As if we didn’t have enough diseases to try to avoid, the current election has created a new one—Political Anxiety Disorder or Election Stress Disorder—hospitalizing many people across the nation. They’re so upset about the outcome of the election affecting their lives, that they’re having panic attacks and all the physical symptoms of anxiety:
- Pounding heart, sweating.
- Headaches, stomach upset, or dizziness.
- Frequent urination or diarrhea.
- Shortness of breath.
- Muscle tension, tremors, and twitches.
- Fatigue or insomnia.
“Anxiety weighs down the heart.” —Proverbs 12:25a
“So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body.”—Ecclesiastes 11:10a
Anxiety Can Lead to Anger
If you receive my monthly About His Work Ministries email newsletter,* the opening article this month was “When Things Are Out of Control.” I received more comments on that article then I have from any article I’ve written all year. When things happen that we don’t like or don’t want to experience, but can’t change, it makes us anxious and we can become angry. Anger is a legitimate feeling and reaction, but what we do with that anger can damage our health, our body, and our relationships.
Unbridled anger results in bitterness, hardening of the heart, and often an offensive attitude that expresses itself in vile words and/or aggressive behavior. While there may be a quick release of angry emotion, if the root cause of the anger continues it eats away at mind, body, and soul, and others become victims of the residual fallout.
As the election progresses, I’ve had the most angry, vulgar, mean, vicious lashing out comments I’ve ever experienced on my blog posts and Facebook posts. It’s alarming that people live with such angry, bitter thoughts in their minds and hearts and use hurtful, X-rated words in their daily lives. I’m sure when the election is over, they’ll find something else to be angry about and their health, both physical and mental, will suffer.
Today it’s almost impossible to have a debate without it turning into a disagreement.
“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.”–Psalm 37:8
Where is the Anger Originating?
“Don’t sin by letting anger control you.”—Ephesians 4:26 NLT
“People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.”—Proverbs 14:29 NLT
Do you know the media outlets design the news to raise your blood pressure, anxiety level, and anger meter? They purposely create headlines to generate a negative response. The media wants you to engage angrily with either the person or situation their reporting on—they want you mad. Occasionally, they’ll throw in a feel good story, but usually it’s SENSATIONAL “BREAKING NEWS” not substantiated or factual . . . just hearsay, opinions, or “maybes” . . . and you walk away worried . . . angry.
“As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!”—Proverbs 25:23 NLT
I write articles for an online Christian magazine, and they’ve discovered that the more negative the title, the more people read the article. Christians are being conditioned right along with everyone else.
Physical Signs of Anger
What does anger do to you physically? Some symptoms are . . .
- clenching your jaws or grinding your teeth.
- stomach ache.
- increased and rapid heart rate.
- sweating, especially your palms.
- feeling hot in the neck/face.
- shaking or trembling.
- stress which can cause anxiety.
- increased blood pressure leading to heart disease.
- eating disorders.
You could pick from the above list, or add to it how you feel when you’re angry or someone around you is angry. Next time, take note of how your body reacts. Or better yet, learn to control your anger and remove yourself from an angry environment or situation.
What Can We Do About Anger to Help Our Bodies?
- Our anger may stem from feeling out of control. We don’t think we can make a difference or change our circumstances, but we can. When you’re doing something about a situation and you feel a sense of hope and purpose . . . your anger subsides. I’m going to refer you to a post I wrote for Crosswalk for how to make a difference one person at a time: You Don’t Have to Get Elected or Make Movies to Change Culture.
- In my Bible study Face-to-Face with Euodia and Syntyche: From Conflict to Community, I discuss the damage anger can do to our bodies if we don’t learn how to deal with it:
Anger is an emotion felt in the moment that requires quick resolution. Many horrific acts occur and hateful words hurl in a “fit of anger.” You cannot retrieve actions or words.
Uncontrolled raging anger makes us, and everyone around us, miserable. Pastor Doug Fields, likes to describe anger in terms of “outies” and “inies.” An “outie” is someone who spews out anger and doesn’t hold anything back. You know exactly how mad outies are and they want you to know. Often outies are over their anger once they have their “verbal vomit,” as Pastor Doug calls it, and they’re ready to move on. The problem with outies is the potential for people to be hurt, and even maimed, during the verbal, and maybe even, physical outburst.
Inies on the other hand are the ones that profess they aren’t mad. “Everything’s fine.” they say, maintaining a thin smile while stewing and brewing inside. They may stuff down their anger for a long time while it burns, churns, and turns to bitterness. Inies find quiet, sly, unexpected ways to express their anger, or some never let go—the anger eats away at them physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the rest of their lives. Other inies only can hold their anger inside so long until the pressure builds into a sudden and violent explosion—the fallout being lethal to themselves and anyone in the vicinity.
So how do you have healthy anger? Here’s the “ABCD” steps to take:
Acknowledge—that you’re angry.
Breathe—take a time out and step away from the source of anger.
Call on God—He knows what you should do regarding the source of your anger—ask Him.
Defuse—release your anger to God.*
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”—1 Peter 5:7
If you receive this post by email, please comment here.