Traffic jams, rude shop workers, cold callers – whatever it is that gets your blood boiling, just learn to let it go. You’ll live longer for it, according to a study.
Over a 30-year period, scientists found that men who were the angriest had a 1.57-fold increased risk of dying.
Published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, the study surveyed 1,300 men aged between 20 and 40, asking them each year from 1968 whether they ‘get angry fairly easily’. They were then followed up in 1997.
The researchers, from Iowa State University, found that the quarter of men who were most angry were considerably more likely to die than the quarter who were least angry.
But why would anger lead to an earlier death?
Their work could not provide a direct link as such – but they pointed to other research showing the effect of anger on our physical health.
The study said: “Prior work has linked anger with a variety of negative physiological processes …which can lead to serious and potentially fatal events such as heart attack.”
Graham Price, a London chartered psychologist who treats people with anger issues, said he was not surprised by the result. “Anger is a form of stress and stress increases cortisol levels in the bloodstream.
“Studies have shown that if anger or other forms of stress are maintained over long periods, negative health impacts can result including developing IBS or increased strokes, heart attacks and other cardiac problems.
"People who are quick to become angry have developed exaggerated unconscious beliefs about injustice that may have been triggered by past negative experiences – and have almost certainly been reinforced by excessive expression of anger over a long period.”
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy has help and advice on anger management, with therapies ranging from mindfulness to CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).
How do you control your rage? Or do you find it impossible to keep your cool? Let us know in the Comments below.