WebMD reports on a new study: Anger Increases Pain in Women. Treatment–in this case CBT–shown to help.
Treatment effects were significant, showing positive differences in pain, fatigue, and functional disability, and in anxiety and negative mood, the researchers say. “Our results demonstrate that offering high-risk [fibromyalgia] patients a treatment tailored to their cognitive behavioral patterns at an early stage after the diagnosis is effective in improving both short- and long-term physical and psychological outcomes,”
Does venting anger help? YANSS looks at the research.
The Misconception: Venting your anger is an effective way to reduce stress and prevent lashing out at friends and family.
The Truth: Venting increases aggressive behavior over time.
Related: Angry People Want To Be Rewarded (PsychCentral).
NYT: Can Exercise Moderate Anger?
For years, researchers have known that exercise can affect certain moods. Running, bike riding and other exercise programs have repeatedly been found to combat clinical depression. Similarly, a study from Germany published in April found that light-duty activity like walking or gardening made participants “happy,” in the estimation of the scientists. Even laboratory rats and mice respond emotionally to exercise; although their precise “moods” are hard to parse, their behavior indicates that exercise makes them more relaxed and confident. But what about anger, one of the more universal and, in its way, destructive moods? Can exercise influence how angry you become in certain situations?
Benedict Carey looks at The Benefits of Blowing Your Top in the NYT. One upside to emotional expression (according to a study), a better social life:
[P]sychologists followed 278 men and women as they entered college, giving questionnaires and conducting interviews. Those who scored highest on measures of emotion suppression had the hardest time making friends.
ScienceDaily: Anger Drives Support for Wartime Presidents, Study Finds
Contrary to popular opinion and previous speculations among psychologists, Lambert’s study shows that the impulse to support the president in times of war has little to do with feelings of anxiety or uncertainty or needing a president to somehow make us feel safe.
You probably have a pretty good idea why you fight as a couple. But here’s a study to tell you all about it.
[The study] identified the first type of underlying concern as perceived threat, which involves a perception that one’s partner is being hostile, critical, blaming or controlling.
The second type of concern is called perceived neglect, which involves a perception that one’s partner is failing to make a desired contribution or failing to demonstrate an ideal level of commitment or investment in the relationship.
Something to consider reading: A Little Book on the Human Shadow, by Robert Bly.
You may know Bly as the author of men’s movement tome, Iron John. He’s also a poet, public speaker, and engaged reader of lots of psych lit–particularly Carl Jung, Alice Miller, and Marie Louise von Franz.
Shadow reproduces a series of readings by and interviews with Bly, tied together with Jungian themes. Who or what do you hate? Take a careful look. It may be that the qualities you despise most are the very qualities you were encouraged (or forced) to refuse yourself as you were growing up–irresponsibility, carelessness, greed, rage.
Bly encourages reconnecting with these despised traits–to honor the items stowed “in your bag.” How? Art, expression. Especially helpful is an exploration of how these “shadow” dynamics play out in romantic relationships. Not unlike the longer, less poetry-filled, more widely read Getting the Love You Want, by Harville Hendrix. Take your pick.
From ScienceDaily, a portrait of the chemistry of the angry brain. Summed up:
When we get angry, the heart rate, arterial tension and testosterone production increases, cortisol (the stress hormone) decreases, and the left hemisphere of the brain becomes more stimulated.
A Boston University meta-analysis (a study of studies) confirms what you may have already suspected if you’ve ever jogged around the block or done a few sit-ups when anxious, depressed, stressed, or angry–exercise is good for your mental health.
“Individuals who exercise report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lower levels of stress and anger,” Smits says. “Exercise appears to affect, like an antidepressant, particular neurotransmitter systems in the brain, and it helps patients with depression re-establish positive behaviors. For patients with anxiety disorders, exercise reduces their fears of fear and related bodily sensations such as a racing heart and rapid breathing.”