Learning to control your anger may also speed up the healing process after surgery, US research suggests.
The Brain Behavior and Immunity study indicates stress has a major impact on the body's ability to repair itself.
Nearly 100 participants were asked to rate how well they could control their temper, and the speed at which they recovered from a blister was monitored. Hotheads were more than four times likely to take more than four days to heal than mild-mannered counterparts. The team at Ohio State University gave participants blisters on one of their arms and then monitored how the wound healed over the course of eight days.
They were asked to fill in a questionnaire which looked at how anger was expressed - whether externally, by shouting at others, for instance, or internally, when one rages insides but keeps a cool exterior. They were also asked to judge their general ability to manage their anger. Whether one directed one's anger externally or internally proved to have no bearing on recovery - what was crucial was just how much control the individual was able to exert over their feelings. Those with low anger control produced higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which was in turn, associated with delayed healing.
"Such stress-induced delays in healing could increase the susceptibility to infection at the wound site, a process that fuels further decrease in the speed of repair," the team, led by Jean-Philippe Gouin, wrote.
They suggested that therapeutic strategies such as relaxation, or even cognitive therapy, could help those at risk make a swifter recovery.
Source - BBC