Being a physician gives us a unique privilege to delve into the mind, soul, and body of our patients. Being an elder care physician, I am writing this based on my personal experiences and insight wrought of my practice. What I have always found very fascinating is the subject of "hidden anger" and how it impacts people's health.
I recently was asked by my staff to attend to a patient in our waiting area. Amidst the commotion, I found a patient on the floor having a lot of seizure-like movements. Her husband was calmly sitting next to her and smiling. I was shocked and amazed. There was panic in the waiting area. The husband said to me, "don't worry doc! She does this whenever we fight "!! It made complete sense these are called pseudoseizures which are emotional or stress related. I have seen anger or hidden anger manifest as high blood pressure, headaches, migraines, vision problems, body aches, insomnia, joint pains, and so many other manifestations.
To be angry is to suffer, it doesn't help anyone to get angry! Anger hurts whoever is angry and impacts those around us. It has disastrous effects on caregivers and sincere family members who are doing their utmost to take care of sick loved ones. It burns. Anger ruins relationships cause heartache and regret and devastate health. Hidden anger is very prevalent among seniors But rarely discussed openly. I think a key point, especially with hidden anger is that under anger we always find lurking ...fear. So in many instances, the real question might be what you fear the most?
Some of the hidden anger in seniors, surrounds issues related to declining health, inability to participate in favorite activities like golf, tennis,hiking,travel etc., strained or distance separation from family, loss of a spouse or significant other, unmet life goals, uncompleted "bucket lists", loss of close friends and peers due to deaths, terminal illness diagnosis and sometimes retirement that wasn't "planned well".
Anger is not in our inherent nature. Almost all Scriptures of different religions talk about anger and its impact. The Holy Bible (James 1:20)says "because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires". Even the Hindu Scripture, "Gita" says anger impairs judgment, just as the morning mist creates a hazy covering on the sunlight. In anger, people commit mistakes that they later regret, because the intellect gets clouded by the haze of emotions. When the intellect is clouded, The person then forgets what is right and what is wrong and flows along with the surge of emotions. Since the intellect is the internal guide, when it is destroyed, one is ruined.
And yet, in spite of all these facts when we are angry, it feels right! Somehow in some unseen way, anger proves to whoever is experiencing it's heated feelings that he's or she's right even though, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Anger feels like it is in your best interest because, at the time of it's intrusion into your life, it temporarily fills you with a powerful sense of self. However, this anger can only exist without your conscious consent or awareness of us being there.
It is never in your best interest to suffer, no matter, how inwardly convincing it may feel to you that you will be betraying yourself if you don't. Anger hypnotizes you with the flood of itself.
Step back and learn to listen to the quiet stream of higher insight ( some may call it God) that runs softly through your true nature which is higher than your body, mind, and intellect. Let it show you that your anger and suffering proves nothing.
The next time some hostile state takes you over, either in thought (because in remembering something someone did to you in the past) or in an actual moment of conflict with someone standing before you, take the following inner steps as soon as you can remember yourself to do so: Start by saying that something foreign to you and your true nature has imposed itself on you, taken over your life. Once having done this, do nothing else except realize that while you may be temporarily powerless to stop the lower state from possessing you, you are empowered to recognize the negative state as the intruder it is. This awareness, this conscious non-self justifying awareness of your true pained condition is what it means to put a light on the problem. That's your job. Your God or whatever you believe in as a higher being will do his or her part if you will just do yours.
A practical approach to Negative emotions and enlightened perceptions
Elimination and decreased negative emotions –
.As soon as a negative emotion arises simply withdraw from it
. Shift to something pleasant like tenderness, anticipation, sense of beauty.
. Avoid power struggles
.A moment of silence saves great regret. The most powerful and influential event that occurs when you are silent in such a situation is that it disarms others
.Interrupt your pace and stress: Stop doing the same thing over and over without a break if you keep doing what you are doing you'll keep getting the same result
.Increase your emotional awareness. Give a name to your feelings ......tell the person that's bothering you that when he or she does what they are doing, you feel.....(name exactly the feeling you are feeling)......depressed, lonely ,disgusted ,angry ,frustrated ,ignored ,victimized ,rejected ,sick ,exhausted ,powerless ,listless ,burnt out ,embarrassed, pressured ,worthless, anxious ,scared, hopeless ,weak or any of those kinds of words..... give a name to your feelings and say it!!
There might be some amongst you who might critique this article by saying that this article digresses towards beliefs and borders on higher powers rather than my medical beliefs and empathetic handling of elder patients. To those detractors, I say that my job is to tell you to act on the issues before its too late. Taking actions is certainly in the individuals' hands. I also firmly believe in the strength of spirituality and beliefs which anchor us and show us the means of handling these delicate issues which are the cause of hidden anger. I for certain do not want to compete with holistic spiritual healers
When life gets tough what spills over? Is it joy, peace, gratefulness and humility or anger, bitterness, harsh words, and actions? Let us work towards filling our cups with gratitude, joy, forgiveness, and words of affirmation, kindness, gentleness, and love! No one on this earth, towards the twilight of their lives, can say that they have no regrets. Let's be content with where we all are on our journeys on this planet and have no regrets or fears. What awaits all of us is universal so why the fear of the unknown. Let's make the best of all that we have. Keep our heart and mind open, remember, we are on a journey in all things and righteousness governs all actions. Most importantly let us learn to forgive and forget. If you decide to still be unhappy and have " Hidden Anger" all it's going to do for me is .... keep me in business as your physician!!
Signing off, till next month ... No Hidden Anger, please!!