Trending News: Anger and aging don’t mix well
Have you ever been told to control your anger? Do you sometimes struggle with a short temper? Need a reason to create positive change?
If the answer is yes, I’ve got some news that you may find interesting. According to a new study published by the American Psychological Association (APA), anger may be worse than sadness as you get older. Specifically, I am talking about it contributing to increased inflammation and the risk of chronic illness.
For this investigation, scientists studied a group of adults between the ages of 53-93 over a one-week period in a community setting. Researchers recorded the participant’s frequency of feelings of sadness and anger and inquired if they had any chronic illnesses. Participants were also tested for levels of inflammation.
The study’s findings were compelling. Here’s what Dr. Carsten Wrosch, a co-author with Concordia University shared in a statement.
“We found that experiencing anger daily was related to higher levels of inflammation and chronic illness for people 80 years old and older, but not for younger seniors. Sadness, on the other hand, was not related to inflammation or chronic illness.”
The findings of this research suggest that younger people may be at less risk for anger-related chronic illness and inflammation because (on some level) they feel they still have time to develop healthy coping skills.
Conversely, older folks may feel they don’t have time to adapt. As a result, feelings anger can build, thereby negatively impacting health.
The results of this investigation suggest that for older people, it may be important to find healthier ways of discharging emotions, so they don’t become pent up. In turn, this may help to minimize the risk of developing a chronic illness.
One way to cope with anger is through mindfulness-based approaches like deep breathing and meditation. Other strategies include self-compassion, something previous studies have shown can positively influence health.
The authors of the APA study believe that education and therapy may benefit older adults by helping them to learn new skills.
Meaghan A. Barlow, the lead author of the study, offers the following in a statement: “If we better understand which negative emotions are harmful, not harmful or even beneficial to older people, we can teach them how to cope with loss in a healthy way. This may help them let go of their anger.”
How do you control your feelings? Do you take active steps to discharge your anger in healthy ways? If so, what are they? Share your comments below.