Are You Always Angry? Maybe It’s Cause Is Chronic Stress
If you find yourself blowing up over the smallest thing, or over-reacting when situations get out of control, or when things don’t go exactly the way you’d like them to, it may be because you are suffering the emotional and physical burnout that is associated with chronic stress.
Life has a habit of throwing us curveballs, which by definition we never seem to expect, as they aren’t part of the plan, so to speak. But when they keep on coming, we get overwhelmed, fatigued, drained, and exhausted, and the outcome is that we are frazzled, at the end of our rope, with patience that starts to run thin. This is when we find ourselves feeling moody and irritable the whole time and when frequent angry outbursts are the unhappy status quo.
When stress is chronic, adrenaline and cortisol are constantly being released and do not shut off after a short time, as they would have done in our ancient ancestors’ hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
The fear, flight, fight response was designed to deal with life or death situations, or to provide the adrenaline needed for the hunt, and, once the danger had passed, or once the hunt had been successful, this stress response would shut down and relaxation would ensue.
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However, in our modern society, stress, just like the city, never sleeps. It has us running from dawn to dusk. Our inability to shut down and relax adversely affects our sleep, our eating habits, our overall mood and, ultimately our reactions towards others. If you are habitually angry, frustrated or annoyed, you may be suffering the consequences of burnout, or adrenal fatigue, as the result of prolonged, chronic stress.
When you are sleep deprived due to stress, our bodies produce less serotonin, one of the neurotransmitters that help keep us in a calm and even mood.
Anger is also a sign that you are trying hard to control your life and everything, and possibly everyone in it. This is an unhealthy mindset that ultimately has its roots in fear: Fear of failure, of not being good enough, or fear of loss are some of the motivating beliefs that can keep you locked into angry reactions, according to Counselling Psychologist, Ella Morelle.
Luckily, there is plenty you can do to change this behavior for the better, and that begins with taking better care of you. When you are caring for others or have responsibilities at work, it is easy to place yourself at the bottom of the pile.
However, when you do this, you are likely to harbor unspoken resentments that build up over time and these, too, can result in angry outbursts.
Here are some simple tools to get you started on the road to better physical and mental health and control your anger:
• Learn to relax. Guided relaxation can help you unwind at the end of the day
• Learn to meditate. Studies find meditators produce more GABA than non-meditators. GABA is a neurotransmitter, which acts as a natural tranquilizer.
• Develop compassion and loving-kindness towards yourself and others. Anger will arise less and less.
• Practice forgiveness for yourself and for others.
• Eat well, exercise and practice good sleep habits.
• Avoid alcohol and other stimulants such as caffeine.
• Add leafy greens, organic vegetables to your diet.
• Learn to say, “No.”
• Learn to let go. As seen in the cartoon, a Buddhist monk says, “Relax! NOTHING is under control!”
If you are on stress overload and anger is your default coping mechanism, it is time to change all that by taking better care of yourself! Chronic stress kills, and affects all parts of you, in mind, body, and spirit, get yours under control today.