Hot heads beware! Recent studies show that anger wreaks havoc on your health. People with short fuses are far more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, a condition which is a risk factor for several serious health problems including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The high blood pressure stress link is even stronger for obese people.
According to researchers, when you become angry, your body over-secretes the stress hormones which trigger inflammation. Anger causes constricted arteries, high blood pressure and an unhealthy spike in the heart rate. A study conducted at the Harvard Institute for Cardiovascular Disease suggested that 36,000 heart attacks each year are linked to episodes of extreme anger.
A study published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology concluded that otherwise healthy people with anger issues are 19% more likely to develop heart disease. Among patients who had already been diagnosed with heart disease, the risk for complications increased by 24%.
Related: Seven Ways to Filter out Stress
If you are one of the millions of Americans with anger management issues, there are steps you can take to curb your anger before it curbs you:
Know your triggers:
Step back: When you feel a temper tantrum coming on, step back and ask yourself if this situation is really worth fuming and or yelling about. Many people have an automatic anger response that can be diffused by simply taking time to assess the reason for their negativity.
Walk away: If you feel anger taking hold and you can’t seem to get a grip on it, then remove yourself from the situation, person or thing that is making you angry. You’ll do far less damage to your health and your relationships if you simply leave until you can compose yourself.
Learn to handle stress: Conscious breathing techniques, meditation and yoga are terrific stress-busters. Also, learn to be good to yourself. Enjoy a movie, enjoy a massage, take a walk outdoors, listen to soothing music or plan a quiet dinner with a favorite friend or loved one.
See a counselor: Sometimes anger is rooted in unresolved emotional issues. A qualified therapist can help you discover the people or events in your past that may be affecting your current emotional state. A therapist can often help you find healthy ways of dealing with your triggers.
The bottom line is that anger creates a negative environment for you and everyone around you. Hot-headed people often find themselves isolated because nobody wants to be part of a volatile relationship that can lead to mental or physical harm. Put a lid on your temper and chill out like your life depends on it – because it does.