Causes heart attacks…
Negative emotions harm us and positive emotions are good for us. It is really true that happy people live longer and that anger will shorten your life. A 2016 study in the European Heart Journal found an increase in arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), heart attacks, and strokes in the first two hours following an outburst of anger. Another study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that anger is associated with sleep disturbances.
The link between stress and general health is well established. If you are angry, you are stressed, and chronic anger will shorten your life. Anger suppresses immunity, and chronic anger will keep your immunity chronically depressed. One study found that simply recalling an angry experience from their past suppressed immunity for six-hours. Wow! I am sure most people don’t know that. Another study found there are three times higher risk of stroke from a blood clot to the brain or bleeding within the brain during the two hours after an angry outburst. According to Dr. Chris Aiken of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, “In the two hours after an angry outburst, the chance of having a heart attack doubles.”
The constant flood of stress chemicals and associated metabolic changes that go with recurrent unmanaged anger can eventually cause harm to many different systems of the body. Some of the short and long-term health problems that have been linked to unmanaged anger include:
- digestion problems, such as abdominal pain
- increased anxiety
- high blood pressure
- skin problems, such as eczema
- heart attack
The good news is we can choose how we respond to events. Letting the anger out is better than keeping it in, but learning to express anger in an appropriate way is the best choice. Dr. Mary Fristad, a professor of psychiatry at the Ohio State University says that instead of losing your temper, “Move into positive coping, first identify your triggers, and then figure out how to change your response, do some deep breathing. Use assertive communication skills. You might even need to change your environment by getting up and walking away.”
Health is a choice. Just as we can choose what we eat and drink, we can choose what we put into our minds and how we react to events. Choosing not to be angry turns out to be a good choice.