Reading research and other bloggers posts on How To Let Go Of Anger I have discovered the perfect way to describe why anger is bad for your health, and I quote Buddha, who said. ““Holding on to anger, is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” There is nothing vague about this statement, and it’s so descriptive it’s impossible to dismiss.
If I were to use myself as an example of allowing anger and negativity to effect everyday life and underlying health, I would start with anger because it’s here where it all begins.
Let me explain. Over the years I have always had trouble confronting people when ever some make me angry, rather than addressing the issue with them, I would simply hold my anger in. Over the last couple of years since reaching the age of 50 I decided to change things.
I am still unhappy approaching these people who anger me, but I am now addressing my triggers and reactions. There are a number of ways to approach this and we are going to look at them now.
Why Anger Is Bad For Your Health
First, it’s important to recognize if you are suffering from anger related health issues, and for this I will outline my experience.
Due to my inability to confront those around me or my ability to approach others with assertiveness and mindful emotional intelligence, my reaction would be to shout and stomp in private. The outcome of this has been a progressive decline in health until a visit to the doctor saw me signed off work for stress related illness.
What does this mean. Stress and anger can have a devastating effect on someones life. The inability to react intelligently, instead reacting on pure emotion.
This leaves the individual stressed, depressed, tired from sleepless nights, prone to substance abuse, and goes even further until emotionally the cracks start to appear. Moving forward, the physical symptoms appear, such as heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, high blood pressure which in turn can and will lead to heart related illness.
How To Let Go Of Anger
We have have all heard about ‘Taking a Breath’ and on the whole it is understood to be good advise when trying to calm down, but have you ever tried this technique? The chances are that if you tried it, you probably found it in-effective and dismissed it as a reliable approach to combat a stress, or anxiety attack, or any other form of distress. But if that is the case, how has this idea stood the test of time?
Well, it’s all about understanding the technique and understanding what it’s actually doing, so let’s take a look.
The first thing is to focus on your breathing and breath in through your nose and out through your mouth, in deep, slow breaths. While you are doing this you are tricking your body into relaxing, as all your major functions cardiovascular, digestive, hormonal, glandular, immune, are automated, leaving only the breathing to be controlled manually.
If you are asking how this tricks the body into relaxing, it’s the change in rate, depth, pattern of the breathing that is responsible for sending the message from the respiratory system to the brain, which is something the brain understands. This technique sending messages from the respiratory system to the brain is powerful and quick, effecting major brain centers involved in thought, emotion, and behavior. It could be likened or said to be similar to meditation.
A slightly more difficult technique from my point of view is the conscious muscle relaxation technique which takes a little concentration and practice, but if you can make it that far it’s a great way to physically relax if you find yourself in bed with eyes wide open.
Starting from the very tip of your toes to the top of your head you are going to make yourself fully aware of all your muscle groups before mindfully relaxing them all. First concentrate on your toes, then your feet, tense and hold that tension for 5 seconds as you inhale, now release the muscles and exhale through your mouth. Your will follow each muscle group, up your legs, to your hips, your buttocks, back, chest, arms, hands, finger tips, up to your neck, face. Recognize all your muscles and feel them tighten and release.
By this time you should feel fully relaxed and be able to drift off to sleep.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy CBT
This one is something people sometimes have issues with because it seems like a a bunch of rubbish. The fact is, CBT is really just the exploration of what your underlying fears, triggers, weaknesses are so you as an individual can recognize those issues and there subsequent triggers. With this understanding the individual can choose to react in a mindful fashion to a situation rather than an uncontrolled emotional reaction.
Perhaps painting a picture of a normal daily situation may help to illustrate what this means? There are many times during the day when anything can happen to disturb the peace, and this is where things can go wrong and ruin your day.
The Noisy Neighbor
Let me tell you about my neighbor. I live in an apartment block in the center of town, it has everything I need, I am one minute from shops, banks supermarkets, transport, and the beach. On paper my life is perfect.
However, my neighbor is somewhat ill educated and only has one volume and that is f’ing loud. The problem is my front door is next to his front door, and that is where he stands an shouts back into his apartment at his wife asking questions that he could have asked while inside his apartment, like, “what else from the shops?”.
I have at time exploded at them, asking and sometimes telling them to stop shouting. Each time they have looked at be completely mystified at my complaints. The results have been mixed. It goes quiet for a day or two then its back to shouting.
So What Is The Lesson?
These people have no understanding of my issue with them. To them it is baffling that this person next door is complaining at them, so I need to find a different way.
There are legal options but these would mean money and time and more and more fighting, so what’s the alternative?
The answer lies in me. I need to understand that these people are not actively seeking to anger me, they have no understanding of my distaste of noise, and they have no way of changing their behavior because they are not capable of understanding their surrounding and changing to fit it.
The responsibility lies with me to recognize the trigger which is the shouting, and recognize my emotional reactions, which are anger and shouting.
The last thing I need to understand is that getting angry will not change the situation, it will not educate the neighbors or prevent them from being anti-social, and it will not benefit my health. Therefore, I can conclude that the only person suffering from my anger is in fact myself.
With this conclusion my choice is clear. I need to change in order to improve my life.
This may seem defeatist but it is the only way I can look after my health and live a healthy life free of stress related diseases. Techniques to compliment CBT could by Hypnosis, Yoga, Exercise, Mediation to name a few.
If this was helpful or interesting please share with others who may benefit from this post. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to drop me a line.
Thanks for visiting. See you next time.
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