Everyone deals with angry assholes in their life, whether it's a boss with rage issues, an angry spouse or an angry Internet commenter whipped into a caps locked fury because some Internet writer accidentally transposed some numbers when discussing the episode of Boy Meets World where Topanga and Cory finally bone (it's episode 67, by the way).
This man had a lot of restraint
When confronted with a rage-a-holic our most common response is to tell them to chill out. We may even joke about how their blood pressure will get out of control, or that they'll have a heart attack if they don't calm down. But science says we may be wrong about that. In fact, in the right situations, rage could actually help your blood pressure and general well-being.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon found that while anger may not be better than sitting in perfectly calm silence, in stressful situations, it was a much better alternative than our other tendency in those circumstances: fear.
As we hinted at with the cursing thing above, anger is most often a result of triggering the primal "fight or flight" response, which we developed for survival situations but that we tap into basically whenever we're confronted, frustrated or pissed off.
"A parsec is a gauge of length, not speed! I'll kill you!"
So when we get into some screaming match with the jerkoff in the next cubicle, some of us rage, others back down and fret about it for the rest of the day. Studies show choosing anger provided more positive effects on both blood pressure and mental health than responding in fear, which was shown to only be effective at increasing pants shitting and ass beatings.
To test how people react and their stress levels, researchers used the most emotionally reactive subject known to man: math. Participants were told to count backwards by seven from 9,095 and to count backwards by 13 from 6,233, an experiment that kind of pisses us off just hearing about it.
To make it even harder, the experimenter pointed out the participants mistakes and harassed them to make them go faster. Those who responded to the experimenter with angry facial reactions had lower stress than those who responded fearfully. Those who rose from their seats and beat the experimenter into unconsciousness were most likely met with raucous applause and a steady flow of gratitude sex, although no data is available to support that assumption.
Another study found that people who responded to the September 11th attacks with anger were more optimistic months down the road than people who responded with fear. Anger gives feelings of certainty and control and optimistic perceptions of risk instead of causing you to retreat to your remote cabin with a 10 year supply of window plastic and duct tape.
So even if you think Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" is a stupid song (which it totally is) it was apparently a healthier reaction than freaking out and hiding in the basement.
At Cracked we've already mentioned how getting married makes you live longer. You may imagine that people most similarly matched would get the most benefit. Happy couples with the same interests, expectations and around the same age would do better than people who basically live on different planets. Certainly they'd do better than those creepy old men who divorce their loyal wives and marry teenage supermodels, right?
According to research, men who marry much younger women live longer than men who marry a woman the same age, and a man who marries an older woman might as well drop dead at the altar. Men marrying a woman 15-17 years his junior have their chances of dying a premature death cut by one fifth, and if their spouse is seven to nine years younger they still have 11 percent less chance of death. The same doesn't hold true for men who marry an older woman. Unsurprisingly, they actually have a higher likelihood of dying early.
So how does marrying young help a man live longer? Scientists don't have an explanation, but suggest the correlation might run the other way--only the healthiest, most successful men will attract younger mates.
Oh, and while they're at it, they might want to pick up more than one. In cultures where polygamy is still allowed, guys who marry multiple women live 12 percent longer than monogamous men, even when you factor out those other factors (like socioeconomic status, etc). Again they're not sure why. It may have to do with the fact that they tend to father children until a later age, which keeps them active. Or, you know, it could also have something to do with the eight or 10 extra titties they have bobbing around the house.
Type A personalities, often referred to as "douchebags," are those hard driving, aggressive people who annoy the hell out of just about everyone in their vicinity. While many of us drag ourselves to work from 9-5 to support our life off the clock, type A's are the people who fling themselves out of bed every morning at 5:00 am, ready to pound another day into submission. And god help anyone who gets in their way.
They're also those people who hold up every line because they think they're the exception to every rule.
When confronted by this kind of dickish behavior we are comforted by the knowledge that one day that person will die of a stress induced heart attack and if they don't die, well, that's nothing their pacemaker and your microwave can't fix.
"Stress has only made me more powerful!"
It's not true, though. The sad fact is, Type A personalities are actually no more likely to get heart attacks than the rest of us. A University of Michigan study actually found no link between personality and heart disease. In the group they studied, genetics, not personality, determined how likely someone was to have heart problems.
There is a high risk of an ass beating though.
In fact, not only will a Type A's obnoxious personality not kill him, it might save him if he does have a heart attack. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that Type A personalities were 60 percent more likely to survive after a heart attack than laid back people. They're also 80 percent more likely to stand over you while you're having a heart attack and gloat about how maybe if you showed a little more hustle then maybe you wouldn't be getting your ass handed to you by a little artery build up. Probably.
Read more from Philip at www.philiprodneymoon.com
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And to find out why stupid jerks are stupid jerks, check out 5 Douchebag Behaviors Explained by Science. And then check out those scientific explanations in action, in The 6 Biggest Dick Moves in the History of Science.
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 3.22.2010) where Seanbaby will teach you the secret art of being a professional asshole.