Getting angry makes you fat! We’ve talked on the show before about how hostile feelings damage your heart and increase your chances of dying early. Well, new research shows that hotheads also gain weight faster than their more relaxed peers. Here are the details from Reuter’s news service.

French doctors tracked thousands of people over a 20-year period. At the start of the study, each volunteer completed a personality assessment that measured their levels of hostility. Then they checked in every five years to measure their height and weight. The results? Women with the highest levels of hostility tended to start heavy and stay heavy, while hostile men got fatter with each weigh-in. Obviously, the fix is to mellow out, but for a lot of people, that’s easier said than done. So, here are a few things you can try:

  • Deep breathing. It sounds like a cliché, but it’s become standard “calm down” advice for a reason. Getting angry causes shallow, rapid breathing - but taking a long, deep breath helps shut down the brain’s anger circuit.
  • Choose your battles carefully. If your child’s messy room makes you furious every time you walk by, shut the door! Now, I know you’re thinking, “If my kid cleaned their room, I wouldn't be angry!” - but remember, the point is to keep calm.
  • Think before you speak. Hostile people tend to jump to conclusions, and often those conclusions are inaccurate. You want to avoid using the words always and never. For example, if your wife asks you to clean the garage, saying, “I never get any free time!” will just escalate your feelings - and make her mad. Instead, try something like, “I know it’s important to you, but I need a little down time right now.” Then schedule a day to roll up your sleeves and get the work done.