Reduce anger? I thought anger is an emotion that cannot be controlled? Yes it can. Learn how…
Rose knew her angry outbursts threatened her marriage, but she just couldn’t control it. Is it possible to alleviate or reduce anger’s hold over us? What is anger? What is the real cost? And what can we do to get to the very source of anger and remove it from our lives? So let’s start with the biochemistry and the physiological effects of anger.
From a neurological perspective, anger triggers the body’s ‘fight, flight’ or ‘freeze’ response and initiates other emotions such as fear, excitement and anxiety. In other words, it activates one of the oldest parts of our brain — the reptilian brain. Once engaged, our brain instructs our biochemistry to gush a river of destructive chemicals into our bodies to prepare us for the ‘flight, fight or freeze’ responses to danger. For example, the adrenal glands flood the body with stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These chemicals are our last resort chemicals and while intended to save us from a threat, they can harm our bodies.
Chronic anger increases the risk of heart disease five fold
If you need a reason to reduce anger, read on. Besides the most obvious negative effects of anger such as relationship breakdowns, loss of career, excessive use of drugs and alcohol, outbursts of anger may actually trigger heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular problems in the two hours immediately afterwards, according to the first study to systematically evaluate previous research into the link between the extreme emotion and all cardiovascular outcomes.
One such study, was led by Dr Murray Mittleman (MD, DrPH) who is director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Harvard Medical School, Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and a cardiologist at the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
If we experience anger daily or even weekly, we are contaminating our bodies with adrenaline and cortisol and the evidence from numerous studies is clear. Constant chronic anger, hostility, and aggression raise our risk of developing various deadly forms of heart disease by as much as five times the normal rate. The more hostility we tend to express, the more we are prone to heart disease. If you find that you immediately get angry when you have to wait in traffic or when confronted with a long line at the grocery checkout, or if you find yourself constantly yelling at your loved ones, you may be slowly killing yourself.
Anger is both a physiological and psychological process. In other words, Anger affects our mind and our body. Because of this, anger can have a negative impact on our physical and our emotional health. This is particularly true of the relationship between anger and heart disease. If you needed any more reason to reduce anger, then I think you have it.
There is a direct connection between being constantly angry, competitive, and aggressive, and early heart disease. For example, recent research suggests that men who have poor anger management skills are more likely to suffer a heart attack before age 55, than their more emotionally controlled peers. A separate study indicated that older male subject’s hostility ratings (how hostile and irritable they tend to act towards others) predicted heart disease more accurately than other known risk factors including cholesterol, alcohol intake, cigarette smoking and being overweight.
The purpose of anger
For over 30 years anger researchers have known that the most common behavioural response to an episode of anger is to have an argument. Though the forms of argument in today’s society are wide and varied and more harmful than ever. A vast array of weapons are used from guns, knives, blunt instruments to social media. All can have lasting and devastating effects.
The function of anger is usually to communicate to another, that the behaviour being demonstrated is not desirable or acceptable. It is to recalibrate the target of the anger, by showing the target that they will be worse off by continuing to behave in specific ways.
Anger toward another is usually initiated when a person feels that there interests are not being considered. Anger toward a situation often comes from fear or frustration that we cannot cope with the task or tasks at hand.
Primitive thinking, even among today’s human suggests that one’s bargaining power increases when we act angrily. We can raise our voice, raise our fist or perform various feats of linguistic jujitsu. Individuals that believe in this theory believe more bargaining power will allow them to be more successful and therefore will set lower thresholds for anger. Ancestrally, the two primary sources of bargaining power were the ability to impose costs, such as aggression, and the ability to withdraw or remove benefits. Hence, strength, power and intelligence are still highly regarded in today’s society.
What can we do to reduce anger?
More educated ways to deal with anger is certainly one solution to angry outburst, however even the highly educated and the skilled communicators suffer from uncontrolled anger. Anger has a source and in order for us to increase our Emotional Quotient, we must first deal with the source.
Anger is just a by-product of that source. It is a form of fear and we are all capable of fear and being angry. Anger often has little to do with a situation, such as a partner leaving the cap of the toothpaste. While we don’t have control of our spouse leaving the cap off the toothpaste, it is usually just a trigger of something larger. Anger usually builds from frustration, often from situations that are out of our control. When we get to the source of our frustrations we can all reduce anger in our lives.
Anger is a stored neurological memory chain and at Life Beyond Limits we have proven method of reducing anger. We help our clients reduce anger in their lives by breaking those angry memory chains and teaching our clients how to reframe negative, angry events with a neurological repatterning process.
All you have to do is download our “Life Beyond Anger” audio program and follow the instructions to recode how you code and store anger. This is not about forgiving those who have triggered our anger, it is about releasing angry patterns from our neurology. It takes just 56 minutes and a willingness to become calmer and more at peace. Anyone can download this program here.