”Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” – Mark Twain
Prolonged anger is an inherently self-destructive emotional state. It is often symptomatic of underlying anxiety and depression, and when suppressed, can cause havoc upon your personal relationships, affect thinking, habitual, and behavioural patterns, and manifest into a variety of physical issues. Chronic (long-term) anger has been linked to health problems such as high blood pressure, migraines, heart problems, and skin disorders, amongst others. One study found that people highly prone to anger are three times as likely to have a heart attack or fatal coronary heart disease as less angry people. Socially, anger is commonly linked to social issues of crime, emotional and physical abuse, and anti-social behaviour.
So it follows that the best way to address any anger issue is through looking at the cause. Where is it coming from? Why do things affect you in a different way, than it does for others? For some people, anger is a response to a traumatic or unsettling experience. Others are just wired that way – their “fight” reflex overtakes in the fight-or-flight response. Anger is also a common response to stress and grief. Once you’re able to understand the roots of the issue, it makes it infinitely easier to start making changes to adapt to better your quality of life.
So what’s the solution? Should you cork up your anger or regularly blow your stack? Experts say neither. Whether you hold it in or explode in a rage, frequent feelings of intense anger may pose the same health risks. The key is to make your anger constructive. Researcher Professor of Psychology, Dr. Charles D. Spielberger PHD, says that the first step is self-awareness. Don’t allow yourself to fly into a rage. Instead, be conscious of your anger. Stay in control. It’s the only way to figure out exactly what is making you angry. Once you can identify the real problem, you can try to solve it rationally instead of getting pointlessly furious. If you’re angry with someone, talk about it in an assertive, but never aggressive, way. If a certain situation sparks your anger, learn how to prepare for it — or better yet, avoid it — in the future.