Welcome the New Year with a chill pill ….writes Natalia Ningthoujam
“Everyone keeps piling work on me.” “The traffic light has turned green, why isn’t the car in front of me moving?” If your blood boils with anger at such minor happenings of everyday life, try leaving behind your frustrations for a healthy you in the coming year, say experts.
Anger is typically a reaction to any factor, often a secondary emotion than can arise as a reaction to other emotions such as insecurity, jealousy and fear, says Dr. Samir Parikh, director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare Limited.
“It is a natural response by our body, which triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response in perception of potential threat, attack, injustice or disappointment,” said Parikh.
Though anger is an emotion which is experienced by every person at some point of time, it seems like more and more people, including children, are increasingly losing their cool easily. The fast-paced life is to be blamed for the same, says Dr. Sanju Ghambir, senior consultant psychotherapy and counselling, Primus Super Specialty Hospital.
“We are getting a lot of patients now. They have a lot of anger in them because they don’t have patience. We are living in a time where everything is instant. All we have to do is go online. When we don’t get results fast, that’s when people start getting angry.
“Children as young as three show anger. Be it sibling rivalry or not getting toy of their choice, anything can be the reason. Sometimes, even watching cartoons leads to anger because there is a lot of violence in that,” Ghambir added.
Earlier, there were more cases of men losing temper, but now with the demand for equality, women are no longer hiding their emotions, she pointed out.
“Now even women are expressing anger. More women are becoming aware of their own role. With that in mind, women also feel why they should keep quiet. So that role of keeping quiet to control the situation is going out now because a woman has her own ego to satisfy,” she said.
It might seem like people become calmer as they grow older. But Ghambir says age has nothing to do with it.
“A person who is able to adjust, learns to control himself better, whereas a person who is always looking at the things that he lacks, that person will always be dissatisfied and angry. If they have stress related to money and relationship, then the anger might just go up,” she said.
Anger could have both physical and psychological manifestations.
“The common physical signs of anger include sweating, headaches and restlessness. It arouses the nervous system, leading to an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and other regulatory functions of the body.
“Frequent anger is likely to lead to adverse impacts on the person’s physical health, increasing the risk for illnesses like hypertension or cardiovascular diseases, sleep disturbance, skin problem, in addition to interference in occupational, social, and interpersonal functioning,” Parikh added.
There are long-term effects of anger too.
“It could lead to an adverse impact on one’s psychological well-being, leading to difficulty in attention and concentration, difficulty in decision making, increased anxiety and depression,” said Parikh.
Anger is also a common cause for stomach ulcer.
“A lot of acid secretion in stomach takes place that damages our body from within. Anger is a very common cause for stomach ulcer,” said Ghambir.
Going by the health problems, it’s best to manage anger.
Atul Verma, senior psychologist from SCI International Hospital, suggests how.
“Expression is the act of conveying your anger. Expression ranges from a reasonable, rational discussion to a violent outburst. Suppression is an attempt to hold in your anger and possibly convert it into more constructive behaviour.
“Calming down is when you control your outward behaviour and your internal responses by calming yourself and letting your feelings subside like counting numbers backward, taking a deep breath at the time when you feel angry,” he said.
Parikh suggests physical exercise too.
“When a person is angry, the individual experiences a surge of energy, which typically is externalised in the form of shouting, or aggression. Instead, the person should be encouraged to have regular physical activity, be it in the form of a sport, workout, dance or even walking or jogging,” he said.