Why Arguing Too Much Could Be Hurting Your Health

Conversations might be engaging and informative, but beware – specific kinds of discussions may be harmful to your health. Research from Denmark reveals that frequently arguing with your spouse, life partner, relatives or even your neighbors can significantly increase your chances of dying in middle age, and even more so if you are an unemployed man.

The Study

Researchers questioned around 10,000 people aged between 36 and 52 about their social relationships. Over the course of 11 years, 4 percent of the women and 6 percent of the men in the study passed away. Half of these deaths resulted from cancer, while heart problems, liver disease, accidents and suicide caused the remainder.

Upon analyzing the data, researchers discovered that the largest risk factor was the tendency to argue frequently. Men who were more argumentative faced the most danger.

Understanding the Link

Why is this the case? It is believed that stressful arguments can negatively impact mental and physical health. If you have an argumentative personality, it may indicate that you do not handle stress effectively, which significantly impedes your overall wellbeing. When the body is under stress, it releases cortisol, a hormone designed to help you deal with short-term threats. However, prolonged exposure to cortisol, as experienced by those who are regularly engaged in arguments, can lead to a variety of health issues.

The Impact of Cortisol

Cortisol’s effects on the body are both powerful and extensive. Short-term, it can boost energy, improve memory and assist with decision-making. However, long-term elevated cortisol levels can cause numerous problems, including weight gain, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The immune system can also be affected, resulting in a decreased ability to ward off infections.

Another significant area impacted by cortisol is heart health. The American Institute of Stress noted that ‘[s]tress has been implicated in the development and exacerbation of plaques that can cause heart attack and stroke.’ Both heart rate and blood pressure are subject to increase due to stress, causing strain on the heart.

Stress and arguments can also lead to substance abuse as some people may turn to alcohol, drugs or unhealthy eating habits to cope. These unhealthy coping mechanisms can further exacerbate physical and mental health problems, compounding the issues faced by individuals.

Reducing Stress and Arguments

So, what can you do to mitigate these risks?

  • Practice better communication: Ensure that you listen actively, clarify your thoughts before speaking, and avoid interrupting the person you are talking to. This will help keep conversations healthy and productive, reducing the potential for an argument.

  • Manage expectations: Understand that not everyone will have the same opinions as you and focus on finding common ground or simply accepting the differences.

  • Cultivate patience and empathy: By learning to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you can avoid unnecessary frustration and anger.

  • Stay away from triggers: Identify certain topics, people or situations that are more likely to lead to an argument and avoid them.

  • Practice stress-reducing activities: Engage in regular physical activity, engage in hobbies, or try relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing or yoga to help manage stress.

In conclusion, it is crucial to be mindful of the conversations you engage in and how you handle them. By practicing better communication, managing expectations, cultivating patience and empathy and staying away from triggers, you can significantly reduce the risk of stress-related health problems. Additionally, engaging in stress-reducing activities can greatly improve your overall wellbeing. It is essential to prioritize your health to lead a longer, happier and healthier life.