Extreme Esteem: The Perfect Storm

“The best fighter is never angry.”

– Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher and writer

“I’m angry,” he declared. “I’m really freakin’ mad! That’s why I’m here today!”

A while back, a client booked a last-minute appointment with me at the local wellness centre. As I ushered him into my treatment room, I could tell he was stirred up. Over the next hour, he unleashed a tirade of resentment and rage about the “unfairness” of his life.

If you’re living or working with someone locked in a prolonged state of anger, it can seem like an emotional storm – a tempest of harsh words, brutal judgments and cruel actions that can prove tremendously damaging to your self-esteem, sense of worth and significance.

We all get angry. Some people get angry occasionally while others seem to live in an unremitting state of anger. Anger is a natural emotion and a crucial one. It is a facet of our fight or flight response and has prompted people to rail against injustice and defend the rights of others. On a personal level, anger has motivated people to say, “I’ve had enough,” to stand up for their rights and set clear and appropriate boundaries – an aspect of healthy self-esteem.

Emotions are created by chemicals released into the body. When anger (or any other heightened emotion for that matter) is left to flare unchecked, the body begins to labour and break down – unable to cope with a sustained flood of adrenaline and stress hormones.

In his thought-provoking book Deadly Emotions: Understanding the mind-body-spirit connection that can heal or destroy you, New York Times best-selling author Dr. Don Colbert explains the link between sustained levels of anger and rage and physical pain and disease.

“The stronger the emotion,” says Colbert, “the more powerful the explosion.” To put it frankly, if we stay in a prolonged state of frustration and anger, we will irreparably damage our relationships, our jobs, self-esteem and, most importantly, our health and well-being.

A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic linked psychological stress (anger in particular) to future cardiac events including heart disease, cardiac arrhythmia and even, cardiac failure.

Anger can also be repressed, meaning it’s turned inward. Notes Colbert, common ailments for those who repress anger are tension and migraine headaches, eczema, colitis, ulcers, asthma, insomnia, frequent urination and irritable bowel syndrome.

Colbert explains that anger is a conditioned response. We’ve been trained to be angry when we encounter specific circumstances or situations. Angry individuals may not realize how inappropriate their anger is or even consciously recognize the triggers that provoked it. Worst case scenario, they just don’t care and feel justified in “raising the roof” when the impulse strikes.

If you’re the angry one, take time to refocus and collect your thoughts. Calm down and practise deep-breathing exercises. Slow, deep-breathing induces the relaxation response. You might consider reducing your caffeine intake, take up a fun hobby or use relaxation techniques. Developing your self-esteem could also prove highly beneficial in controlling your temper. If you just can’t “cool your jets” remember, there’s no shame in seeking professional help.

If the anger is directed at you by another, ask yourself if it’s justified. What role have you played and is there anything you can do (or should do) to resolve the situation? Stay calm and speak slowly and directly – try to de-escalate the situation. Know when to unplug. Suggest the issue be discussed later when “heads” are cooler.

Most importantly, stay safe. People can be angry without getting physical, but should someone become aggressive, remove yourself immediately from the situation. If you’re in a relationship where sustained anger is damaging your self-esteem and threatening your physical well-being, get out quickly and get help.

My client left me frazzled. Our session ended with him exclaiming, “It’s obvious you can’t help me,” at which point, he stormed out never to return. To be honest, he was right.

Just Posted

Horses left in trailer found in the ditch near Bentley returned to owners, no charges laid

Two horses found in an abandoned trailer near Bentley have been returned… Continue reading

RCMP close intersection where Humboldt Broncos bus, transport truck collided

REGINA — Police have closed the intersection where the team bus for… Continue reading

Supreme Court upholds law in cross-border beer case, averting trade shakeup

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed the constitutionality of… Continue reading

Trudeau attends Commonwealth meeting looking for less plastic, more LGBTQ rights

LONDON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will add his voice today to… Continue reading

Nova Scotia premier defends work ethic of Jamaicans after comments by Tory

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s premier has responded to controversial comments a Progressive… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s newest public art unveiled

Red Deer’s latest “ghost” sculpture is a love letter to the game… Continue reading

Howard commencement to feature “Black Panther” Boseman

WASHINGTON — The “Black Panther” is returning to his alma mater to… Continue reading

Armed police will patrol rail stations at royal wedding

LONDON — British officials say armed and undercover police officers will patrol… Continue reading

Power largely restored across Puerto Rico after blackout

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s power company said Thursday that… Continue reading

Dashing to make a flight? Order food to your gate through a delivery app

TORONTO — P.J. Mastracchio is used to dashing through airports only to… Continue reading

Alabama mayor: ‘Poop train’ finally empty; sludge gone

ATLANTA — The last train car full of New York City sewage… Continue reading

Mom to be charged in slaying of girl, 2, in Quebec City neighbourhood

QUEBEC — A Quebec City mother has been arrested in the slaying… Continue reading

Did a Canadian shoot down the Red Baron? A century later, the debate hasn’t quit

Capt. Roy Brown had ordered the young airman not to engage the… Continue reading

Mall plotters believed they were reincarnations of Columbine shooters: report

HALIFAX — They weren’t just inspired by the Columbine shooters — two… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month