There is a something that affects the body with just as much power as any chemical or drug–anger. This emotion has been known to take over a person’s health without her even knowing it–sending her to doctors to combat a barrage of ailments, for years. Knowing your body and the affects anger can have on it is the first step to a healthy future.
The Gastrointestinal Tract
The GI Tract is the primary location of our immune system. It is here where the body extracts and eliminates vital minerals and vitamins as well as unneeded waste. It is also here where anger usually strikes first. This is why most people feel a pain in their gut when anger rears its ugly head. The entire chemical release that enhances digestion and elimination can often shut down, or worse, release acids that are powerful enough to lead to such ailments as peptic ulcers, diarrhea, acid reflux, intestinal cramping, constipation and even hiccups.
Many massage therapists will report that their clients that have stress due to anger often hold this emotion in their musculoskeletal system. The muscles react in our ‘fight or flight’ response and will uncontrollably contract when anger arises. The result is tight, sore, spasming muscles creating a very painful response. Most people will not recognize their deep seated anger as the culprit sending them on a journey of constant maintenance that often slips into prescribed muscle relaxers that do more damage to the body than good.
Central Nervous System
Our central nervous system reacts with great sensitivity to the thalmus and hypothalmus output in the brain. This area of the brain is the nerve center of, amongst many other things, our emotions. If anger is suppressed it becomes like a pressure cooker needing some form of release. Therefore, our central nervous system will respond with such symptoms as headaches including the debilitating migraine, heart palpitations that may result in the affliction known as (this causes dizziness, claustrophobia and panic attacks) and all due to suppressed anger.
One of the most misunderstood responses to anger is weight gain. Some people know that when they get angry they may resort to eating for comfort. This is only half the reality. When a person gets angry, especially females, the body responds to the stress from the anger by releasing the chemical cortisol. Known as the ‘stress hormone’, elevated cortisol levels are notorious for affecting weight gain creating fat deposits in the abdominal area.
A study from the University of Ohio found that men and women struggling with anger issues have a more difficult time healing from minor wounds. As mentioned, anger can throw the body into a fight or flight response temporarily avoiding minor problems such as superficial scrapes.
The best approach is to seek out specific tools that may help one find hidden anger or enable one to deal with a brewing, current challenge.
- Therapy – No longer considered a taboo, therapy is an excellent way to talk through your anger in the safe presence of a professional practitioner. Whether a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker this is by far one of the best approaches.
- Yoga – The meditative practice of yoga is a wonderful way to deal with anger.