Anger’s Role in Unhappiness and How to Remedy ItDr. Jim Collins
Everyone knows somebody who is unhappy due to underlying anger issues that cannot be resolved. It is well known that anger is a primary symptom of unhappiness and can express itself as frustration, hostility, rage and at times, revenge. Anger and unhappiness are directly associated with poor health and accelerated aging, especially when the anger is suppressed or unexpressed.
How does anger and unhappiness affect health and wellness? The Buddha puts it this way – “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”. Unexpressed anger tends to turn inward and causes physical problems like hypertension and heart disease, and psychological issues like sleep disorders and depression. Individuals who have difficulties expressing anger may also become passive aggressive.
Luckily, there are some options to resolve anger issues and return to a happier and healthier lifestyle. According to Dr. Mark E. Williams in his book, The Art and Science of Aging Well: A Physician’s Guide to a Healthy Body, Mind and Spirit, “…our choices for dealing with anger amount to expressing the anger or redirecting and channeling the energy it has aroused”.
Negative energy produced by anger can be dissipated through honest, assertive and respectful expression. Another way to handle anger is to modify one’s response to the stimulus causing an angry emotional response. Instead of acting out in anger, an individual can be more thoughtful and deliberate in his or her response. This can be summed up as mindfulness over destructiveness.
One final way to resolve anger issues that are producing unhappiness is to exercise patience. Where do anger and frustration come from? It can be argued that they both evolve when people cannot accept reality as it is. There is an ancient formula that goes like this – “frustration is expectations divided by reality”. Since all expectations cannot be fully met, people need methods for dealing with disappointments, and this calls for patience.
Patience is the ability to accept things the way they are, delay gratification, be positive that things will change. It involves being realistic about goals and expectations and putting frustration in its place. Simply put, anger can be dissolved through patience.
Some good advice for you or someone you know is honestly express angry and frustrating thoughts, modify your response in a more mindful way, and be patient. This advice may lead to better physical and emotional health as well as greater happiness in later life.