in traffic
  • Recalling a past experience that was traumatic or otherwise life-changing
  • Underlying or unrecognized mental health issues

No list is comprehensive, other than the one you make yourself of your personal triggers.

Other Emotions Can Cause An Angry Reaction

Some experts believe that anger is a secondary reaction. By that, they mean another or primary,  emotion is the cause of the anger. Anger gives a sense of control over primary emotions, especially ones that make you feel vulnerable.

Getting angry helps people “hide” feelings such as fear or sadness. Anxiety, uncertainty, worry, and disappointment are also among the primary emotions. It takes soul-searching to determine your primary emotions, but the effort is worthwhile.

Anger Isn’t Always Negative

Although anger is typically regarded as negative, it can be positive. It energizes you and motivates you to take action. That is especially important when you’re physically threatened.

Threatening situations can stimulate the “flight or fight” response. Your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure all increase. Your body tenses.

You are ready. You will either get away quickly or stand your ground. Your anger gives you the strength to do whichever is appropriate.

The energy generated by anger helps individuals meet the goals they’ve set for themselves. Younger people especially use anger to overcome challenges. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work as well as you age, and by the time you’re 80, anger works against you.

Righteous anger helps individuals correct social and moral wrongs. Examples include efforts to eliminate child abuse or obtain equal rights. Anger at injustice or lawlessness inspires individuals to become involved in politics or engage in legal endeavors.

Chronic Anger Is Toxic For Your Health

The same physical responses that energize you can harm you, especially when anger becomes chronic. Sustained anger controls you. Your health and your relationships both suffer.

Chronic anger weakens your immune system, which affects your overall health. Impaired immunity leaves you vulnerable to inflammation. Chronic inflammation is one source of illnesses such as arthritis.

An immune system that is less than optimal also leaves you open to infections. Wounds heal slower. You feel run-down, tired, and don’t have a sense of well-being.

Although repressing your feelings creates problems, so does exploding in anger. It’s essential to deal with the source of the anger calmly. Communication is the key to most solutions.

Unresolved chronic anger, whether expressed or suppressed, is associated with increased risk of:

  • Coronary disease
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory illness

Repressed anger is also a source of depression, particularly in men.

Even when uncontrolled anger doesn’t cause life-threatening disease, it’s responsible for a host of less serious illnesses. Some of these are:

  • Anxiety
  • Backache
  • Chronic hypertension
  • Digestive pains
  • Eczema
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Obesity

Virtually every part of your body is affected by anger, especially when it’s chronic.

It’s Time For Anger Management When You Can’t Control Your Reactions

Signs that your anger is out of control include:  

  • Feeling you have to hold back
  • Focusing on negative thoughts and experiences
  • Persistently feeling irritation and frustration
  • Breaking things
  • Hitting your head or fists against a wall
  • Acting in a reckless manner, such as speeding

You might be using anger to manipulate others. In the worst cases, you become verbally abusive or physically violent. People begin avoiding you when possible.

Anger management doesn’t mean that you never feel angry. It’s learning how to express your feelings safely and productively. Tips include:

  • Taking time to think before you speak or act
  • Expressing your feelings in a non-confrontational manner
  • Going for a walk or engaging in other physical activity
  • Giving yourself a timeout in a quiet place
  • Identifying potential solutions rather than focusing on negative aspects
  • Avoiding blaming others for how you feel and instead tell them calmly how you feel
  • Forgiving and letting go of the small stuff
  • Searching for humor as a way to defuse the situation, but avoiding sarcasm
  • Practicing deep breathing or other means of relaxing

Anger can become ingrained over the years. You may not be able to control it without professional help.

Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our caregivers in Newhall and our other locations are dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals. Our services include assisting you or your loved one with physical or emotional issues, including anger management.