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Why anger management should be a top priority

Mar 04, 2015 02:00PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds

Any of us who navigate daily commutes in the Baltimore-Washington corridor have, no doubt, teetered on the edge of road rage more times than we would like to admit. And that may be an even bigger problem than you think.

Recent research tells us we should stop being concerned about getting to our destination 10 or 15 minutes later...or we might arrive at our final destination a lot sooner.

According to a report published in the European Heart Journal: Acute Cardiovascular Care, a Journal of the European Society of Cardiology, the risk of heart attack has been found to be eight and a half times higher in the two hours following an acute episode of anger than during the “usual frequency” patterns of anger and “join a growing body of evidence linking acute emotional triggers with the onset of MI [myocardial infarction].”

The investigators suggest that findings such as these coincide with an “increased acceptance of the role psychological factors, both acute and chronic, in the onset of MI heart attack, and sudden cardiac death, and stroke” and “are consistent with previous reports in other populations.”

A sudden, severe outburst of anger (the type that may well surface as you sit trapped in an endless line of brake lights as you fruitlessly try to reach 295 southbound) can be remarkably harmful. Try taking deep breathes, listen to calming music rather than all-news radio, or listen to a compelling book on tape. And, above all, realize that getting mad won’t change a thing—except, perhaps, your entire life.

--Sarah Hagerty
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