According to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, feeling resentful or bottling up your anger may result in an increased risk of stroke for women.
Strokes occur when plaque build up in arteries results in a reduction of blood flow to the brain as the arteries narrow. An additional contributor is Atherosclerosis that occurs when chunks of plaque break away increasing the potential of a blockage.
According to the Daily Mail, that reported on the study, strokes are the third highest cause of death in America and fourth highest in England
Women are also more vulnerable to strokes than men and struggle with recovery when strokes do occur.
In their study, the researchers analyzed 304 non-smoking women between the ages of 40 and 60. They asked them a series of questions that included if they tended to put other people’s needs first over their own and if they were likely to express their true feelings about a situation.
The researchers then did ultra sounds on the women’s arteries and discovered that women who did not express their true feelings or basically bottled up their emotions had a higher risk of Atherosclerosis.
The researchers were uncertain why this happened, but suspect it may be related to an increase in stress that has a definite link to health problems, both mentally and physically.
According to the lead researcher, Karen Jakubowski, women tend to “self-silence,” which means to avoid conflict or disappointing people, women will not express their true feelings. As part of this, women need to learn to say ‘no.’
As Christians, we think that expressing anger is a sin. In fact, we are told Jesus got angry (Mark 3:5). Anger is not a sin and the Apostle Paul said as much:
Anger is an emotion, so don’t be scared of expressing your feelings on an issue. In the same chapter, Paul says that we need to express the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), in other words not harshly or angrily.
However, Paul then adds this qualifier stating that we must not let the sun go down on our anger. In other words, whatever the outcome we must deal with our anger, in this case forgive those who have offended or angered us.
And in the next verse, Paul explains why:
In the end we must forgive because unforgiveness gives Satan an opportunity which is the Greek word “topos” and more literally means a place or position. It is metaphorically used to describe an opportunity or occasion from which our spiritual enemy can launch an attack.
Paul expressed the same concern in Corinthians when he stated that he needed to forgive because if he didn’t, Satan would gain an advantage over the apostle:
Failure to forgive can result in us getting caught up in Satan’s “schemes.” This is the Greek word ‘noema’ and refers to our ‘mental perceptions’ or thought life. The best way I heard it described is that a failure to forgive allows Satan to play mind games with us.
Anger is not a sin, staying angry is.