Simmer down hothead! Everyone knows that having a hot temper is bad for your health — and sometimes, the health and happiness of those around you. Now, Scientists have proven that angry people may actually die sooner.
Keeping your cool is a problem for many people and most of us have that friend or family member who has trouble controlling their anger. Sadly, these days, hot tempers are flaring and even usually calm people are being engulfed in the “age of rage.” Anger, while beneficial on some levels, is something we need to learn to control — one can be “angry” at the injustices of the world and this anger can stir people into action. But, unbridled, misdirected anger, is not a good thing.
In fact, Researchers from Iowa State University have recently concluded that angry men aged 20 to 40, were one-and-a-half times more likely to be dead 35 years later, than those who were calmer.
Researchers believe this is due to a number of factors linking stress to actual physical damage to one’s body. The frequent release of adrenaline during periods of stress and/or anger, damages DNA, which could lead to life-threatening illnesses that could potentially shorten one’s life span.
Health problems with anger
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
Many people express their anger in inappropriate and harmful ways, including:
Anger explosions – some people have very little control over their anger and tend to explode in rages. Raging anger may lead to physical abuse or violence. A person who doesn’t control their temper can isolate themselves from family and friends. Some people who fly into rages have low self-esteem, and use their anger as a way to manipulate others and feel powerful.
Anger repression – some people consider that anger is an inappropriate or ‘bad’ emotion, and choose to suppress it. However, bottled anger often turns into depression and anxiety. Some people vent their bottled anger at innocent parties, such as children or pets.
Expressing anger in healthy ways
Suggestions on how to express your anger in healthy ways include:
- If you feel out of control, walk away from the situation temporarily, until you cool down.
- Recognise and accept the emotion as normal and part of life.
- Try to pinpoint the exact reasons why you feel angry.
- Once you have identified the problem, consider coming up with different strategies on how to remedy the situation.
- Do something physical, such as going for a run or playing sport.
Suggestions for long-term anger management
The way you typically express anger may take some time to modify. Suggestions include:
- Keep a diary of your anger outbursts, to try and understand how and why you get mad.
- Consider assertiveness training, or learning about techniques of conflict resolution.
- Learn relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga.
- See a counselor or psychologist if you still feel angry about events that occurred in your past.
- Exercise regularly.
– Source: Better Health Channel
If you or someone you know has a problem with anger management, getting it in check is vital, even if that means seeking the services of a qualified professional.