Why Controlling Your Anger May Help You Live Longer

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The driver who cuts you off in traffic. The neighbors who don’t pick up after their dog. The insurance company that keeps you on hold for an eternity. Situations such as these get your heart racing and send your stress levels skyrocketing. Anger isn’t a pleasant feeling. Some of us bottle up the emotion, while others explode in a wild rage. Both habits have repercussions for your body, mind, and relationships.

Anger is normal

Anger may feel uncomfortable, but it can be healthy. “A lot of people think they have to get rid of their anger,” says Patrick Keelan, a registered psychologist in Calgary, Alberta. “But anger is an emotion built into us to signal that something needs to be addressed.” When we take notice of that signal and actually rectify the problem instead of ignoring it, we’re usually much better for it.

Unfortunately, we’re raised to keep emotions hidden. Increasingly, research is suggesting that this can have long-term effects on our health. Investigators at the University of Rochester published results in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research indicating that people who suppress their emotions may die sooner than those who are better at expressing emotions. When we’re angry, stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released, which can make us prone to developing a wide range of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, depression, and autoimmune conditions.

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