It’s easy to be angry these days. Simply turn on the news, open up Facebook, or try to untangle your headphones that have formed the world’s strongest knot after being placed briefly in your pocket.

Yes, the list is endless. But anger can have some pretty damaging health consequences. If you find yourself fuming on a daily basis, read on to understand what anger may be doing to your body.

1. Heart health

In the two hours after an angry outburst, the chance of having a heart attack doubles.

Perhaps the most obvious side effect of anger: when we are enraged, our hearts start to race. In fact, in the two hours after an angry outburst, the chance of having a heart attack doubles. Repressed anger (anger that is not expressed directly) has also been linked to Coronary Heart Disease according to a study by Circulation.

To protect your heart, do not let your rage reach its peak. Address the problem as soon as you are able and try to do it in a constructive manner. Seeking to defuse the situation is better for both parties.

2. Weakened immune system

If you feel mad all the time, you may also notice that you’re more prone to the common cold. A study out of Harvard University showed that simply thinking back on an angry experience caused a six-hour dip in levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A —the cells’ first line of defense against infection.

If you’re sneezing a lot it may be time to look into some mindful meditation.

3. Increased risk of stroke

This is a scary one, but if you are prone to lashing out, then this information may bring you down from boiling point. One study found there was a three-times-higher risk of having a stroke from a blood clot to the brain during the two hours after an angry outburst. 

We know that mind and body are intrinsically linked. According to the study, “short-term psychological stress is associated with an immediate physiological response, and may be associated with a transiently higher risk of cardiovascular events.” Take a deep breath.

4. Lung issues

While we’re on the subject of taking a deep breath, a study looking at the intersection of anger and lung health found that those with highest “hostility ratings” had significantly worse lung capacity, which increased their risk of respiratory problems.

The researchers hypothesized that the stress hormones created by a burst of anger can create inflammation in the airways. If you find yourself growing enraged consider trying one of these breathing exercises.

5. Anger increases anxiety

When it comes to anger and anxiety, one usually follows the other. Whether anxiety creates anger or anger precipitates anxiety, the link can be harmful. A study published in the Journal Cognitive Behavior Therapy found that anger can make Generalized Anxiety Disorder worse.

If you are prone to anxiety, anger — especially anger that is unexpressed — can increase symptoms. Try talking to a therapist or journaling to express the feelings before they get out of control.

6. Anger stops wounds from healing

According to a study from Ohio State University, those who had a tendency to fly off the handle tended to heal more slowly from wounds. Researchers gave blisters to 98 participants and found that, after 8 days, those who had less control over their anger were found to be slower healers.

Healing, whether physically or mentally, can be slowed down by anger. Anger management courses can help; you can even do them online.

As the saying goes, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

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