Both Eastern and Western medicine consider frequent anger a destructive emotion—but just how big a problem is it? When anger is an emotional constant, it can become a default setting when it comes to how people deal with emotionally-charged situations or anxieties. This can correspond to anger as a personality trait rather than an occasional feeling. And since anger is often accompanied by everything from nagging irritation to hostility and aggression, it can have far-reaching effects on relationships, daily life, and mental health.
Frequent feelings of anger can also impact the body in a multitude of ways. While experiencing anger, heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure all increase. There is also an increased chance of myocardial ischemia, an oxygen deficit in the cardiac muscles that pump the heart. This can lead to clogged arteries, heart attacks, and other health problems related to cardiovascular disease.
More research is needed to fully understand the relationship between anger management treatment and acupuncture; however, acupuncture has been successfully used to reduce other emotional problems like anxiety and depression. The philosophy of Chinese medicine and acupuncture is centered on the belief that if our emotions are off balance, then we exhibit inappropriate reactions that disturb our overall health. Based on this principle, correcting unstable or blocked energy may reduce the chances of a specific emotional problem like anger. Of course, a clinical assessment and cognitive behavioral therapy are customary—and beneficial—first steps for addressing issues with frequent anger. In addition to acupuncture and therapy, people who are trying to manage their anger may find these tips useful:
- When you start feeling angry, try deep breathing and positive self-talk as a way to tame angry thoughts. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm. Focus on slowly repeating a calm word or phrase such as “relax” or “take it easy.” Repeat your phrase and your intentional breathing for as long as necessary until the anger subsides.
- Consider increasing your physical activity with regular exercise as a way to both improve your mood and release tension.
- Avoid using recreational drugs and drinking too much alcohol, which can decrease your ability to handle frustration.
- Keep a written account of when you feel angry so you can track when you are having angry thoughts and recognize possible patterns and emotional triggers.
- Learn how to laugh at yourself and see humor in different situations.
Expressing anger is better than bottling it up, but you should always try to express your feelings calmly without becoming defensive or hostile. Find out more about positive forms of assertiveness and anger management skills or consult a professional therapist.
If you are looking for ways to deal with anger and emotional stress, learning more about acupuncture is a positive and proactive step. Contact us to speak with a skilled acupuncturist who will be able to answer your questions and explain the ins and outs of acupuncture for anger management.