Don’t let anger control your life — or end it!
Anger is a natural human response. But aside from hurting others, it can also lead to serious health issues if we’re not being too careful.
According to a Harvard study, these are what can happen within two hours following an angry outburst:
- Risk of heart attack jumps nearly five times
- Risk of stroke shoots up three times
- Greater risk of arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat (too fast or too slow heartbeat)
The researchers said that our emotions are linked to cardiovascular mechanisms: anger is a type of psychological stress which increases heart rate, blood pressure and vascular resistance (flow of blood through the circulatory system).
What can we do to avoid stressing our heart, or ending our lives in the process? Control anger by calming down and getting over it. Here are some tips that will help us relax when our blood starts to boil:
1. Remember the dangers of losing temper. If we keep in mind that every angry outburst can bring us one step closer to the grave, then we can better focus on taming our temper.
2. What makes you angry? Identify the factors that trigger your temper. Do you have the tendency to boil over when exhausted or busy? Keep an ‘anger journal’ to identify instances when you are most prone to getting angry.
3. Pull back from tense situations. When you get annoyed, frustrated or disappointed, step away from the situation and count to 10. This will help you diffuse your anger and clear your head, avoiding emotionally-charged confrontations.
4. Do deep breathing exercises. According to Harvard Medical School, deep breathing is the body’s strongest self-healing mechanism and can slow the heartbeat and stabilise blood pressure. To know if you’re doing this correctly, your belly should also rise when inhaling.
5. Recite a mantra. A good word or phrase that can help you control anger works like counting to 10. This can be a simple word like ‘relax’ or phrase like ‘this too shall pass.’
6. Escape with imagination. Escape a bad situation by trying to recall a happy or calming memory. You can also dream up a scene that will help you relax… like coming face-to-face with Brad Pitt or flying.
7. Write in a rage. Get a paper and pen, a laptop or any other writing material and jot down whatever it is that’s making you feel mad. This helps exhaust the anger and can spare you and others from hurtful confrontations. This can also help weed out the emotions from the real issues.
8. Inject humour. Laughter is the best medicine, and humour may just be the right solution to diffuse certain tense situations. Imagine the person making you mad in their underwear, or wearing a funny costume. This is a type of distraction method that needs imagination.
9. Take a short walk. Take a breather from the situation by going out on a brisk walk or jog. The exercise can help your body feel more relaxed and stimulated. You also get time out to think the situation through more clearly.
10. It’s not about you. Sometimes our ego gets the best of us during confrontations and we end up focusing on ourselves rather than the real problem. Not everything should be taken personally.
11. Be assertive, not aggressive. Leave out yelling and throwing furniture because healthier and reasonable conversations are better options. The American Psychological Association said ‘Being assertive doesn’t mean being pushy or demanding; it means being respectful of yourself and others.’
12. Stay away from things that make you mad. Simple choices can help us avoid negative situations. If traffic makes us mad, find another route. If messy rooms work up our emotions, shut the door. We must accept that we cannot control everything, and sometimes the best solution is to simply avoid them.
Do you have other tips that help you control your temper? Share them below!