Anger affects our lives physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. It also influences our performance in completing tasks or fulfilling our work responsibilities. Anger is never entirely self-contained. It always has consequences that touch those around us. More important, anger has an impact on God.
Anger & Your Health
More and more, scientific and medical researchers are finding that a significant number of serious diseases—including some of the most deadly—are chronic in nature, related to our lifestyle choices, and linked to the way we think or process our emotions. Anger certainly is one of the negative emotions that has been linked to a wide variety of ailments.
God didn’t create the human body to accommodate long-term anger. The medical profession currently puts high cholesterol, smoking, and anger on equal footing when it comes to their destructive influence. Anger has both immediate and lasting effects.
When a person becomes angry, his heart beats faster, blood pressure rises, and hands begin to sweat. These natural responses occur immediately and require no thought or intention. Muscles tense and digestion is hindered. The face turns red and the person tends to speak in a louder than normal voice. All these are outcomes that God created as part of our fight-or-flight response to danger or a threat.
In addition, the body produces a surge of adrenaline to deal with crisis. This allows the person to have greater strength to fight or run away as fast as possible. But adrenaline can be both friend and foe.
When anger is suppressed, the body continues to produce adrenaline in small quantities to address the perceived danger that the mind and heart indicate is present. Over time, this drip-drip-drip of adrenaline and other hormones within the human body is extremely detrimental. It produces a state of internal stress—a little like trying to drive with one foot on the gas pedal and the other on the brake. The long-term effects include ulcers, heart ailments, strokes, arthritis, and depression. Every system and organ in the body is affected in a negative way.
Rather than own up to anger, people tend to attribute negative physical symptoms to stress. They’re either not aware or refuse to acknowledge that anger is to blame. A doctor once said to me, “It seems a third of my patients are on stomach meds, a third are on pain meds, and the rest are on tranquilizers. And most of them wouldn’t need any of them if they’d deal with the emotional issues in their lives.”
A few months ago, a man came forward at the end of a church service. He was bent over and used a cane. He’d heard me talk about the negative physical effects of anger and said, “Dr. Stanley, the doctors have told me that my stroke was caused by anger. I’m in the shape I am today because of anger. Tell people that anger can do to them what it did to me.”
No issue and no amount of anger is worth holding on to if it destroys your health (Prov. 19:11).
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