Anger Management for Healthier Living

For many, it began when they were children, when parents told their daughters that age-old saying, “Little girls should be seen and not heard.” Even as these children matured, society promoted this; throughout time, the ideal woman was portrayed as being quiet, unobtrusive and demure. But is it always a good idea to hold one’s tongue? Recent studies suggest that it may be this sort of behavior that is driving more and more women to an early grave.

Specialists at St. John’s University in New York have discovered that, while both men and women can become equally upset when angered, women are far more likely to swallow that anger down and hold onto it for a longer period of time than their male counterparts. Women are also more likely to choose to loose friendships, “writing them off,” and opting to never speak with them again, rather than to simply verbalize their displeasure.

For years, this has been what was expected of women, though researchers at the University of Michigan have found that, over long periods of time, women that continued to bury their anger were 3 times more likely to die prematurely of cardio vascular disease and / or cancer. Women who dealt with their troubles and irritation immediately were far more healthy. Even the British Medical Journal reported, in November, that women who express their hostility have a lower risk of heart disease. Additionally, when we become angry, it can often trigger the release of catecholamines – hormones, like adrenaline, which can make a person feel very lucid and clearheaded. In fact, Carnegie Mellon psychologist, Jennifer Lerner, Ph.D., found that those who reacted to negative stimulus, using short bursts of anger, were better able to control situations and filled with more optimism than those who avoided conflict.

In the same breath, however, while it is healthy to express one’s angerâÂ?¦ this is not grounds for women to become shrill shrieking harpies at the slightest provocation. Anger specialist, Robert M. Fraum, Ph.D., of Manhattan, suggests that people should practice what he calls “emotional efficiency” – get angry when provoked. When you are angry, tell people that you are talking about your feelings, not them and, under no circumstance, should you engage in “off-target fighting,” and drudging up insignificant events from the past. If you are upset with someone, talk to them and tell them your problems, but do so without blowing things out of proportion and exaggerating.

Learning how to properly release anger will not only help release stress, but will promote good health and improve self image. As with all things, however, practice moderation and, regardless of how upset you become, do not be insulting or demeaning. Use your head and be sure not to amplify a bad situation.

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