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Did you know that excessive anger can lead to everything from the common cold to heart attacks? Here's how to handle it.

Everyone gets angry. It may be for different reasons, but everyone gets that feeling of wanting to scream, yell and throw something from time-to-time. Did you know that anger is bad for your health? It is, and that’s why it’s important to learn how to manage it well.

[Related: How to Manage Your Anger Issues]

Uncontrolled Anger Is Bad for Your Health

For some people, anger isn’t an occasional thing, but a regular part of their lives. You might feel better, briefly, to say that expletive or punch that wall. But the truth is those reactions don’t make you better. Angry outbursts actually weaken your immune system, making you more likely to get sick. Poor anger management leads to high blood pressure, which increases your risk for heart attacks and other coronary diseases. Plus you come off as a jerk to people, and who wants that?

A 4-Step Method to Control Anger

When you get angry, it’s better to do this:

Breath. Before you respond, breathe deeply for a few minutes. The physical act of slow, controlled breathing actually helps calm you.

Relax your muscles. Make a conscious effort to relax the shoulders and release the muscle tension. Like controlled breathing, this is all about taking physical steps to achieve emotional results.

Get it out. Once you’ve taken a breath and relaxed, journal or ponder what you’re feeling and why. Those emotions do need to be processed.

Seek context. Make sure you think rationally, not emotionally. Evaluate why you’re angry and consider if it’s something truly important or just a momentary annoyance.

It’s important to deal with anger properly. The next time you get angry, use these techniques to control your response. You’ll be a better person for others to be around, and your health depends on it!

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Would you describe yourself as an angry person? Why or why not?
  3. The first step in solving any problem is to recognize it. What are the main sources of your anger? Is there more than one?
  4. What are the benefits of controlling your anger? What are the drawbacks to not controlling your anger?
  5. The second step in solving a problem is having a plan.  Explain how you plan to face the next situation that has caused anger in your past and how you will react differently next time.
  6. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.
This topic is adapted from the watchwellcast YouTube channel. Written content for this topic edited by Daniel Martin.