Anger is a natural emotion that everyone has felt before. But unchecked, lingering or chronic anger can be bad for your mental and physical health. In fact, one study indicates that anger can be especially dangerous for older adults.
Find out more about the impact of anger on your health. Then, check out some Bible verses to discover what God has to say about anger and how you might deal with it.
A Canadian study looked at the impact of anger on health in senior citizens. This study wasn't looking at normal levels of anger that might come and go situationally throughout life. Instead, it was looking at high levels of anger, which might be experienced by someone who turns a generally negative eye upon the world around them or is bitter about their treatment or situation.
According to the researchers, older adults with higher levels of anger were more likely to have inflammation and issues of ill health than their counterparts with less overall chronic anger. Researchers also noted that adults over the age of 80 were much more likely to experience this correlation between anger and poor health.
Anger can also impact your ability to socialize, drive you toward isolation or depression or increase anxiety.
Seniors who are dealing with high levels of anger may want to reach out for support. If you're a resident of The Gardens assisted living community in Springfield, MO, you can talk to staff members or the on-site chaplain. You might also reach out to counselors on or offline or make time to talk with trusted friends or family to help you work through anger. You can even talk to your physician about your feelings, as some strong emotions could be symptoms of physical health concerns.
Another important step for dealing with anger for seniors of faith might be turning to God's word. Here are a few Bible verses that address the topic of anger and might offer comfort, wisdom or simply a place to start in dealing with anger.
Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.
Many people of faith make the mistake of looking at anger as a sin in itself, but this is not Biblically accurate. Jesus showed anger when he cleared the temple. Anger is a human emotion with purpose and meaning. It's when we dwell in our anger and allow it to guide us that we might fall into sin.
When you're feeling angry, take time to consider why. What issues might be at play, and how can you act to solve them. Don't act out against others, and if you are angry with a person and it's in your power to talk to them and resolve the issue, do it sooner rather than later. Anger that festers is an opportunity for the devil.
Do not be eager in your heart to be angry,
For anger resides in the bosom of fools.
Anger is a hot, familiar emotion that can actually feel like the safe choice. If you're afraid of being hurt — or have been before — or you're simply tired of dealing with people and life, it's easy to dwell in anger instead. The Bible reminds us not to look to anger eagerly as an answer for anything.
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
If you act out in anger, you might stir up more of the same. You can be unhappy and even upset with someone and not lash out at them with harsh words. Gentle explanations and guidance tend to bring a better reaction, even when what you're saying can be hard to hear. This type of behavior helps stop the cycle of anger.
The Lord is gracious and merciful;
Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
Living a Christ-like life means sacrificing some of our own preferences and pride so that it's harder to bring us to anger. And when we experience anger as an appropriate reaction to a situation, if we're striving to shine the light of Christ within ourselves, it is easier to continue to respond with mercy and grace despite our emotions.
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Paul again reminds the followers of Christ that they should be mindful of what they speak and do. Words said in anger can have long-term consequences, so if you know you're running a bit hot, take a moment and a breath. If you can't speak without anger now, simply let the other people involved know that you need time to consider things and calm down and would like to talk to them later.
The ability to look at anger as a natural emotion without letting it control actions is important, no matter who you are. And if you're a senior enjoying vibrant life and community with others, it can be essential to supporting the most positive experience each day.