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Welcome to the Human Longevity Podcast, where we explore the science and solutions that can help you live a healthier, longer life. I’m your host, Dr. Melissa Peterson. Today, we’re diving deep into the complex world of emotions, with a focus on one powerful emotion: anger.
Picture this for a moment: you’re driving, and someone cuts you off in traffic. You’re furious. But have you ever wondered if that anger could be affecting more than just your mood? Today, we’ll explore the science behind anger and how it might be impacting your longevity.
The Two Faces of Anger
Anger, like many emotions, has a dual nature. On one side, it can be a motivational force, empowering you to take action and make positive changes. This type of anger, often referred to as “righteous anger,” is essential for driving social justice and personal growth.
Anger as a Motivational Force
When you acknowledge your anger, express it appropriately, and then take constructive action, it can be a catalyst for change. Anger is part of our primal fight-or-flight response, releasing adrenaline and dopamine, motivating you to address the source of your anger.
The Dangers of Repressed Anger
On the other side of the emotional spectrum lies repressed anger. This insidious form of anger, when held onto and ruminated over, can lead to adverse consequences. Studies show that it can even age you prematurely, taking up to five to ten years off your life.
The Chemical Response to Anger
When you experience anger, your brain initiates a series of chemical reactions to prepare your body for action. Cortisol and adrenaline surge, increasing your heart rate and sharpening your focus. This response is essential when you channel your anger into productive action.
However, when you let anger linger without taking action, your body continues to release stress hormones. This ongoing chemical surge can lead to inflammation, insulin resistance, and other factors associated with accelerated aging.
The Health Consequences of Repressed Anger
Research indicates that repressed anger is associated with a 35% increased risk of all-cause mortality and a 47% increased risk of heart disease. Even more alarming, individuals who harbor repressed anger are 70% more likely to develop cancer, thanks to the activation of growth pathways in the body. (1)
The Path to Thriving Through Emotions
The good news is that you have the power to shift the way you respond to anger. You can leverage the motivational aspect of anger, express it constructively, and then move forward with a healthier perspective.
The Three-Step Process: Acknowledge, Express, Forgive
- Acknowledge the Emotion: The first step is to acknowledge your emotions. Remember, your feelings are your inner guidance system, helping you navigate life.
- Express Appropriately: If you can safely express your anger, do so. Healthy emotional expression is about acknowledging the emotion and then allowing it to pass.
- Forgive: If you find it challenging to let go of anger, forgiveness can be a powerful tool. Forgiving yourself and others for the emotions you carry is liberating. (2)
To support your journey in managing anger and promoting emotional well-being, I’ve created a free guided meditation. This uses the Ho’oponopono forgiveness method paired with the power of gratitude to bring about deep profound peace and wellbeing. This meditation, available for download at Human Longevity Institute Forgiveness Meditation, can help you release pent-up emotions and foster emotional freedom. (3)
Remember, aging is optional, based on your beliefs, perceptions, and responses are vital elements that will impact how your body responds either speeding up or slowing down how you age and experience life. Your emotions are a part of what makes you feel alive and act as your inner GPS. By learning to acknowledge, express, and manage them, you can live a more vibrant and healthier life.
By expressing your emotions, you can thrive forward and age backward, making every day your best day.
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Free Meditation: https://humanlongevityinstitute.com/forgive.
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- Chapman BP, Fiscella K, Kawachi I, Duberstein P, Muennig P. Emotion suppression and mortality risk over a 12-year follow-up. J Psychosom Res. 2013 Oct;75(4):381-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2013.07.014. Epub 2013 Aug 6. PMID: 24119947; PMCID: PMC3939772.
- 2. Webster NJ, Ajrouch KJ, Antonucci TC. Towards Positive Aging: Links between Forgiveness and Health. OBM Geriat. 2021;4(2):10.21926/obm.geriatr.2002118. doi: 10.21926/obm.geriatr.2002118. Epub 2020 May 12. PMID: 34296188; PMCID: PMC8293913.
- 3. 35 Benefits of Gratitude https://research.com/education/scientific-benefits-of-gratitude