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October 16, 2014

Will Expressing Anger Reduce It?

Author: JenniferMaster1

SHOUT was a popular song in the 80’s from the group “Tears for Fears” with the lyrics: Shout, shout let it all out. These are the things I can do without…. I don’t know the intention of their lyrics, but it’s a good example Panic Girl of what NOT to do.
One error in this myth is that by expressing your anger you reduce the risk of health problems that may occur by holding the strong energy in or bottling it up inside you. This is definitely not true!
According to Dr. Aaron Siegman, a psychologist and researcher at the University of Maryland, shouting and letting it all out is actually a serious risk factor for heart disease and is not something that will reduce damage to your heart.
There is plenty of evidence that chronic anger is a risk factor for heart disease including a study of over 13, 000 European subjects over a 20 year period. The results showed that 75% of participants who belonged to the “Lifelong Anger Club” died of heart disease.
Since anger is a system that helps prepare the body for potential threat through a flight or fight response, it seems natural for someone experiencing strong emotions to want to strike out in some way and release their fury. In fact, venting anger typically makes you feel better at least for a moment.
Therapists want to please their clients, and add strength to this myth because they realize that expressing anger can help clients feel better temporarily. One of my relatives had a therapist who encouraged her to scream, swear and truthfully share what she was thinking with no filters or concern for others around her. That type of action damaged her relationships rather than helped.
Also, studies over the past 40 years have shown that expressing anger leads to more anger and violence, NOT less.
Think about this: What if you were developing a new skill and wanted to be the best at say – playing piano. What would be one of the biggest factors in developing that skill? Practice, practice, practice you might say. So when you practice, practice, practice anger, you’re only going to get good at being angry more often instead of managing and dealing with those strong and potentially damaging emotions.

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