Anger and your healthHeidi Hadley
As the weeks have progressed, the media have been showing the panic and anger that has set in from the attention grabbing headlines about the coronavirus. In this week’s blog we will consider Total Somatics’ theme for 2020 - Focus and Insight. We will use the current feelings in society to delve into the emotion of anger and learn how to control it.
We have recently seen panic and subsequent violent behaviour in supermarkets over purchasing toilet rolls! People have been amazed at this reaction, however when people allow themselves to get caught up in their primitive stress response, the emotion of anger is triggered because people feel threatened or frustrated. Allowing this emotion to be left unchecked can create outcomes which create a ripple effect and impact many people, also causing the perpetrator to press the self destruct button. The effects of this fall out may come about from one lapse of focus, allowing anger to bubbling up inside and create a reaction.
From the moment we are born we are just a set of reflexes. However from day one, we begin using the learning part of our part and start to absorb everything around us. Anger is an emotion which can be seen from age 4-7 months. You may have experienced this. A baby may be crawling to grab something and you stand in their pathway. Their face changes from a hopeful determined look to a crumpled “how dare you” expression! The anger was expressed because you interfered with their goal to grab that item they had their eye on!
As we mature , anger can been seen dissected into further emotions, frustration and injustice. This could be from missing a deadline, to being misrepresented by a smooth talking manipulative business peer, to feeling climate change is not being taken seriously. Expressing how you feel is really important. A ten year research study from the University of Michigan School of public health discovered that people who expressed anger in response to unjust attacks and events were less likely to experience heart attacks compared to those who suppressed their anger. This doesn’t give people licence to have anger outbursts, rather it is about creating open dialogue and showing respect for others’ views. What one person may say is “opinionated” because it doesn’t fit with their belief system, is another person’s long held beliefs. Maybe it is worth considering the other person's view, irrespective of age and life experience. We can always learn from each other.
Don’t push it down
As you may recall from previous blogs, I have discussed repressed emotion and how it impacts on our mind and body. Anger, when left unchecked begins to alter our physiology, pumping out adrenaline, which in turn will elevate cortisol, thereby increasing inflammation levels.
Chronic daily anger has been linked with the following issues:
- Low immune function
- Drug, alcohol and caffeine addiction
When we allow the primitive actions of our amygdala to quieten down, areas such as the pre-frontal cortex begin to take control. We can develop this mindful, objective approach to daily actions, by considering what we consume. Becoming reliant or addicted to stimulating substances, (such as sugar, nicotine and/or caffeine) creates an internal stress response. These substances stimulate adrenaline. This generates an internal stress response and causes a person to become more irritated and “cranky” needing a coffee or cigarette for instance to “think straight.” When we start using the executive functioning areas of our brain, we can move away from the artificial instant "kick" to keep us focused and alert (creating an illusion of control). Also when we can stop ourselves succumbing to other primitive responses such as anger, we start using the learning parts of our brain and begin to change its plasticity.
Mind and body approaches
We have considered that what we consume in the form of food and drink can play a huge part in our mood and internal stress response within the central nervous system.
Below are a few other mind and body proactive measures we can consider to stop ourselves feeling angry and being drawn into the fear that is permeating society at the moment:
- Limit how much radio and TV you watch. Watching or listening to the news appears to be first activity in the morning and last thing people view at night. So the negative news headlines and the fear can frame the start and end of your day.
- However negative the current news and events around you may be, focus on positive conversations and look for 5 things to be grateful for and talk about them.
- Identify with the tools taught within The Total Somatics’ Online program, when your central nervous system is switching into a stress response. Learn what your default stress response is with my online program.
- Use the advice, videos, audios and podcasts within the Total Somatics’ online program to help relax, recalibrate and refresh your mind and body with Mindful Somatic Movement.
- Develop a mindful Somatic breathing practice to accompany your daily somatic movement practice.
- Educate and empower yourself with knowledge and skills within The Total Somatics online program and also with the Really Well Women podcast found on all major podcast platforms and at www.ReallyWellWomen.com. Check out Season 1, Episode 2 as we discuss Mindset. After listening to that episode, you will see the importance of developing a healthy mindset and the impact it has on your body.
By developing this year’s theme of Focus & Insight, we are able to see with current trends in society how we can develop a mindful or awareness practice with Total Somatics. Using the knowledge and skills acquired within the online program can help create resilience as we ride the peaks and troughs of daily life.
To learn how to reduce pain, improve posture, increase mobility and develop mindfulness during very uncertain times, check out my online program at www.TotalSomatics.com.