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Mind and Matter

Mental Health Corner

How much is your anger costing you? 

One way to assess how much your anger and hostility is costing you is to look at your physical and mental health. The more obvious cost is to your physical health as angry individuals tend to develop high blood pressure, artery disease, headaches, lung & digestive issues, and have a lowered immune system and a shorter life span. 

The more subtle costs are to your emotional health and your interpersonal relationships wherein you may feel isolated at work as your co-workers avoid you, friendships tend to drift away. And you experience a lack of intimacy as your partner becomes more cautious and distant.  

In fact, several studies have linked depression with aggression and angry outbursts, especially in men. Anger also exacerbates anxiety. A research study published in 2012 in the Journal of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy found that unexpressed anger can exacerbate the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). A condition in which the individual has excessive and uncontrollable worry that interferes with their daily life. It was found that higher levels of anger and hostility along with internalized unexpressed anger directly contributed to the heightened level of GAD symptoms. 

Mary Fristad, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University recommends using the following techniques to manage angry feelings: 

  • Use relaxation practices such as breathing techniques to calm down. 
  • Re-structure your thoughts. Avoid the all-or-nothing, black or white type of thinking and other cognitive distortions. 
  • Find humor in the situation. 
  • Use effective problem-solving. 
  • Learn to communicate assertively. Stand up for your rights, do not be afraid to let others know what you are mad about, and ask for what you want.  

Learning to manage your anger is within your control. It takes time and persistence. In time you will see positive results. Please contact the FSAP office at 305-284-6604 to schedule an appointment with a licensed behavioral health professional to further discuss your concerns. 

Source: Everyday Health

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