There is a primal response even a baby freshly birthed into this world will give without having any experience or teaching:  anger.  In seconds, the newborn is unsatisfied with the room temperature, hunger pangs, or the emotional trauma of the whole ordeal—maybe just plain fear.  Cries beginning as a simple call for help take on a decidedly angry tone.

The emotion of anger comes naturally from within.  It has not been induced by someone calling the baby teasing names, taking away its toys, arguing or hurting the baby.  The anger response comes from the deepest recess of fallen human emotions…the self-centered, “take care of me first” principle.

Not a person on earth goes without displaying anger in some form.  And anger in certain situations is quite expected and the norm.  For example, the protective anger of a mother when she shields her child from an attacker, a storm, or a situation which could lead to physical harm.  Emotions are good gifts from God.  The problem is that sin so often renders them uncontrollable and selfish.

And as God would have it, I happened to read the results of a new study published in Prevention Magazine JUST before I started typing this!   It stated that anger can boost your creativity.  Anger appears to “trigger unstructured thinking, which can lead to more inventive solutions when problem solving.”   Doctors have long realized the integral part the mind plays in the health of the body.  And its obvious anger can have devastating effects on physical health.  Think antacids, aspirin, anti-depressants, sleep meds, etc.

So pay attention to your body’s response the next time something makes you angry.  Check your heart rate and breathing pattern.  Your stomach also secretes acids when anger takes over.  Your blood pressure rises and adrenalin pumps into your system while blood vessels constrict.  Hence, the fight response and a headache, and probably stomach ache if you do not relieve the stress.  Maybe ulcers if you’re not careful.

If anger is often repressed deep inside our human psyche, it eventually destroys our health and can even kill.  Chances are you know of a “Type A” personality person—maybe it’s you.   The hard-driving, competitive lifestyle tends to lead to anger even when having to wait in line.  Or when facing other drivers on the road, or a piece of office equipment that fails to function properly…or the golf or tennis shot that goes awry.  Those people are ripe for early heart attacks and strokes.   Yes, women, too!

But, it’s not the anger that is controllable.   We cannot expect to be an anger-free human being.  It comes naturally.  What we can control is our response to whatever angers us.  There’s an old adage about not being able to stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep it from building a nest in your hair!

Think about when you’ve been angry recently.  What were the underlying, or real, reasons?  Be honest.  If you want to be healthy in body and spirit, you need to do some serious reflecting on this strong emotion.  Anger does not mean you are not spiritual enough, but learning to deal with anger is an important part of spiritual maturity.

by Cindy Best

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