I decided a few years ago to work on my anger. I was an angry teenager and I held most of that anger in, but I did have some times when that was just too hard to do so…BOOM, here it came! Over the years, I have done a lot of healing and growing and I definitely do not have the temper that I had back then. In fact, it is kind of hard to get me to the point of actually being angry now, but when I do get there, it is all downhill from there…pray for me, I am still growing! Anyway, I am forgiving everyone who hurt me, whether they knew it or not (this is still a work in progress) and replacing the bad with nothing but good energy. It is work to be consistent but it is working for me and I feel a lot “lighter” because of it. After reading a little more about anger this past week, I really know that there are a lot of downsides to it, but I also learned that it can also have some benefits.
So we all know that anger is an emotion and it has a purpose, to start or stop something. It may pop up on us when we need to get control of a situation, when someone takes something of ours, when someone is wasting our time, when our boundaries are being violated, or when dealing with miscommunication to name a few.
Anger sets off our fight or flight response. It is appropriate when we need to protect ourselves or others. It lets others know that whatever they are saying or doing will not be tolerated. But there are times when anger can be chronic and may be used to hurt someone. That negative energy is not good for you because toxic stress can do harm to your health. Been there, done that, and have the hospital receipts to prove it! Our bodies sometimes alert us to the anger that is more life fury and is dangerous to our health with signs like an upset stomach, headaches, teariness, dry mouth, a clenched jaw or maybe even grinding teeth. And we definitely should not get behind the wheel angry. Those extra emotional demands will steal your attention and decrease reaction time which can result in making a critical error. You can not only hurt yourself but someone else in the process.
What happens to your body when you spend too much time being angry?
- You will weaken your immune system which will up your risk of disease
- Lethargy- chronic stress leads to a slowing of your metabolism. You know what that means! You will also have to deal with memory fog and feeling sluggish
- weight gain. You know that if your metabolism slows , you will begin to gain weight and that can possibly be the beginning of other problems healthwise.
- It ages us!
- It is bad for your heart. Chronic stress can put you at risk for heart problems
So get it under control!
I am starting with myself. Learning what sets me off and ways to rein the anger in when I feel my temperature begin to rise. My goal is to try things that help me find my Zen and keep all of us alive.
So how do we curb our anger?
- Get some sleep! This is one of my problems for sure. I stay up late planning my next day. Bad idea! When you wake up, you are angry and irritated because you are tired. (smh)
- Exercise! It decreases anger and releases the feel-good chemicals
- Eat less junk food. Don’t skip meals! Yeah this one right here is my biggest problem. Everything seems to take priority over my mealtime. Lord help me….
- Quiet your mind. I love to meditate. I do it when I first wake up and sometimes I need it throughout the day when dealing with the crazies in my life. 15-30 a day will calm your nervous system and center you.
- Breathe! Slow, deep breaths really does calm the body. Take a deep breath in, hold it, then let it out slowly, hold it. It feels great!! (Learned that in therapy)
- Count to 10. It works!
- Distract yourself. Let’s face it, you cannot feel two feelings at once. Do something that will give you a different feeling than anger. Cuddle your puppy or lover…. watch something funny on TV, or go shopping (that always works for me).
Are there any positive effects of anger? Yes! It can be a motivating force. Anger can push us toward our goals in the face of problems. Anger can also benefit your relationships in that hiding it can be detrimental to the relationship. Your partner will not know what they did wrong so they may continue to behave the same. Anger, if justifiable and aimed at a solution, can strengthen your relationship. It can also motivate self-change. If we notice what makes us angry, we can learn what we need to do to improve our lives. Used right, anger is can really come in handy. You have to be careful if you are someone who cannot get a hold on your emotions because anger can be a hard one to control and have damaging effects.
So we need to get our emotions under control and not let anything or anyone have so much power over us that they push us toward chronic illness or any early grave. I am working on showing myself some extra love and spending time and sometimes some extra money showing myself that I am worth every bit of love that comes my way. I am also working on my Zen..making sure I check in with my feelings throughout the day and getting back on track when something gets me off.