We know that anger doesn’t literally make our “blood boil” or make us “see red,” but when you’re angry it does affect your body. Physical reactions range from a rise in blood pressure and a faster heartbeat to muscle tension and the release of adrenaline and other body chemicals into the blood stream. The body shifts into “high gear,” generating energy for needed action.
Ignoring anger is not the answers. That can lead to chronic high blood pressure, heart problems, headaches, stomach issues, accidents, anxiety, relationship problems, depression and even criminal behavior and violence. So it’s important to learn to control what happens to your body when you feel anger and to channel your angry energy in positive ways, according to anger expert Dr. Judy Ronan Woodburn, Licensed Clinical Psychologist with Advocate Medical Group–Behavioral Health in Normal, Illinois.
Woodburn identifies typical causes of anger: frustration, hurt, annoyance, disappointment, harassment, threats, fatigue and feeling overwhelmed. First, Recognize the signs that your body is reacting to anger, such as muscle tension, being accident-prone, sarcasm and feeling frustrated or depressed. Next, do something about it! Woodburn offers 10 strategies to embrace and manage those feelings: