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When anger becomes unhealthy


The health implications of anger

Anger is a natural emotion that can have significant impacts on our health. A study in the Journal of the American Heart Association revealed that even short bursts of anger could negatively affect heart health by impairing artery function, which is linked to increased heart attack risk. This is not the only study to draw connections between anger and health; unresolved anger has also been associated with gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, headaches, mood disorders, and a weakened immune system.

The positive side of anger

Despite its potential negative effects, anger can serve important purposes. It can highlight injustices and prompt individuals to assert themselves when treated poorly. Anger triggers the “fight or flight” response, increasing focus, alertness, and energy, which can be beneficial in taking action and solving problems. Research has shown that anger can improve performance in challenging tasks, such as puzzles or video games.

When anger becomes unhealthy

Anger can become unhealthy if it is disproportionate to its trigger or if it is held onto for too long, leading to chronic anger. This can have detrimental effects on both mental and physical health. Anger that leads to aggression or damages relationships is also considered maladaptive.

Effective anger management strategies

To keep anger in check, it’s crucial to recognize signs of escalating anger and employ anger management strategies. Stress management techniques such as exercise and mindfulness meditation can help reduce negative thoughts and emotional reactions. Deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can release the physical tension associated with anger. For those struggling to control their anger, consulting a mental health professional can be beneficial, especially if an underlying health condition is contributing to the anger.