Day 160 ~ 177 Days of Unexpected Health Project

An Exfoliating ‘Mask’ of Health

Anger is a dead giveaway. There is no fooling feelings of anger. We may think we are tricksters when we burst out in fits of anger, assuming that our emotion is probably labeled; when actually, it isn’t. Today, as I took the roller coaster ride named P.Oed (and I’m not talking about about an address!), I discovered the Unexpected Health in…anger.

I have already talked about the harm–and the health–of getting mad (see Day 51). But the emotion of anger is a little different. You see, getting mad helps propel us toward change. We become so uncomfortable with our annoyances that we are forced out of the comfort zones we may be lingering in. But anger is different. Anger can be more than unhealthy…it can be toxic. Getting angry usually results in an eruption of irrational emotion, verbal vomit, and physical dis-ease (blood pressure rises, breath shortens, hormones get out of whack, etc). But surprisingly, anger has two powerful bits of Unexpected Health.  I will discuss these now…

The first tidbit of health from getting angry is that when our body is storing anger, we have a physical sensation to release it. I found that I needed to let go of the anger I was holding inside today, so I made a crunch-away-y0ur-frustrations salad for dinner…and of course, eating salad is healthy! Chewing is a known stress-reliever, so it is no coincidence that we may crave crunchy food when we are stressed or angry. This is one of our body’s coping mechanisms for letting the anger out…while allowing nutrients in. Now, when we experience heightened senses (which happens when we are angry), our bodies have a harder time digesting food. But sometimes, we have to physically help our emotions along, even if we do not receive complete nutritional benefit. I experienced health today by both the nutrients I was receiving and the release I was witness to.

The second Unexpected Health insight from anger is that, as I mentioned above, anger is a dead giveaway. Anger is a mask for sadness, disappointment, and fear…and realizing the underlying messages of unhealthy behavior is healthy. If you think about what makes you angry long enough, you will undoubtedly discover that something deeper is triggering your “safer” feeling of anger. Often times, getting angry is much easier than feeling sad, experiencing disappointment, and coming face-to-face with fear. When we get angry, we keep someone else at fault; we can divert attention off of ourselves and the root of our emotional upset. We keep the angry conversation at the surface instead of digging in deeper to investigate the cause of our anger trigger. When I sit with my anger long enough, what I find (annoyingly always!) is that I am sad, disappointed, or scared. But for me, anger is a much easier emotion to access.

Anger is a complicated emotion that we all experience. What seems so obvious–like our anger–is actually wrapped up into a much tighter package of let downs, sad feelings, and fear-based thinking. So the next time you get really angry, I have two suggestions: 1) when you are hungry (please don’t eat BECAUSE you are pissed!), give your body physical release by snacking on something healthFUL and crunchy; and 2) have a conversation with yourself about what might be causing the anger outburst. Ask yourself what sadness, disappoint, or fear you may be feeling when something angers you. I think you may find that these two little health tricks may keep your body nutrient-rich, and your mind richly nourished. -Until tomorrow, Jaime

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