Anger Control for Men
Why we get angry — And why uncontrolled anger is a serious health threat
Basically, your body is gearing up for intense physical activity. This is
the “fight” part of the “fight or flight” response. If we’re exposed to
something stressful, our bodies get ready to do battle or run away.
Spielberger says that anger is common because it has an evolutionary
advantage. “Anger isn’t just a human emotion,” he says. “Fear and rage are
common to animals too. They developed over eons to help creatures fight and
Don’t have a coronary, dude! Health risks of uncontrolled anger
The problem is that, nowadays, your body’s full-blooded physical response to
anger isn’t always so useful. It might have come in handy when our ancestors
were trying to club a cave bear to death. But it really doesn’t help much when
you’re standing in a line at the DMV.
In fact, uncontrolled anger is worse than useless: It’s bad for you. Several
studies have found a link between anger and disease. For instance, a large
study of almost 13,000 people found that those who had high levels of anger —
but normal blood pressure — were more likely to develop coronary artery disease
or have a
heart attack. The angriest were three times as likely to have a heart
attack as the least angry.
So how does anger turn into disease? Your body’s physical reaction to anger
is intended for the short-term — it gives you the immediate boost you need to
survive. But if this explosion of hormones is triggered too often, you can
suffer long-term effects. Anger’s stress hormones may contribute to
arteriosclerosis, the build-up of plaques in the arteries that can cause heart
attacks and strokes. These hormones may also increase levels of C-reactive
protein (CRP), which causes inflammation and may also contribute to
cardiovascular risk. One 2004 study in Psychosomatic Medicine found that
people prone to anger had levels of CRP twice or three times as high as others.
Anger can even cause electrical disturbances in the heart rhythm.
Anger has also been linked with
depression. People who report being frequently angry are less likely to
take care of themselves. They’re more likely to smoke, drink to excess, and eat
badly, and they’re less likely to exercise. While it’s hard to say that in
these cases anger is the cause, it’s certainly linked with a lot of unhealthy
behaviors. Anger can also be an expression of feelings of helplessness or