| Chronic anger & health
Some people seem to
be angry all the time. Are you one of them?
Anger is an
important part of the human condition, but many people are
uncomfortable with anger or grow accustomed to feeling angry all of the
makes us angry?
self-esteem—we feel we
have failed ourselves.
Loss of face—we have been humiliated.
Loss of your
role—it may have been
important, and without it you lose some of your identity.
Loss of a
mourning, this is the most common response.
Loss of security—feeling we are going to be harmed.
Loss of control—we are afraid we will act inappropriately.
response to anger is similar to that of fear: dry mouth, shaking, cold
hands, fatigue, crying, and heart palpitations. Our body processes both
emotions in the same way, although our minds process them differently.
A constant state of
anger can do real physical harm. Even if we bury anger deep inside, it
can be just as damaging—coming to the surface in an explosion at
the next crisis.
There are also
psychological reactions to anger:
as a victim. You may blame
others for your condition. You can become crisis-ridden, going from one
trauma to the next. You are powerless and never face up to your part in
contributing to your condition.
justice and revenge. You may
feel self-righteous and justified in attacking anyone you feel has done
you harm. You become narcissistic and only care about your
feelings. You become the perpetrator. However, sarcasm, coldness and
putdowns will be more destructive to you than to the other person.
discounted and ignored. You may
turn your anger into self-criticism that in turn can lead to
depression. You may get into the “what if” or “if
only” type of thinking which will give you no peace of mind.
powerless. Power and anger are
related. People who feel in control of their lives are less angry. If
you feel powerless, you may become passive-aggressive, expressing your
anger in indirect ways. You may be intentionally irritating, sarcastic,
and stubborn, and revert to childlike behaviors.
difference in anger styles
In our culture, men
are allowed to express their anger openly. Women are more apt to turn
their anger into self-criticism or turn it inward. These gender roles
are rapidly changing.
anger does to your health
A growing body of
research increasingly shows the connection between constant anger and
Studies have tied
chronic anger to diseases linked with weakened immune systems (perhaps
resulting from anger’s escalating effect on stress hormones),
coronary disease, cancer, suicide, and even increased workplace
injuries. Also, chronic anger may trigger bad habits such as smoking
and drinking, and can lead to serious food addictions, alcohol and drug
abuse, and depression.
Counseling can help
you from falling victim to your own anger, and can help make you more
content. You don't need to be held hostage to your anger.