Losing your temper is good for you.
Losing your temper could actually be good for you, researchers have found, because letting off steam can lesson the effects of stress. The findings appear to back up the common psychological theory that venting emotions is better for mental health than keeping them locked up.
Expressing anger increases blood flow to a part of the brain thought to be involved in feelings of happiness, the research found.
Scientists were interested in what happens to the human body when we are enraged.
To test responses they gathered 30 men in a laboratory and slowly increased their anger levels.
The volunteers were all given a list of written statements, asked to read each one silently and then recall a situation in which they felt that way.
The sentences escalated gradually from “today is no different from any other day” to “I am consumed with hatred”.
The men’s’ heart rate, blood pressure and levels of two stress hormones, testosterone and cortisol, were all measured, and their brains scanned, at the start and the end of the experiment.
The findings, published in the journal Hormones and Behaviour, show that the left hemisphere of the brain became more stimulated when the men were angry.
Dr Neus Herrero, from the University of Valencia in Spain, who led the study, said that the left frontal region of the brain is commonly thought to be involved in experiencing positive emotions, while the right is more related to negative emotions.
Inducing anger generated profound changes in the human body which controlled the heart and hormones, he said.
“In addition, changes in cerebral activity also occur, especially in the frontal and temporal lobes,” he added.
However, the study also found that getting angry could have serious negative effects on the body.
The heart rates and blood pressure levels of the volunteers all increased when they were angry.
And although cortisol levels fell, testosterone levels increased, the study shows.