Explosions of anger can seriously damage your health. With my many years of experience with anxiety, I want to share how to express your feelings in a healthy and safe way.
When we make our feelings forbidden to us, because in the short term it feels more comfortable that way, we are not being congruent with ourselves and this creates uneasiness within us physiologically – it throws us off balance. The more we hide our true expression, the more agitated we get until something tips us over the edge and we explode – have you ever noticed if, when you get so angry, it’s not always that ‘one thing’ you are angry about, it’s all the other unsaid stuff too…
Anger damages relationships and makes others timid and wary around you. If you get angry often, you may begin to feel quite alone and misunderstood.
Reported in the press last week was research into how outbursts of angry rage can be fatal. Elizabeth Mostofsky, an epidemiologist at Harvard School of Public Health commented that whilst isolated incidents carry a relatively low risk of heart attack, that the risks seem to rise significantly with frequent explosions of rage, particularly if there are pre-existing health issues.
The study analysed 6,000 heart attack and stroke patients. Results showed that when we lose our temper, we are five times more likely to suffer a coronary attack – not just at that moment but that the risk remains high for up to two hours afterwards!
So how do we avoid getting so wound up that we need to ‘explode’ in anger?
If you tend to lose your temper easily or if you feel yourself simmering like a pressure cooking waiting for the lid to blow, you may be ‘sitting’ on your emotions. Perhaps you choose at times to bury how you really feel about something for the sake of someone else’s feelings or to keep things ticking along? Maybe you even choose to intellectualise your world in order to keep yourself on the outside of dealing with those difficult emotions?
When we deny ourselves the expression of emotion for a whole bunch of socially or politically correct reasons, we bury its negative energy charge within us.
As we grow through childhood we may have discovered that it wasn’t safe to express ourselves; that it’s perhaps weak to show emotion, or that people won’t like or accept us, so we learn to ‘play safe’ and paint on a smile and pretend we’re fine. We opt out of the risk of feeling uncomfortable ourselves or of making others feel that way around us.
Anger serves us as a protective mechanism which acts as a shield masking hurt or pain. Our body releases a string of chemicals to propel us to take action to get ourselves out of the ‘perceived danger’. Such danger might be imagined or real and it might just be that we sense we are deviating from our true path. It is much healthier mentally and physically to learn effective ways to communicate how we feel in a way that boosts our own self-respect and self-confidence and, earns us the respect of others.
Managing our emotions in a healthier way means we stop the pretence and in doing so, we release that tension in our mind and body that is fuelled by a chemical stress response. We may experience positive changes in physical imbalances like hypertension, IBS, migraine, asthma and we may feel more energised.
Adopting ways to make sense of and to safely express your feelings could in the extreme case, as the study suggests, even save your life.
So next time you feel that stirring inside, may I perhaps suggest that you take time to question – as you count to ten –
- What do I really want to say, but daren’t? Why is that?
- What might happen if I do say how I really feel?
Above all, ask yourself – what is the real consequence for you of not speaking your truth calmly and clearly, of losing congruence with yourself…?
I can guide you through some simple steps to express yourself, in a way that does not create conflict, and which allows you to release your feelings in a safe and measured way.
If you’d like help working through your feelings and getting yourself listened to, I offer one to one sessions online and face to face. Please contact me to discuss your challenges.
I’m here to help x
Anxiety Expert – Anxiety Help Bournemouth & Christchurch, UK
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