The answer might be yes. According to a 2006 Harvard study, about 1 in 10 adult men – and 1 in 20 adult women – get so angry they’re literally sick. Experts call it Intermittent Explosive Disorder – or IED. That’s you if you blow up at least twice a week, and get SO angry you’re likely to damage property, threaten others, or hurt somebody. Experts say that people who suffer from IED also have fewer friends, are more likely to be divorced, and are less likely to have a decent job. Also, studies show that being chronically angry increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
So, here’s how to deal with anger in a healthier manner. These tips come from Rodale publications:
- First, when you’re angry, don’t turn to friends whose idea of helping is to hand you a baseball bat and urge you to break a few windows. Brad Bushman is a psychology professor at the University of Michigan and he says that friends often validate angry feelings and make them seem more justified. Instead, find someone who can provide productive advice for solving problems. Like a family member, counselor, or pastor.
- Next, if you get into a fight with your significant other, don’t keep rehashing the argument in your head. Why? Cardiovascular expert, Dr. Bill Gerin, explains that stressing over a blowup can elevate your blood pressure for hours. Instead, do something incompatible with anger. In other words, distract yourself with a movie, a puzzle, or your favorite magazine until you calm down.
- Tensing up your neck and shoulders, jaw or fists. Psychotherapist Ronald Potter-Efron says that muscle tension can cause chronic tension headaches. So, relax and release your anger! Try lying flat and relaxing from the top down. Starting with your neck and jaw, followed by your shoulders, arms and back.
- Finally, if you’re angry, don’t go to the gym and beat up on a punching bag. Studies show that aggressive moves keep your aggression levels high. Instead, do some cardio, pump a little iron, and stretch and visualize your anger leaving your body as the sweat evaporates.