Yes, you’re angry at someone, and can spend many hours thinking of what he did, why he’s wrong, and all the things you wish you could say and do to get back at him. But the fact is that chronic, deep-seated anger can hurt your health.
Here are some of the effects of anger on the body. Read this, and suddenly it makes sense: if you can’t forgive or forget, at least let go—not for that person’s sake, but yours.
Anger is not ‘bad.’ It is a natural human emotion, and should be recognized and dealt with in a healthy way. The danger lies when we repress and silence the anger and then suddenly blow up. But your temper outburst is just the physical manifestation of the explosive effects of anger on your system. Studies show that people who had a lot of hidden rage experience frequent headaches, high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, and poor digestion. In fact, research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that there’s a strong link between hostility and heart disease.
Anger also puts a great strain on our sympathic nervous system or SSN. The body is flooded with adrenalin and noradrenaline, which makes us feel pumped up and eager to act. People who are ‘addicted’ to this adrenalin rush may sometimes rely on the sense of anger or pressure to perform well. They become competitive, and then feed off the stress in the office or the criticism (real or imagined) of others to prove themselves right. But the toxic stress soup weakens the immune system. Its production of natural killer cells (which attack cancer cells) goes down.
Headaches, heart disease, cancer—this is what anger does to your body. So is it really worth clinging to the anger?
If you are angry at someone, try to turn it from destructive anger to constructive anger. Constructive anger involves calming down and then using the feelings as a way to diagnose a problem and motivate you to find a solution. Tell yourself, ‘I don’t like this situation. What don’t I like about it? What can I change about it?’ Then use that surge of adrenalin to get things done. Look for a solution, don’t wallow in the problem.
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