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JODY HOLTON — How anger affects your health

It seems like a lot of folks are worked up over life in general these days.

They have a burr under their saddle and seem intent on staying that way. The outward effects of this are pretty obvious, but what all of this does to a person’s body has a tremendous bearing on their overall health.

Emotions such as anger and hostility ramp up your “fight or flight” response. When that happens, stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, speed up your heart rate and breathing.

You get a burst of energy. Your blood vessels tighten. Your blood pressure soars. If this happens often, it causes wear and tear on your artery walls. The physical and mental stress that anger produces can trigger a heart attack or any other condition related to this muscle.

Being angry can cause what’s known as irritable bowel syndrome, which can lead to colitis or diarrhea. Stress, fear, tension and anger can all cause intestinal imbalances.

Gastritis is one of the most common consequences of anger and the symptoms are well-known: acid reflux, pain and a burning sensation in the stomach. Stomach acids inflame the mucus lining when you have multiple episodes of anger, so if you get angry very often it may not only provoke gastritis but can also cause stomach ulcers.

Itching, rashes and pruritus have, among other things, anger as a main trigger. The same can be attributed to bouts of tension, stress, nervousness, anxiety and fear.

Negative emotions will invariably impact your physical well-being, and anger is no different. Emotional factors are actually one of the most important contributing factors for all diseases, including cancer.

Your emotions can actually trigger your genes to either express health or disease … and if you’re chronically angry or prone to uncontrolled outbursts you could be inadvertently sabotaging your health.

We all experience anger and hatred at some point in our lives. It is natural to feel angry about something, as long as you know how to deal with your anger so that it doesn’t negatively affect your health and well-being.

If you can learn to tackle your anger at its root and resolve your negative feelings without lashing out at yourself or others, you will already be one step further on the path to optimal health and happiness.

People who are stressed are more likely to experience anger. Numerous worldwide studies have documented that regular exercise can improve mood and reduce stress levels.

This may be because physical exertion burns up stress chemicals, and it also boosts production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters in the brain, including endorphins and catecholamines. You are familiar with the term “walk it off”, try it.

When you feel anger start to take over, step away, get outside and take a walk. Fresh air and a little exercise will help. It won’t solve all of your problems, but it will help you get a reset.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

Stay healthy, my friends.

Jody Holton writes about health for Port Arthur Newsmedia. She can be reached at jholton3@gt.rr.com.