Anger is a very strong emotion that causes stress to the body and to the mind. Research shows that no matter how much you exercise or eat correctly, you are putting yourself at risk if you do not manage your anger. Anger causes a widespread negative effect on the body. Generally, if we react to this stress by eating, we have a double whammy, so to speak, causing poor nutrition and excess calories causing weight gain. Studies show that 82% of women overeat when they are stressed. In a short period of time, the overeating reaction can take a toll on the body and health.
When we become angry, we may experience muscle tension, teeth clenching, higher blood pressure, chest pains, excessive sweating, chills, severe headaches or migraines. This is due to stress hormones being released. If people do experience chronic anger and it is not managed, more severe health issues may appear such as obesity, peptic ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, intestinal cramping, indigestion, heart attacks, strokes, kidney problems, and more frequent infections. Researchers have found the heart is affected by anger and can actually reduce the heart’s ability to pump blood. Uncontrolled chronic anger can also have psychological effects resulting in depression and feelings of hopelessness, eating disorders, substance abuse and other self-destructive behaviors, and can cause significant changes in relating to other people.
When we eat in response to the stress of anger we are taking the anger out on ourselves and are actually punishing ourselves. We sometimes decide we don’t care about anything anymore, our weight or our health, etc. It is important to maintain nutrition when we become angry so we can manage our anger well.
Here is a listing of ways to begin managing your anger before it gets out of control.
Exercise to release the anger- run or lift weights, punch a punching bag, do kickboxing
Practice Deep Breathing – Begin with 2-3 minutes of deep breathing exercises
Meditation -Relax and count to 30 blocking out everything that you see and hear.
Call a friend to take your mind off your stress and to vent. If the friend is trusted ask for his/her opinion of the situation.
Confront the one you are angry with and talk it out.
Find something to smile about and laugh as laughter reduces stress hormone levels. Frequent belly laughter empties your lungs of more air than it takes in resulting in a cleansing effect - similar to deep breathing.