Yesterday’s Wisdom: Control your temper.
Today’s Smart Strategy: Throw a tantrum now and then.
From the time we’re little girls, we’re taught to control our tempers, and as adults—especially women—we still believe that venting anger is unhealthy (not to mention unladylike). In fact, the opposite now appears to be true. According to a study published in Biological Psychiatry that looked at the effect of facial expressions of emotions, such as fear and indignation, on our stress responses, displaying your anger may actually cause your brain to release less cortisol, the stress hormone associated with obesity, bone loss, and heart disease. And while experts know that chronic anger contributes to hypertension and coronary disease, they’ve also found that expressing irritation in response to a short-term and unfair frustration, such as being cut off in traffic, can actually dampen the nasty effects of stress. That’s because anger confers feelings of control, counteracting the helplessness and frustration we often feel in response to perceived insults and injustices, says lead study author Jennifer Lerner, PhD.