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The Healthy Side of Anger
By: OHI on Jan 18, 2024 5:00:00 AM
At the Optimum Health Institute (OHI), we teach our guests that there are only two core emotions - positive or love-based emotions, and negative or fear-based emotions. Anger is often a manifestation of fear.
Unfortunately, many of us, especially women, have been conditioned to believe that it is not acceptable or "ladylike" to feel or express anger. Society expects us to swallow our anger and compromise our desires, beliefs, and goals to maintain peace and keep others happy.
However, suppressing anger for decades can lead to depression. In fact, depression is often described as anger without enthusiasm. Moreover, a recent study conducted at Columbia University Medical Center has shown that unexpressed rage can physically harm the heart. When we feel anger, our body enters the "flight-fight response," which increases heart and respiration rates and constricts blood vessels. If we try to suppress this emotion, our body never gets the release it needs, which escalates the risk of heart disease.
On the other hand, explosive and uncontrolled outbursts of anger can also negatively impact the heart. Therefore, it is crucial to learn how to express anger appropriately.
Addressing the situation or person that triggered your anger is essential. Engaging in a discussion about the issue at hand, even if it becomes heated, can be constructive. It's important to focus on healthy resolution instead of blaming others. By verbalizing the need that you feel is not being met, you can express anger constructively, which research suggests is beneficial for both emotional and heart health.
Dr. Candace Pert, a renowned pharmacologist and researcher, has observed positive outcomes when individuals allow their anger to explode in certain situations. Cancer patients who do not passively accept their diagnosis but instead express rage against the disease attacking their bodies have experienced almost immediate remission. Dr. Pert believes that this expression of fury somehow burns out cancer cells, similar to how a fever kills germs.
It is crucial to understand that it is not the emotion of anger itself that is wrong, but rather the behaviors that anger and fear might trigger. It is important to express anger in healthy ways that promote emotional well-being and overall health.
In our Emotional Detox class at OHI, we share the idea that “Holding anger and resentment towards another person is like me taking poison and hoping that someone else dies.” It’s a funny thought with a lot of truth – and it’s also a great reminder to first own your anger, and then release it in an appropriate and constructive way.