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Take a Chill Pill

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Take a Chill Pill


I take a lot of pride in my superpowers, and patience is definitely one of them. If you ever see me angry, someone took the scenic route to get me there.


That's why I can't help but giggle at people who get so angry about things that have no significant impact on their lives. Even if it did, what good does being mad about something completely out of your control do?


A big fat nothing burger, that's what. Well, that isn't exactly true ...


This new study, which focuses on negative emotions and their consequences on cardiovascular health, was published last month. Turns out, getting angry just for a few minutes changes your blood vessel capacity, which increases your risk for heart attack and stroke.


It makes sense to me. I remember the old owner of the pizza joint next to Forward Thinking Fitness being angry at everyone—even people who gave him money for terrible pizza! That dude had two heart attacks before finally selling the business. 


Oddly enough, the new guys are pleasant, and the pizza tastes way better. Go figure! Who would have known that a simple thing like choosing to be happy could result in a better product?


I knew. And yes, I do eat pizza sometimes.


Anyway, the study focused on 280 healthy young adults. One group was tasked with thinking about a recent experience that induced either anger, sadness, or anxiety for eight short minutes. The other subjects just had to count upwards until the same time elapsed.


During the module, researchers took blood samples, monitored participants' blood pressure, and measured blood vessel dilation. I wouldn't expect you to know that lower dilation capacity is linked to a higher risk of cardiac arrest.


Researchers concluded that those who reflected on their anger experienced lower dilation capacity for almost an hour. Those tasked with thinking about a sad or anxious experience didn't exhibit the same changes, nor did the group counting sheep!


If this happened to those in good health, imagine the risk of cardiac arrest in those who aren't taking care of themselves! Mind you, this isn't the only research that points to intense emotional experiences double the risk of a life-ending event. 


We live in a world where most people are angry about everything they cannot control. The "news" outlets and social media work hard to foster outrage, driving up engagement and, as a result, advertising revenue.


Ain't no doubt about it, though. Being angry at everything doesn't do you any good if you want to live a long life. That includes things that are your control, by the way!


Whether you're livid about other people being different than you during National Pride Month, or you're mad at PennDOT for all of the potholes they never fix ... take a Chill Pill and realize everything is going to be alright.


You may not have control over everything you want in life, but you do at least have control over your emotions :) 


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