Staying angry is akin to holding on hard to a vibrating pole. Winston Churchill once said, “A man is about as big as the things that make him angry.” It's not just a matter of character but of survival.
Here's the surprise. The effects of anger on health have more to do with how long the bouts last than how frequently or intense they are, according to Steve Stosny, author of You Don’t Have to Take It Anymore.
It’s the long-lasting, even low-grade simmers that damage your body and psyche. To paraphrase Stosny, the normal experience of overt anger lasts only a few minutes. But the subtle forms of anger, such as resentment, impatience, irritability, grouchiness, etc., can go on for hours and days at a time. Persistent, prolonged angry times mean you have a five times greater chance of dying before age 50.
Anger elevates blood pressure and the possibility of stroke, heart disease, cancer, depression, anxiety disorders and it depresses the immune system.
People who are frequently angry also have more aches and pains or get more colds and bouts of flu or headaches or upset stomachs.
Angry people are more likely to attempt to numb their upsetting feelings by smoking, using drugs or drinking, or through compulsive behaviors like workaholism and perfectionism.
Writes Stosney, “Because anger acts as an amphetamine on the entire central nervous system, it always produces a physiological "crash." This crash often feels like depression when the issue that evoked the anger is not resolved.” The good news, according to Stosny is that you don't have to talk about it to improve your mood and marriage, yet here's this if you do.