Keep Calm and Carry On: How Your Emotions are Literally Killing You

We all do our best to stay calm, but it turns out that doing so might actually save your life.

New research published in the European Heart Journal has found that the risk of a heart attack increases by a factor of 8.5 the 2 hours following an episode of intense anger. 

That’s an 850% surge for those of you paying attention.

The researchers looked at 313 patients who had suffered heart attacks in Sydney, Australia over a period of multiple years and had them fill out a questionnaire (after they were feeling better of course).

They asked the participants to rate how they had felt prior to the heart attack, on a 7-point scale, which ranged from 1 = ‘calm’, to 7 = ‘enraged, out of control, throwing objects, hurting yourself and others’. The participants also reported what triggered the anger, which included things like arguments with family members, anger related to driving or work, and other things that might set them off.


The factor of 8.5 was determined with this methodology. A similar method was pursued with anxiety, which it turns out is even worse, coming in at an increased factor of 9.5 for heart attacks.

Now, it is important to note that the overall chance of a heart attack is still quite low – even with an increase of a factor of almost 10, but we don’t want to take any chances here because hearts are…well, kind of important.

So keep calm and carry on.

And know that meditation and even coffee can go a long way in helping you stay grounded and heart healthy. 


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