I used to get angry, very angry. I could get disproportionately angry at little things. I could feel the frustration growing in my belly, bubbling up inside.
I didn’t ever really have mechanism for venting my feelings. Some people shout, others slam doors or hit things. One of my former bosses had an elaborate array of ways to express his anger, all unpleasant and highly visible. He had proper grown up temper tantrums. I just used to get wound up and moan at people close to me, people that really didn’t deserve it.
My frustration would fester throughout the day, re-emerging every time I thought about the triggers. I’d regularly get home in a bad mood, and have a drink to help “chill out”.
I had a run-in with someone about 48 hours before my Heart Attack. A short, bad tempered interaction that left me fizzing. I was busy, trying to juggle too many things. We had a difference of opinion that quickly got heated. I’m not sure if, in itself, it was that exceptional an event. However, it’s significance increased when I ended up in hospital having undergone a Cardiac Procedure.
The individual actually sent me an email the following Monday, about 24 hours after my Heart Attack, wanting to continue our “discussion”. I just apologised and told him he was right. I was wrong.
Since my Heart Attack things have been different. I don’t see the Red Mist in the way I used to. I just don’t get the feelings in my stomach that I used to. I seem to find it much easier to let things go, to move on.
I have recently read a few articles on the detrimental health impacts of anger. It certainly couldn’t have helped me. Whether it was a symptom or a cause of my Heart Disease, things seem to have changed for me since last summer. I don’t know exactly why, but there are at least three factors that may have contributed to this change:
- Medication: My medication keeps my blood pressure artificially low. Would this influence how I would react to frustrations or not? Perhaps it’s just a positive psychological factor.
- Exercise: I am doing a lot more exercise which itself helps to relieve tension and stress. My regular sessions perhaps help dissipate any latent frustration so I just don’t get the build-up that I used to.
- Perspective: The Heart Attack provided a me with a different scale of what’s important and what’s not. Some of the things that used to wind me up make me cringe thinking about them.
I’m assuming that I still generally get myself into similar situations as I used to. The world didn’t suddenly become cleansed of unfairness, free of idiots or clear of ignorance. Things still wind me up (all too frequently I’m afraid), they just don’t have the same short or long term effect on me.
So in summary, I concur with the view that anger is bad for your health. Personally, I feel much better without so much of it in my life!