Contributing writer: Carolanne Wright
Most of us have been there…feeling the blinding anger provoked by a specific circumstance, encounter or injustice. Well-meant outrage followed by rage about GMOs, environmental destruction or corruption in the medical establishment, along with a host of everything else that gets under your skin. Other times your anger may manifest as an interpersonal dispute or issue with a coworker. Even the hapless stranger is fair game. It doesn’t really matter the trigger, but one aspect is certain: chronic anger is bad for health, plain and simple. Anger and rage are held by the body in specific ways, getting trapped in the joints, cells and organs and building a hot bed of disease. Superfoods and a nutrient dense diet help to fortify the body against the onslaught of anger; yet if we don’t have a handle on our hostility, illness is the logical outcome of suppression.
Anger: Health-destroying Emotion
Irritation, frustration, anger, hostility and rage are merely different levels of the same mental state. represented by resistance to any given stimulus. When the body holds anger, it becomes encapsulated and often manifests as physical disease. Whatever form it takes, anger can destroy relationships and health. It can also lead to weight gain, digestive distress, insomnia, headache, rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, cancer, autoimmune disease, heart attack and stroke. Not to mention the extreme toll anger takes on mental health by giving rise to bouts of depression, anxiety and stress. Conditions like eczema and acne are linked as well. It seems obvious that resolving anger should be top priority if we value our well-being.
Path of Healing
When we talk about working with our anger, it’s not from the standpoint of repressing the experience with a forced smile. Neither is it lashing out in a verbal or physical tirade. It’s fully owning what we are feeling and harnessing the extreme power behind it. Many times, our anger is sparked by a sense of injustice, either to ourselves or another. Self-destructing from feelings of indignation merely causes damage to our own health. Instead, treat these intense feelings as a clue that something is wrong, and then take clear, calm, consistent action to effect change.
Acknowledging the presence of anger is the first step. Next is taking a time out, allowing blood pressure, respiration and thoughts to calm. Reconnecting with our bodies is the surest way to interact with our distress without adding to the “angry story.” A few deep breaths help to soothe the stress response of fight or flight. Thoughts begin to clear and emotions settle. It is from this space that we can approach the conflict in a constructive manner.
Importance of Diet
When you’re experiencing chronic anger, the above is easier said than done. This is why it’s so important to lay a solid foundation for a balanced mind. A nutritious diet is crucial, free of chemicals, harmful fats, processed foods and refined sugar. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the seat of anger is found within the liver, so it’s important to keep your liver healthy.
Focus on leafy greens that help to nourish and detox the liver, such as kale, spinach, arugula, collards and especially dandelion. Spirulina, chlorella and blue green algae are helpful too.
Herbs and Supplements Help to Cool Anger
Herbs like milk thistle, chrysanthemum, valerian, chamomile and peppermint cool the heat of anger as well. Make sure to include ample fish oils and B complex vitamins which support mental and nervous system health.
And don’t forget about stress-reducing and clarity-boosting practices – particularly meditation, yoga, journaling, tai chi and the ancient yogic breathing techniques of pranayama. Likewise, the HeartMath Institute in Boulder Creek, California offers several valuable tools that help to tame anger, lower blood pressure and clarify thoughts.
For further information, visit:
Permission is granted to copy the title and first one hundred words with the provision that the author's name be included and a link to the original article be added.