The Negative Effects of Chronic Stress and Anger

Chronic Stress and Anger

Anger is a potent human emotion and stress is a natural reaction to difficult and/or overwhelming situations. Chronic stress and anger can cause a myriad of physical and psychological problems such as: depression, hypertension, migraines, tension headaches and an accelerated heart rate. A variety of anger management techniques such as: writing in a diary, exercise, meditation and yoga can ease your stress, reduce your anger and improve the quality of your life.

What Are The Physical Effects of Stress and Anger On The Body?

When you are stressed it can trigger anger, rage, frustration and/or irritability. Prolonged stress and anger can activate the “fight or flight” reaction in your body. When you are stressed your body produces additional amounts of cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones. Your body then prepares to protect itself from harm by shifting blood flow from your stomach towards your muscles (so that you can flee from danger quickly). During this time your temperature rises, heart rate elevates, blood pressure increases, breathing pattern changes, self-awareness improves and you begin to sweat. Uncontrolled stress and anger caused by the continuous production of stress chemicals along with various metabolic changes can damage various parts of your body.

Health problems associated with chronic stress and anger include:

– Migraines
– Tension Headaches
– Gastrointestinal Distress (Upset Stomach, Diarrhea, Nausea, Vomiting and/or Abdominal Pain)
– Weight Gain
– Insomnia
– Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
– Skin Disorders (Eczema and/or Psoriasis)
– Strokes and Heart Attacks
– Arrhythmias (Irregular Heartbeats)
– Memory Lapses
– Teeth Grinding
– Facial Flushing
– Fist Clutching
– Cardiac Arrest and/or Death

What Are The Psychological Effects of Stress and Anger On The Body?

Chronic stress and anger can also cause a plethora of emotional and psychological issues such as: feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, depression, anxiety, self-loathing, low self-esteem, recklessness, impulsive and/or dangerous behaviors and addictions.

Psychological effects associated with chronic stress and anger:

– Helplessness and/or Hopelessness
– Fluctuating Mood Swings
– Anxiety
– Depression
– Phobias
– Aggressive and/or Impulsive Behaviors
– Rage
– Personality Changes
– Irritability
– Restlessness
– Excessive Worrying
– Sadness and Despair
– Feelings of Doubt and Insecurity
– Inattention
– Emotional Exhaustion

How Can I Reduce My Stress and Manage My Anger Issues?

Keep a Diary

Keeping a diary can help you effectively manage your stress and anger issues. Write down what is causing stress in your life, anger-related triggers, how long you have experienced stress, how you handle your stress, how you feel after an anger episode, ways that you can reduce your stress (exercising, visiting a friend, going to get ice cream, etc.) and ways that you can resolve your issues. Identifying the root of your stress and anger can help you gauge when you are overwhelmed with tasks, commitments, etc. so you can reduce your load or change your situation before it leads to physical and./or psychological problems.

Relaxation Strategies

When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, stressed and/or angry, it is time for you to take some time out to relax. Relaxation strategies such as: deep-breathing, listening to music, visiting a friend, meditating, reading a book or magazine, chatting on the phone, surfing the web and/or visualizing a relaxing scene can ease your stress and calm you down when you are angry.


Exercising can reduce your tension and help you manage your anger issues. Physical activities like working out at a gym, walking, dancing, jogging and/or lifting weights and/or participating in sports such as: basketball, football and/or soccer can help release “pent-up” emotions, especially in situations where you are at the breaking point. When you start to feel stressed and/or your anger starts to rise, step away from the situation and take a quick walk or jog around the building or down the street. When you exercise your body produces certain “feel good” brain chemicals, which balances your moods, boosts your energy and causes you to feel more relaxed and less stressed than normally.


Yoga can help release your tension, de-stress, relax your muscles and clear your mind. It can also help you manage your anger issues and achieve peace. According to a 2005 Harvard study, individuals with psychological and/or emotional issues such as: manic depression, clinical depression, schizophrenia, tension, hostility, anxiety, anger and fatigue experienced a significant decline in stress and anger after participating in one yoga session. When you constantly feel stressed, anger, anxious and/or irritable, enroll in a yoga class or practice yoga at home. Yoga reconnects your mind to your body in a peaceful way so that you can think rationally before your react with anger, rage and/or impulsivity. It can also improve your mood so that you are not easily angered.


Meditating can help clear your mind when you are stressed and/or angry. In fact, mediating can prevent you from getting angry when you are overwhelmed. When you are calm and thinking clearly, you are better equipped to think of ways to resolve your problems and/or manage your anger issues. In addition, meditating can give you a sense of internal peace that lasts the entire day. It reduces your stress so that you can see the situation more accurately. When you are stressed and/or angry, go to a place that is quiet and interruption-free and repeat a happy or calming word, thought or image in your mind. You may chant a word such as: “ooommm” or you may simply visualize a stress-free location such as: an island or beach. If neither idea works, try focusing on the sound of your breathing. Do this activity for 5 to 10 minutes. If you do not feel calmer after the first round of mediation, then continue it until you feel more relaxed.