Healthy Ways to Manage Anger
Friday, August 28, 2015
Do you know somebody who struggles with anger? If you're like most people, you don't need to look any further than your own mirror. Anger is an emotion that can leave you empty and full of regret. It's a feeling that we've all struggled with at some point, but for some of us anger can be very difficult to control. On the one hand there are people who have a tendency to snap at even the smallest things. Others, wanting to avoid confrontation, tend to hold their anger back. So which is better?
Two researchers from the University of Jena in Germany found that bottled-up anger can be a serious risk to your health. After analyzing over 6,000 patients, Marcus Mund and Kristin Mitte discovered that holding back negative emotions could have serious repercussions for both your physical and mental well-being. High blood pressure, an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and kidney damage were just a few of the effects they discovered from unreleased anger. When they published their findings, they demonstrated evidence that expressing anger can actually add two years to a person's life.
The answer to getting angry, then, isn't simply to hold it in. Let's look at the eight principles of CREATION Health and discover positive ways to address, control and release this tricky emotion.
CHOICE – Choosing to take just a short pause before responding will often be just enough to prevent you from becoming irrational. Taking a few deep breaths can help control your heart rate and send oxygen to your brain. If a situation is particularly tense, choose to leave and revisit it at a later time. Sometimes we just need to gather our thoughts before confronting something.
REST – Lack of sleep is one of the top contributors to irritability. If you are already fatigued and irritable it will take much less to set you off than if you were well-rested. Getting a full night's sleep and allowing yourself regular opportunities to rest from the stresses and anxieties of life will help combat irritability and reduce stress and anxiety. This could be all you need to keep from losing control.
ENVIRONMENT – It's worth considering what unhealthy environments you may be placing yourself in. Don't purposely put yourself into situations you know are going to be difficult to deal with. Get creative. Think outside the box and look for new ideas and opportunities to remove yourself from stressful situations. You can't remove yourself from all the negative environments of life, but you can certainly cut out some of them.
ACTIVITY – When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins are your bodies natural pain and stress fighters. Staying active not only occupies your mind, but it actually releases “feel-good” chemicals in your brain. Other ways you can promote endorphin release include listening to music, laughing often, and smelling fresh fragrances such as vanilla and lavender.
TRUST IN GOD – If you are going into a situation that you know might upset you, make sure to pray first. Asking God to give you wisdom, patience and self-control will help you deal with what's ahead. God hears you when you pray, and is willing to help those who ask.
INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS – Healthy relationships involve good communication. If your spouse, children, friends or co-workers are doing something that bothers you, let them know. Don't wait until it has built up to a point where you are going to lose control. Instead, talk to them and tell them that what they are doing is really getting to you. Doing so in a calm, respectful way will often divert the situation from escalating. And getting it off your shoulders will make you feel a lot better.
OUTLOOK – We often become angry when we feel stuck in a certain situation. Discuss your options with a close friend or family member. Sometimes it's hard to find a solution to the problems we are facing, but those who know us can help. Get ideas, set goals, and look for light at the end of the tunnel. Knowing there is something better around the corner will help ease your mind and get you through the tough times.
NUTRITION – Poor nutrition can have a huge effect on self-control. A diet high in caffeine can put you on edge, and going long periods without eating can dramatically increase irritability. Always eat foods that are high in nutrition, and try not to go too long between meals. The last thing you need in an already stressful situation is a chemical imbalance due to poor eating habits.
When you combine these eight principles you have the power and the confidence to handle anger in a healthy, responsible way. Unleashing anger on those around you is damaging, and so is keeping it bottled-up inside. Watch for the things in your life that are introducing feelings of bitterness and address them before they get out of hand. In doing so you'll create a situation where you and those around you can communicate openly and prevent an undesirable experience.