When I was a kid I spent a lot of time on my aunt and uncle’s farm. They didn’t farm, but rather leased their land to a neighbor. They had a big garden, six apple trees, a grape arbor and lots of space to play and run. They also had a tractor and as a young teen, it was fun to drive. I remember one day turning too close to a group of bushes in the yard, dozens of yards from the house. The back wheel of the tractor got stuck between the grass and the dirt around the bushes. It began to churn up the earth. I panicked. I can still see that tractor wheel, spinning and spinning, digging down into the earth, making a bigger hole. I jumped off the tractor and ran for help. That’s where my memory stops. I’m sure my uncle came to the rescue, stopped the tractor and repaired the damage the tractor had made to the ground.
The point of this story is this: sometimes in dealing with people, we get stuck. We spin our wheels, digging ourselves a deeper and deeper hole in the relationship. At work, it might be someone who has an irritating behavior – like taking the last of the coffee and not making a new pot, or using a tool and not putting it back, or reading your screen (computer or smart phone) over your shoulder , or interrupting you. The list goes on and on, as I’m sure you are aware. You’re not sure what to say so you bite your tongue. Or it seems minor and petty to bring it up, so you silently seethe. Or you explode in a fit of rage, then later feel bad and call yourself all kinds of bad names inside your head. None of these scenarios solves the problem. You’re spinning your wheels and the only person you are hurting is you.
Research has pointed out the link between hostility and heart disease. A study done by Dr. Redford Williams of Duke University and Drs. Margaret Chesney and Michael Heck at Stanford Research Institute, revealed that frequent, prolonged and intense anger increases your risk for one of America’s biggest killer of both men and women.
Your body releases a flood of chemicals when you become angry. It rapidly increases the amount of available energy through an increase in hormones, blood pressure and pulse rate. Cortisol, one of the hormones released during heightened anger, is a particularly troublesome chemical. It damages the cells lining the heart and makes it more difficult for the body to calm down.
Your blood is also thickened by your defense system in order to protect you in case you are physically wounded. People who are fueled by a regular diet of hostility are quietly developing arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, in response to elevated levels of blood-thickening chemicals.
According to psychologist and author Hendrie Weisinger, Ph.D., no matter how many times you work out at the gym or how careful you are to eat correctly, you’re putting yourself at risk if you don’t manage your anger effectively.
Do you want to stop spinning your wheels, manage your anger and improve your health? Call us today for an appointment.