One of my favorite sayings referring to anger is “It makes my blood boil”. I was attracted to this phrase because there was some research being done on elevating blood temperature to eradicate viruses, literally burning them out of the body. Anger can have that effect, at least figuratively. Ever see someone who is angry turn all red in the face. It’s like the cartoons where we see steam coming out the ears of the angry person.
Examining anger on our health came from reading Amish Grace, about the Nickel Mines school shooting in the Amish community. There is a lot of discussion about forgiving the perpetrator and the speed at which he was forgiven. The Amish believe that forgiveness is crucial to their existence. They teach it, practice it and share its outcomes with the community. They believe that it’s necessary to forgive in order to be forgiven.
This got me thinking about the anger we feel when we’ve received a life-altering diagnosis. Many of those I’ve interviewed and sat in support groups with have expressed anger. The anger often arises out of the shattered assumptions we experience, feeling that our bodies have betrayed us. What impact does the lingering anger have on our immune system?
Can we really heal and be angry with our bodies? How can we forgive our bodies and reclaim a nurturing stance toward our biology? When we’re able to dispose of blame for our illness it’s easier to forgive. Many studies, interviews, articles put the blame for illness on the individual. We need to remember that the body is an extremely complex organism. Illness can occur when one minuscule cell decides to change course.
Forgiving our bodies, removing anger from the equation gives us one more tool in our healing practice. It provides us with fortification to take on the challenge of our illness. Reconnecting with our bodies is crucial because it’s the only body we will ever receive so treat it kindly. Turning our lives over to anger keeps us in a fighting stance and that’s not good for anyone’s health. Maximizing our chances of healing is why abandoning anger, embracing forgiveness is crucial to good health.