If Happiness is Good for Your Health then Anger is….

Is anger hurting your health?

We have all witnessed cartoons where a character becomes angry–like the picture above they turn bright red in the face, steam starts pouring out of their head, eyes become devilish and everyone around them thinks they are out of control and crazy (that is everyone except for the crazy angry character). Sometimes they begin throwing a huge fit comparable to a toddler laying on the ground screaming and kicking. Then it happens, inevitably the character either explodes, turns into a raging mad lunatic or falls over dead from not being able to control the anger any longer.

Sadly, people are not that different–steam coming out of ones ears may be unheard of, but the way a cartoon character personifies anger is quite accurate. The visual signs of anger can vary but they include turning red (just like a cartoon), paling complexion, clenching fists, gritting teeth, muscle tension, and sweating. The speed of anger also varies from person to person. Men often experience a very fast and furious anger while women typically build up in fury until they explode. Humans are not nearly as entertaining as cartoon but people do display anger just not as vividly.

Just like the dramatic ending to the cartoon character, if a person continues in anger s/he will also have a dramatic end–or at least some health related issues. Recently I wrote about how I had noticed a huge change in my own health which I completely contributed to my happiness. My previous issues had nothing to do with anger but instead stress and stress can easily lead to anger.  But again I am not an angry person and I don’t stew on things that irritate me. I don’t allow others to draw that kind of emotion out of me.

Yes I have that much control over my emotions and no that doesn’t mean that I am emotionless. I am just not easily affected by others. Seriously, I am not the typical girl. I barely cry and people don’t hurt my feelings in the slightest with words. In fact, my lack of anger and typical girl teary garbage has in the past given me the title “Ice Princess.” Again if I had an anger-driven personality this may upset me, instead I just find it humorous and typical of the person who placed the title on me. But the point is, I have seen how happiness can affect one’s health and it has made me wonder, if happiness is good for your health than what does anger do to your health?

Research shows that those who perpetuate anger have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, heart problems, digestive issues, insomnia, skin problems, strokes, depression, increased anxiety and more. Although these health issues can also be attributed to other factors like family history, it is still important to realize that while anger may not be the only contributing factor, it does increase your risks.

With your health in mind, how do you control your anger issues? Well like I said in Happiness and Your Health, happiness is a choice. Anger is also a choice. Your initial response may not be a complete choice but you can initially choose to build on that anger or you can choose to let it go. By holding onto it, you are feeding the anger and allowing it to take control of your mind and ultimately your health. You have to ask yourself if the things that are angering you are worth the pain, frustration and more importantly your health.

I know that everyone handles life’s bumps in the road differently and that not everyone can be the “Ice Princess” :), so for those of you not as lucky to embrace that title here is what I suggest you do to lessen the effects of your anger.

Exercise regularly- Many studies worldwide have shown that regular exercise reduces stress. People with higher amounts of stress are more easily angered. So by exercising regularly you will reduce your stress level thus reducing the chances of becoming infuriated. This is a great motivator for exercise.

Walk away– Sometimes when something upsets us, we engage it causing more rage and frustration. If we just walk away at least until we cool down and can think clearly we are not only lowering our anger level but we are also clearing our head and making it easier to communicate in a more rational way.

Consider meditation-Although I am not one to sit and meditate, I have been told that this is a great thing to do when you need to focus and breath and learn to relax. Whether you want to actually sit and “meditate”, participate in yoga, or just take time out in your day to be quiet and relax, I believe the quieting of your soul is healthy for you. So many of us get going a million miles-per-hour and are being pulled in multiple directions that we forget how good it feels to just sit. A little peace and quiet is good for you.

See a doctor– If your anger is at a point where you cannot control it and you have taken the time to try and resolve it but nothing has worked, then I would suggest you consult your doctor. Yes, I am the one who has every excuse why you should not go to the doctor, but in the case I would hope for your health as well as the well being of the people that surround you, that you would seek help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you cannot fix the problem alone. Don’t let your anger control you.

You don’t want to be the cartoon whose head starts spinning round and round and smoke pours out of your head, so find a way to control your anger and stay healthy.



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