For years I felt original for using what I thought was my own word to describe how cranky, snippy, and sassy I get when I haven’t eating in a long time. The word is “hangry”, a fusion between hungry and angry, and it describes pretty perfectly the mood that affects many of us when we have low blood sugar. Hearing the first few people use my word was exciting and unifying, like we were apart of the same witty food-pun club! But lately I’ve been hearing it more than ever, so I am reluctant to admit that perhaps I did not, in fact, invent the word hangry. (I’m also being overdramatic, so perhaps I am currently hangry.)
At any rate, science has recently solidified the use of this word: A new study shows that being hangry is a real thing, or at least proves that being hungry definitely affects a person’s mood.
Researchers from Ohio State University set out to prove that low blood sugar is indeed the underlying cause of hunger-induce crankiness. (Read the full NPR report here.) But they didn’t just want to look at how strangers interacted, they wanted to know how we treat our loved ones when we’re hangry, so they studied spouses. 107 couples were recruited for the study and each given voodoo dolls.
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Anger creates unnecessary tension in the mind and body. From negative emotions to a distressing stomachache, reactions to rage are not only upsetting they are also very unhealthy.
If you struggle with anger, the following yogic breathing practices (pranayama) may help you to feel more at ease so you no longer have to suffer.
Instead of screaming at your spouse, child, or customer service rep, take some time to yourself and do a few rounds of this spine-tingling, endorphin-producing pranayama.
Sit or lie down on your back. As you inhale, contract the muscles of your face and make tight fists with both hands. With an explosive exhale, stick out your tongue, open your eyes and fingers very wide and roar loudly. Five rounds of lion’s breath is usually enough to release the beast of rage from your soul.
Tip: During your exhale, visualize the source of your anger shrinking down to tiny, inert particles.
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File this under, “In case you didn’t know…”
A recent report, profiled in the Journal of Consumer Research, shows that people who restrict their food intake in the name of weight loss are more stressed and angry. The study, conducted by authors David Gal, at Northwestern University, in Chicago, and Wendy Liu at the University of California, compiled numerous weight loss studies. The authors wanted to determine if exerting self control leads to anger issues.
In the first study, participants who chose an apple over a chocolate bar for a snack were more likely to chose movies with anger issues than a more relaxed movie. The second study showed that those who were financially responsible (choosing a gift certificate for groceries rather than one for a spa service) showed more interest in looking at angry faces rather than at fearful ones.
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Home is where the heart is, but anger is where the heart attack lurks. A new report from the Medical University of South Carolina reveals that having anger issues may earn men with prehypertension a quick trip to heart disease. The same could also be true for women, but further studies are needed.
The data came from 2,334 American adults aged 48-67. They were followed for 4-8 years during the 1990s. Chronically angry men were moderately more likely to develop high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart disease than their calmer counterparts.
For men and women alike, long-term psychological stress was linked to heart disease. And the results didn’t change when the researchers factored in age, sex, race, smoking status, and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.