Nov. 10, 2005 — -- A new study from Carnegie Mellon University shows anger may help people reduce the negative impact of stress.
"Here getting emotional is not bad for you if you look at the case of anger," said Jennifer Lerner of Carnegie Mellon. "The more they are displaying anger, the lower the stress responses."
Subjects were told they were being tested for intelligence. They were asked to count backward from 6,200 by increments of 13, then taunted, corrected and told to go faster. Researchers measured the biological responses as the subjects become more and more stressed.
Stress leads to biological responses such as an increase in heart rate and a release of hormones. Both can have lasting effects such as diabetes, heart disease, depression and excess weight gain.
When people feel fear, those negative impacts spike, but when they get angry, those negatives go down, according to the study.
"Having that sense of anger leads people to actually feel some power in what otherwise is a maddening situation," Lerner said.
The researchers say they plan to look at whether people can train themselves to feel a certain way when under stress.