The research on anger is very clear and quite disturbing: anger increases the risk of heart attack by 230 percent!
Stress will age you, and it affects your ability to cope, which can trigger anger. Elevated cortisol, a hormone related to chronic stress, is known to cause osteoporosis, midline weight gain, memory loss, cognitive decline and decreased skin elasticity – conditions usually associated with aging. Acute stress can have devastating and more immediate consequences. It affects our physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Stress triggers more than 1,400 chemical reactions in your body that lead to measurable changes like an increase in blood pressure and heart rate – and stickier, clot-prone blood. As a young resident, I volunteered to work in the emergency room on any night except Monday, because that night had a stream of patients with chest pain, heart failure and other complaints. I finally connected the increase in these crises to Monday Night Football, when I began to understand the impact of stress. In the month following September 11, 2001, the number of heart attack patients increased by 35 percent at a hospital four miles from the World Trade Center.
The terms “hothead” or “their blood was boiling” describe angry people. Now, apply these metaphors to what is happening in our bodies: high blood pressure, racing heart, constricted blood vessels –all the ingredients for a heart attack or stroke. You may not think of yourself as an angry person, since angry people rarely do, but I suggest asking your spouse or co-workers what they think. If they tell you “yes,” then you may be a bit on the angry side at times when you perceive demands being too much to handle.
Here’s what you can do to head off anger:
Saying “no” (kindly) then letting go: https://psychcentral.com/lib/saying-no-kindly-and-then-letting-go/
Caffeine, stress and your health: https://www.verywell.com/caffeine-stress-and-your-health-3145078
Is there a blood sugar monster lurking within you?: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inner-source/201311/is-there-blood-sugar-monster-lurking-within-you
Stress and sleep: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/sleep.aspx
How does nature impact our wellbeing?: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/environment/nature-and-us/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing
A heart to heart talk with Dr. Mimi Guarneri: http://pacificpearllajolla.com/a-heart-to-heart-talk-with-dr-mimi-guarneri-on-guideposts-and-mysterious-ways-magazine/