Have you ever heard the saying that someone is too mean to die? Well, that may not be the truth, according to new studies.
Researchers looked at over 5,500 people in Sardinia (albeit a segregated population), and those ranked in the lowest 10% of agreeableness were 1.4 times more likely to have a thickening in the lining of their carotid artery, as compared to those who ranked higher in agreeableness. Moreover, those considered disagreeable had a 40% increased risk in arterial wall thickening. Thicker arterial walls may lead a person to become more prone to heart attacks and strokes. The study adjusted for the following: smoking, cholesterol levels, age and other risk factors. One of the researchers stated, those antagonistic individuals, ones that are manipulative and aggressive, have a greater increase in arterial thickening, independent of traditional cardiovascular risks.
Some of the other personality traits linked to a higher risk of thickened arterial walls are: being distrustful, skeptical, extremely cynical, manipulative, self-centered, arrogant and quick to express anger. While there have been many studies on the cardiovascular effects of the “Type A” personality, this research shows that hostility seems to be a major predictor to the malevolent cardiovascular effects.
And while more men, overall, had a greater thickening of the arterial walls, it was shown that women were more likely to be affected by the “hostility effect” on the cardiovascular system. So, women who show the antagonism trait demonstrated a much stronger link to a thickening of the walls, than men who showed the antagonism trait.
So, it seems that the ability to control anger may be beneficial for someone with cardiovascular disease, or someone who is at risk. Below are five ways to reduce your anger.
1. Take a break. If you feel you are about to explode, take five minutes before you display any emotions. Use this time to talk yourself down.
2. Use deep breathing. It is impossible to stay in an angered state if you make yourself deep breathe. In through your nose and out through your mouth, with a five count on each.
3. Try to put things in perspective. Will anyone remember what you are upset about in 5 years? Does this really affect things, globally? Pull away from the situation and see if it is as life altering as you are making it (as it is affecting your health).
4. Distract yourself from the situation until you feel calm. Listen to music or take a brief walk. You may even want to journal your experience.
5. Reward yourself if you’ve been successful in not having an anger meltdown.