You juggle the issues and demands of your job, bosses, work overload, e-mails, relationships, kids, aging parents and just dealing with daily hassles. Did you know that research shows the average American sends at least 110 texts a day? Stress is inevitable! That said, stress doesn’t just happen. Stress is a process; triggered when you are pushed or pulled beyond what you consciously or unconsciously think is your ability to successfully cope. There is an epidemic of stress in America.
Here are some facts about what happens when the stress process is triggered: 77% of us regularly experience physical symptoms due to stress, 75% report experiencing anxiety, frustration, or anger, and 50% report lying awake a night due to stress while the remaining 33% report living with extreme stress!
That’s where Stress Relief Coach Radio comes in… (www.crntalk.com/stressreliefradio) We talk and discuss the science behind stress and health. Our goal is to help you transform potentially harmful reactions to life’s triggers into healthy responses. Let’s talk about anger.
The idea that stress can cause heart attacks began in 1959 with the findings of two cardiologists, Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosen. It was the upholstery guy hired to reupholster the waiting room chairs who commented on the fact that only the front edges of patient chairs were worn out. This observation led Friedman and Rosen down a path of understanding why patients who came to their offices with heart disease seem to be literally “on the edge of their seats.” Five years later they described Type A Behavior Pattern in a landmark article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). If you think you are a type A, you will love this description from the original article Type A behavior pattern “is a particular complex of personality traits, including “excessive competitive drive, aggressiveness, impatience, a sense of time urgency as well as a free- floating, but well rationalized form of hostility and almost always a deep-seated sense of insecurity.” Although the precise relationship between Type A and heart disease was not initially known, it was clear that persons with Type A behaviors were at greater risk of having a heart attack.
Fast forward a few decades; subsequent research has confirmed that anger is the lethal component of the Type A behavior pattern. An episode of anger can trigger a myocardial infarct (heart attack). In a study, patients were interviewed within one week of a heart attack and 2.4% reported episodes of anger within the two hours prior to a heart attack onset. The level of anger corresponded on a scale to the subjects feeling “very angry, body tense, clenching fists or teeth.” The most frequent causes of anger were: arguments with family members (25 %), conflicts at work (22 %), and legal problems (8%). So what does this all mean? That there was a 2.5 greater risk of heart attack following episodes of anger; especially during the first two hours after an outburst of anger.
The truth is that anger is but one mechanism of how stress can lead to heart problems. The heart and blood vessels are particularly sensitive to acute and chronic stress. With every beat, the heart not only pumps blood, but transmits complex patterns of neurological, hormonal, pressure and electromagnetic information to the brain and throughout the body. The heart is uniquely positioned as a powerful communication hub that connects the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. There is an elaborate feedback network of hormones, chemicals and nerves that exist between the brain, the heart and centers of thoughts and emotions. It’s no surprise then that there is a strong StressHealth cardiovascular disease connection. You can’t let stress rob you of clear thinking, joy, productivity and happiness. and most importantly your health. Tune in. Listen, Learn. Live.