Is bitterness and anger toxic to your health?
We all have specific things that make our blood boil and grind our gears! but can stewing in bitterness and lashing out in aggression actually have a detrimental effect on your health? Well, you may be surprised to know that in addition to the adverse personal and social consequences that may accrue from having frequent and intense outbursts, there may also be toxic health outcomes.
According to research proneness to anger, bitterness and resentment place you at significant risk of Coronary Heart Disease, morbidity and death independent of the established biological risk factors.
In one report, researchers found that healthy people who are often angry or hostile are 19% more likely than calmer people to get heart disease. Among people with heart disease, those who usually feel angry or hostile fared worse than others.
Bitterness and associated diseases
There is also evidence to show that suppressed anger (bitterness) can be a precursor to the development of cancer, and also a factor in its progression after diagnosis.
Anger (bitterness) frequently accompanies autoimmune diseases.
Anger (bitterness) initiates the stress response within the body causing reduced glycaemia control.
Patterns of anger expression have also been associated with maladaptive alterations in cortisol secretion (sometimes referred to as the stress hormone), immune functioning, and surgical recovery. Some studies even indicate that it may be beneficial for patients to mobilise anger to battle their cancer.
So what is bitterness?
Bitterness is anger, resentment and disappointment at being treated unfairly.
According to psychologist Dr. Carsten Wrosch, "persistent bitterness when strong enough could affect a person's physical health ... and when harboured for a long time, may forecast patterns of biological dysregulation (a physiological impairment that can affect metabolism, immune response or organ function) and physical disease”.
What does forgiveness have to do with it?
“In order to deal with bitter emotions there is something required to enable a person to overcome the negative emotion — that something is forgiveness,” said Wrosch.
The first step to overcoming bitterness is to practice forgiveness. Some people have experienced some horrible events in their life and have every reason to be bitter. However, this emotion does not hurt whoever offended you. It hurts you. When you forgive, the offending person the situation no longer has power in your life. Here is a quote from Nelson Mandela. “As I walked out of the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.”
What simple steps can you implement today to start managing bitterness and anger?
Learning to cope with anger involves recognising anger when it comes to visit, becoming aware of the things that increase your chances of being angry, and then learning control strategies to turn the “thermostat” on your anger down.
1.One important thing is to try to identify what may be causing the triggers and replacing any negative coping patterns with positive ones. Some typical negative copying patterns can be:
• too much television
• emotional outburst
• dependence on chemicals: legal & illicit drugs.
Research has shown that by becoming aware of the triggers, an individual is able to recognise and respond rather than react to triggers which may have initiated an automatic reaction.
2. Implement calming techniques that promote a parasympathetic tone such as taking daily walks in nature and practicing deep breathing exercise.
4. Meditating on proverbs, psalms and other positive and empowering literature. Controlled studies have shown that mediating and therapies not only improve quality of life by contributing to positive thinking and reducing overall distress. It has also been found to epigenetically affect genes and other areas in our genomes that are implicated in inflammation, stress, and distress.
If you are struggling with a condition that simply will not improve and you have unresolved bitterness consider seeking professional help. You may be quite surprised to see your health issue improve. As one of my favourite writers, Ellen G White once said "Teach the people that it is better to know how to keep well than how to cure disease".
Have a great start to your week and be kind to yourself! "You are fearfully and wonderfully made"! (Psalms 139:14)
With love from Nature's Physician Nutrition Clinic
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https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11037954/ https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0145213421003914#preview-section-abstract https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/how-anger-hurts-your-heart https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/01.CIR.101.17.2034 https://www.diabetes.co.uk/emotions/diabetes-and-anger.html
Textbook of natural medicine, Joseph E. Pizzorno and Michael T Murray, p 574 Rasmussen H, Scheier M, Greenhouse J. Optimism and psysical health: a meta-analytic review. Ann Behav Med. 2009;
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