Richard Stephenson, a transactional analysis psychotherapist and specialised addiction therapist at Nightingale Hospital, spoke to The Telegraph recently in a new article on anger.

The article, What happens to your body and your health when you lose your temper, explores the effects of rage on the human body, following new research that fits of extreme rage can lead to a stroke. 

“The global study, co-led by the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway, found that one in 11 stroke survivors had experienced a period of anger or upset in the one hour leading up to it. The large-scale research, published in the European Heart Journal this week, looked at 13,462 cases of acute stroke, involving patients with a range of ethnic backgrounds in 32 countries”, reports journalist Sharon Walker. 

“It’s no surprise that anger and upset can have this effect, say experts: when we’re livid or devastated these feelings trigger the fight or flight response, stress hormones skyrocket, while heart rate and blood pressure soar,” she said.

Walker turned to Stephenson, amongst other experts, to uncover the motives behind anger, and how we can control the emotion.

Although anger can cause various physical reactions, Stephenson assures readers that being angry and upset from time to time is a healthy human reaction. 

“It’s actually healthy to express anger,” says Stephenson.

“It’s rage that’s the bad thing; if you don’t say anything, but you sit there and brood,” he continued. 

Additionally, Stephenson highlighted that an angry reaction to something is often a front for other types of emotions. 

“Behind the anger you’ve got sadness, fear, resentment, pain, and because people can’t express their emotions, it comes out as anger. When people are rageful there’s usually something that’s happened in their history.”

The various experts quoted in the article all stressed the importance of learning how to manage these emotions in a constructive way. 

anger management nightingale london

Some of the tips on how to effectively control anger and rage include:

  • Controlled deep breathing and mindfulness techniques
  • Being aware of your own triggers and thought processes
  • Tackling emotional issues that might lay beneath your reactions

Stephenson encouraged readers to actively consider their approach to whatever made them angry in the first place. “You can say, ‘That upset me, you’ve let me down.'”, he suggested.

You can read the article in full here.

Do you feel as though you have issues controlling your temper? Read more about anger problems, or enquire about how Nightingale Hospital can support you or a loved one by filling out the form below. 

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