Is it unhealthy to express your anger?

Posted on April 10, 2015

Photo: flickr

People who express anger more often tends to experience greater stress. Long-term stress is unhealthy as it suppresses the immune system and often leads to symptoms like high blood pressure.

A Japanese study group looked at the relationship between expression of anger and health problems in Japanese culture. Is East Asian culture, there tends to be a hierarchical relationship, there is a social pressure to resist anger when they are stress and to maintain harmonious relationships. People of lower-ranks have to control their emotions in the presence of people of more power than they have.
The study finds that Japanese who express more anger, are more likely to be the ones who have relatively more power in the society. Thus, they also tend to have more outlets to relieve stress.

A comparison was done between the two culture groups. In the United States, people who express anger often had more symptoms of inflammation and poor health, while Japanese particpants who expressed more often, had fewer indications of poor health.

Perhaps, it is life stress that is causing health problems. One’s behaviour/reaction to stress depends on their culture. For Americans, expressing anger is strongly related to the amount of stress they experience, because they are free to express their anger. For Japanese, expressing anger is actually a better signal of social status than of stress. In Japan, people can’t generally express their anger unless they are in a social situation in which they have some power or dominance.


Category(s):Anger Management

Source material from Psychology Today


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