The Harmful Health Effects of Anger

· December 22, 2015
When we get angry, the muscles and joints tighten, blood circulates more slowly, and our brain activity - as well as the balance in our nervous, hormonal, and cardiovascular systems - are altered.

Aside from the fact that it’s never good to get angry with someone or with yourself, harmful effects of anger can also damage the body. There’s a strong relationship between our feelings and how the body reacts to them. In the following article you’ll find out what being angry can do to your health, and hopefully you’ll learn to avoid becoming a grump.

Anger (or irritation) and fear are the two worst emotions for our body, heart, and mind. It’s said that they are the cause of all evils (at least most of them), including some diseases. While much is still unknown, some research has been conclusive on this so it pays to find out what is confirmed so far.

Avoid anger to live better and longer

Living a happy life is the best way to avoid pain, pathogens and disease. Take it easy and try not to get mad or storm out of a room because it’s reflected in your health. This is not only indicative of a positive attitude or proper education, but the avoidance of anger can be the best medicine for your body when you’ve been hurt. In times of anger the muscles and joints tighten (or clench), blood circulation slows, the natural balance of the nervous, cardiovascular and hormonal systems is disturbed, blood pressure rises along with heart rate and testosterone, brain activity is altered (especially in the temporal and frontal lobes), and excess bile is produced that ends up in parts of the body where it shouldn’t.


It’s proven that anger and irritation cause:


The physical and mental stress that anger produces can trigger a heart attack or any other condition related to this muscle.

Liver damage

And also the gallbladder, because anger cause more bile to be secreted than it would be under normal conditions. This substance is expelled through the bladder, which in turn suffers unusual stress in times of anger.

Muscle aches

Whether we’re angry with our boss, partner, children or a long commute, our body secretes the hormone adrenaline, which is also produced when we are in a fearful situation. This can lead to muscle pain or spasms, along with headaches. The shoulders, neck, and back bear the brunt of this, being the parts of the body that carry the most tension.



Being angry can cause what’s known as irritable bowl syndrome, which can lead to colitis or diarrhea. Stress, fear, tension and anger can all cause intestinal imbalances.


This is one of the most common consequences of anger and the symptoms are well-known: acid reflux, pain, and a burning sensation in the stomach. Stomach acids inflame the mucus lining when you have multiple episodes of anger, so if you get angry very often it may not only provoke gastritis but can also cause stomach ulcers.


Itching, rashes, and pruritus have, among other things, anger as a main trigger. The same can be attributed to bouts of tension, stress, nervousness, anxiety and fear. If you have a wound, it can become infected or even worse because an irritable person will also irritate their wound more than usual.

4 skin problems

Anger, irritation, and health

Of course there are some people who get angry more easily, while others tend to stay calm. These feelings affect not only ourselves, but also others around us as we indicated above.

There are many different causes of anger and it largely depends on the individual. What is certain is that the sum total of a series of problems or setbacks in life can cause us to lose control over our emotions. Anger is a reaction of the mind that allows it to affirm that it is in the right, which is why an angry person may shout, for example.

Anger can also be caused by a threat, stress, or events that occur that the individual has no control over. But suppressing anger is never good, because it can affect both psychological and physical health.


How to avoid getting angry?

The key, say psychologists, is self-control. The rapid pace of our daily lives lets us get angry about the smallest things – we don’t give ourselves time to take a “break” to reflect. It starts to seem like the whole world is conspiring against us to unleash our wrath. Long commutes, frustrating daily tasks, financial woes, relationship worries, and personal problems shouldn’t become reasons to be angry, however. While that may seem easier said than done, go about changing your habits slowly. It’s important to take ten minutes a day to reset the mind. How? Try meditation or yoga, do breathing exercises, or simply get a cup of tea and a good book and sit down to listen to the birds in the yard.


An ideal space for relaxing is a clean and tidy room that’s filled with a reassuring scent, such as incense or an essential oil. Put on some calming music. The sounds of nature, classical music, or music used for meditation are all excellent choices. Close your eyes, breathe deeply through your nose, and let this soothe you.

In the instant that your anger is about to rise, try to recall this feeling of peace. Another useful technique is to breathe slowly and steadily while counting down from ten to one. Do your best to not react in the instant of aggression or in the face of a problem, and your irritation or anger will slowly subside.