Anger is a normal human response to negative or threatening events. Doctors have known for decades that sustained or recurrent anger takes a huge toll on your health. During episodes of anger, the adrenal glands release stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin. Your body tolerates these well for a few minutes, but when sustained for days and months, or when constantly repeated, certain bodily systems begin to breakdown.Forgiveness1

What Anger Does to Your Body

Health problems linked to anger include: headache, digestion problems, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and skin problems such as eczema. People who often exhibit anger and hostility also increase their risk of accidents and engaging in unhealthy behavior such as smoking.

Anger affects you mentally as well. Negative thoughts and feelings enter into your subconscious and, when sustained over long periods, can actually re-wire your brain in ways that change your personality and the way you view the world around you. You become increasingly pessimistic, cynical, impatient and irritable. The longer angry feelings are harbored, the worse they become, giving birth to a spiral of worsening mental health, leading to insomnia, increased anxiety, depression, and eating disorders such as bulimia.
Finding the Cure

Too often people end up requiring various types of anxiety medication and anti-depressants to manage the symptoms of sustained anger. While this may ease some of the symptoms, it does not prevent all of the physical and mental damage described above. As in many other diseases, managing symptoms may be helpful, but it is not a cure. Some will try to self medicate with alcohol or illegal drugs. This only makes the problem worse.

For many, the answer may involve professional counseling or anger management groups, especially, when the anger stems from childhood, a traumatic event or has a long history. When accompanied by violent behavior or thoughts of suicide, this is certainly needed. For less acute problems, however, simpler approaches such as exercise or relaxation techniques may do the trick. For many, the answer will include a spiritual dimension. In addition to the above, practice this.

  • Meditate on God’s unconditional love. God loves you more than you know. Nothing can separate you from that love – nothing in your past, present or future. It’s unconditional. Dwell on it and be thankful for it – that’s all you can do since you can’t earn it or control it.
  • Having focused on God’s unconditional love for you, practice giving that same love to others – especially those who have hurt you or let you down. I use the word practice, because real forgiveness usually happens over time. Forgiving others was a main theme in the teachings of Jesus. He knew the damage anger and hate caused – not just spiritually, but physically and mentally as well. You would be shocked by the number of people who have renewed their health simply by learning to forgive, and actually letting go of bitterness and past hurt.

Several studies suggest that if you learn to forgive, you will likely enjoy lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, less stress, less back pain, less stomach problems, fewer headaches and less depression and anxiety.

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