Anger. We all live with it from time to time. It’s one of many emotions we experience that makes us human. But having too much anger can be dangerous, not only for those around you, but also dangerous for you. Holding onto anger or letting it run amok can be terribly unhealthy for you. Here is why if you’re prone to blow ups or long simmering grudge, you may be doing more harm than good to yourself.
When we get angry, we get the proverbial “fight or flight” response from our bodies. Our brains tell our bodies that we’re in a perilous situation and need to respond fast. That means our body gets flooded with hormones like cortisol, testosterone, and adrenaline, many that are indicated in stressful situations. Our brains tell the blood to flow to our muscles and get ready to run or attack. Our digestion shuts down because the blood is elsewhere, preparing for a physical reaction. Our heart rates go up and our blood pressure goes up. Our breathing quickens, our temperature rises, we sweat, and our minds become focused on what we’re angry about.
This reaction has served us humans for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years. We’ve evolved to react like this because it prepared us for possible danger. A lion stalking us gives us a good reason to become angry and either flee or attack it. But the problem is that in today’s world, we don’t usually have lions stalking us and our reaction is preparing us for physical dangers when many times our anger is emotional or situational. Unless we’re truly in a fight or flight situation, our body’s response to our anger can be detrimental to our health.
Constant stress and anger can lead to serious health problems such as hypertension or high blood pressure, headaches, stomach problems, lowered immune system, insomnia, depression, anxiety, skin problems, or even a heart attack or stroke. It’s not healthy to have frequent outbursts of rage nor is it healthy for us to let our anger stew. We need to understand our anger and manage it so that it does not affect our health.
There are healthy ways to manage our anger before it becomes detrimental to our health. One way is through exercise. Exercise helps reduced the stress chemicals in our bodies and also increases the endorphins, that is, the feel-good chemicals in our bodies. Walking away from what makes us angry is a good idea — once we cool down we can understand how to tackle the problem. Relaxation techniques are also a good way to handle our stress, as is understanding what causes our anger and how we can deal with it in a proper fashion.