Hotheads Venting Heats Anger
For years those filled with anger were advised to vent their anger. Supposedly, venting one's anger – hitting a pillow, breaking things, yelling – would get rid of the anger. To many people, such advice seemed contrary to the spirit of Scripture. And a few more conservative voices in the counseling community maintained that far from dealing constructively with anger, venting actually increases it.
A Duke University study has documented that venting not only increases anger, but is actually bad for one's health. In one study, researchers randomly assigned reading to 600 college students. Some students read pro venting articles, others read anti venting articles, while others read articles on unrelated subjects. Students were asked to write an essay on the article they read. Then, each was given negative comments about their essay – comments designed to make them angry –followed by the opportunity to hit a punching bag. Finally, each student was paired with an opponent in a competition that offered an opportunity for aggression.
Researchers found that students who read a pro venting article were twice as aggressive as the others. Aggression levels were also linked to how much the students liked hitting the punching bag. Other studies have shown that anger doubles or triples one's chance of having a heart attack, and long term anger is linked to other health problems as well.
Science has again "learned" what the Bible has always taught: anger is not good for you or anyone else.