The High Blood Pressure-Anger Connection
Learn four steps to defuse your anger—and lower your blood pressure
We simply don’t understand the tremendous role that our emotions play in health. And none is more dangerous than anger.
Anger—especially the kind that we bottle up and try to ignore—places a great burden on your cardiovascular system by increasing your blood pressure and heart rate. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can avoid inflicting this kind of prolonged stress on your heart if you are willing to get in touch with your anger and realize what it is doing to your health.
Of course, that’s often easier said than done. Most of us are out of touch with our anger and deny it, which may ultimately lead to high blood pressure.
One-on-one psychotherapy can be helpful, but if you can’t or don’t want to do that, try this four-step technique to deal with your anger before it deals your heart health a major blow:
- Acknowledge your anger. You can’t solve a problem if you won’t admit to having it. Acknowledge you have anger in you, so you can own it and manage it.
- Recognize your insight. After acknowledging your anger, you then need to realize that just having this insight is curative, because you are owning up to the anger you are experiencing and not repressing it.
- Ask some questions. Now answer for yourself, “Is this worth my emotional investment?” If it is, then ask, “Is it worth raising my blood pressure or having a heart attack over this? Is it worth dying for?” Or: “If I get upset and angry, is it going to make a difference?” I can tell you that simply asking these questions will make a difference because you’ll be breaking your pattern of reacting to anger unconsciously.
- Move forward. Finally, take some deep breaths, listen to your body, make a decision (to be angry or not), and go with the flow. Either feel the anger or let it go: Don’t hold onto it or repress it.
Remember, anger is normal, and a flash of angry feelings is healthy. Anger is dangerous only when you are out of touch with it. If you are in touch with your anger, you won’t need to be chronically angry, and you can let go of your hostile, angry feelings. Suppressing angry feelings, on the other hand, can wreak havoc on your blood pressure, your heart—and your life.
More Dr. Sinatra Advice on Lowering Blood Pressure Naturally
Is chronic stress causing your high blood pressure? Learn eight time-tested stress-reduction techniques to lower your blood pressure.
What’s the best diet for high blood pressure? Learn how the Pan-Asian Mediterranean (PAM) approach to eating can help lower your blood pressure.
Which nutritional supplements will help lower your blood pressure? Find out about the core supplements I recommend for everyone with cardiovascular concerns, plus some additional ones specifically for those with high blood pressure.
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Meet Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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