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Effective Strategies to Manage and Mitigate Anger

Sunday, June 9th 2024 10:00am 3 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

Anger, a common human emotion, can have far-reaching effects on your health, impacting not just your mental well-being but also your heart, brain, and gastrointestinal system. However, there are strategies to manage anger and minimize its negative health impacts.

The Heart: A recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that anger can increase the risk of heart attacks by impairing the functioning of blood vessels. The study compared the effects of anger, anxiety, and sadness on blood flow and found that angry participants had the worst blood flow. This suggests that chronic anger could lead to heart disease over time.

The Gastrointestinal System: Anger triggers the release of proteins and hormones that increase inflammation in the body, which can raise the risk of various diseases. It also activates the sympathetic nervous system, shunting blood away from the gut to major muscles, slowing down movement in the GI tract and potentially causing problems like constipation. The lining of the intestines can also open up, allowing more food and waste to pass through, creating further inflammation and symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, or constipation.

The Brain: Anger can harm cognitive functioning by affecting the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. It can lead to the release of stress hormones into the bloodstream, which can damage nerve cells in these areas. Damage to the prefrontal cortex can affect decision-making, attention, and executive function, while damage to the hippocampus can disrupt the ability to learn and retain information.

Managing Anger: It’s important to recognize if you’re angry too much or too often. While occasional anger is normal, chronic anger can be harmful. Mental health exercises, such as certain types of talk therapy or breathing exercises, may help. Other strategies include changing your response to anger by slowing down your reactions, expressing your feelings in a healthier way, and avoiding suppressing your anger.

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