All human beings are entitled to feel different emotions when the situation calls for it. Life will never go the way you planned it all the time, no matter how hard you try. And among all these emotions, anger is probably one of the most dangerous feelings for your mind and body. Yes, anger might be a very good avenue to vent out your frustrations about someone or something but when you’re always angry especially because of small reasons, your health might be compromised in the long run.
To drive the point home, here’s what happens to your mind and body when you get angry:
- An angry outburst puts your heart at risk: This might be the first time you’ve heard about this, but yes, whenever you’re angry, your risk of suffering from a heart attack heightens. This is especially true when you go through repressed anger – when you express your anger indirectly or go to different lengths just to control the emotion. To avoid this, learn what triggers your anger and make sure you stay away from it. Solve the problem at the root cause so you won’t suffer the consequences.
- Anger ups your stroke risk: If you’re fond of lashing out when you’re angry, watch out. When you’re angry even for two hours, there’s a bigger chance of developing stroke because of blood clot in the brain or bleeding. If you have aneurysm, this risk is even six times higher!
- Anger weakens your immune system: No, it’s not a coincidence that you’re getting sick because you’re angry most of the time. This is a fact, and this has been proven by a study conducted at Harvard University. In the study, it was found out that people who were merely thinking about an angry experience, had a decrease of immunoglobulin A – an antibody which helps your immune system fight off diseases and bacteria.
- Anger and depression are connected: When some people are angry, they’d rather keep the emotions to themselves and hide it from others. But when you overthink about a problem say, the reason why you’re angry, you could end up suffering from depression. Because no one else around you knows your innermost emotions, you’ll feel sad longer than the usual. If depression is untreated, it can affect your thinking patterns and behaviour in the long run.
And while being angry once in a while is normal, feeling this emotion too often can bring adverse effects to your life. If you think you need help to manage your anger better, you can seek help from professionals. TG Psychology, for example, provides counselling services to help you with this kind of problem.
Learn To Use Anger Positively
Too much of anything is indeed harmful, and this includes your emotions. It’s okay to be angry when the promotion you wanted for months wasn’t given to you or when a family member was involved in an accident. But you shouldn’t feel this emotion for long – you don’t want your health to be put on the line, right? You need to control your anger and make sure that this emotion doesn’t go on for days. Learn to use anger as an avenue to express yourself, not to put your mind and body in great danger.
Todd is the Director and Principal Psychologist at TG Psychology, in Penrith, NSW. He has over 14 years of experience working with adults and young people in both public health and private practice settings. He has treated people from diverse cultural backgrounds, with a variety of emotional health and behavioural issues, including: depression, anxiety, relationship issues, anger, addictions, trauma and grief. He has also facilitated a number of group programs, treating a wide range of issues: from quitting cannabis, to social skills training, self-esteem development and deliberate self-harm behaviours.