American researchers have found that anger is more harmful to the mental health of older people than sorrow, which may increase the risk of inflammation, while long-term inflammatory levels are associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis and cancer.
The researchers at Concordia University were divided into two groups with 226 people aged 59 to 93 years old: 59 years old to under 80 years old, and 80 years old and older. These subjects completed a questionnaire within a week about whether they were angry or sad. In addition, researchers tested their levels of inflammation through blood samples to see if they had age-related chronic diseases.
The results showed that for 80 and 80-year-olds, the proportion of inflammatory and chronic diseases associated with anger was higher per day; those who were under 80 years of age did not. In addition, sadness is not associated with inflammatory reactions and chronic diseases.
The researchers wrote in an article published in the latest issue of the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Old Age Psychology that the study showed that not all negative emotions are harmful to health. When people first enter old age, anger may provoke fighting spirit and overcome difficulties in life, but it is useless for older people with higher ages, because no matter how hard the elderly work, they cannot reverse the status quo. In contrast, grief may help the elderly adjust their minds and lower their goals to cope with the physiological and cognitive challenges associated with old age. Researchers recommend using education and psychotherapy to help the elderly manage their emotions, less angry, and less harm to the body.