The Destructive Aspects of Anger


“We are here to encounter the most outrageous, brutal,
dangerous and intractable of all passions; the most
loathsome and unmannerly; nay, the most ridiculous too; and
the subduing of this monster will do a great deal toward
the establishment of human peace.”
­Seneca, Roman philosopher, 50 AD

Anger cauuses a bodily reaction. Your sympathetic nervous
system and muscles mobilize for physical attack. Your
muscles tense and your blood pressure and heart rate
skyrocket. Your digestive processes stop. Certain brain
centers are triggered, which then change your brain
chemistry. When you are angry, your bodily functions change
for the worse.

Dr. Charles Cole, Colorado State University, found that the
physiological effects of anger can cause blood vessels to
constrict, increase heart rate and blood pressure, and
eventually lead to the destruction of heart muscle. After
studying the reactions to stress and anger in more than 800
patients, Dr. Cole concluded that every thought has a
physiological consequence.

Looking at the effects of anger, Dr. Leo Maddow, chairman
of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at the
University of Pennsylvania, observed that brain hemorrhages
are usually caused by a combination of hypertension and
cerebral arteriosclerosis. He found that anger can produce
the hypertension which explodes the diseased cerebral
artery, resulting in a stroke. Not only does anger produce
physical symptoms ranging from headaches to hemorrhoids, it
can also seriously aggravate already existing physical
illnesses. “Someone who stays angry long after the
particular incident that caused the anger may be committing
slow suicide.”

Each episode of anger or hostility sets off a physiological
response in your body causing your heart to beat faster,
your blood pressure to rise, your coronary arteries to
narrow, and your blood to become thicker. When the blood
becomes thicker, the heart has to work harder to pump it.
For people with heart disease, this reaction can reduce
blood flow to the heart, creating a potentially fatal

A study done by Dr. Ichiro Kawachi, of the Harvard School
of Public Health, examined about 1,300 older men (average
age of 62) over a seven-year period. Dr. Kawachi found that
those men with the highest levels of anger were three times
more likely to develop heart disease than men with the
lowest levels of anger.

Other researchers at Union Memorial Hospital and Loyola
College of Maryland in Baltimore interviewed 41 patients
who just had angioplasties to unclog arteries. Those who
scored highest in hostility (Hostile Type A) were 2.5 times
more likely to need repeat angioplasty within the year.
Furthermore, contrary to the common advice from friends and
therapists to “get it all out” when angry, verbally
berating partners or expressing hostility towards other
people only serves to compromise physical health.

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

Losing weight will keep you healthy and have a long life. Cheer Up!

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