Getting older has its advantages, and being less angry may be one of them. Particularly when it comes to checking the news.
A new IBM-Watson Health-NPR health poll revealed a country full of angry people, who are getting angrier by the year. Based on a survey of 3,004 people over two weeks in November 2018, the poll focused on anger, and specifically how anger is impacted by the news and social-media use.
However, according to the poll, older Americans reported being less angry in numerous areas.
Only 21% of respondents over 65 reported feeling angry often when checking the news, compared to 38% of respondents 35 and under. Social media told a similar story, with only 7% of people 65 and above saying they were often angry when using social media, compared to 18% of people under 35.
It should be noted that the over-65 demographic use social media much less. The poll found that 28% of seniors over 65 say they don’t use social media at all, compared with only 2% of people younger than 35 not using it.
Overall 84% of those surveyed said they think Americans are more angry now compared to a generation ago, and 42% said they have become angrier just in the past year.
The over 65 respondents did seem less inclined to see the potential benefits of anger, as 71.8% believe that anger is a negative emotion. That was the highest percentage of any age group. 63.5% of the under 35 demographic thought the same.
Anger is not simply bad or good. There are arguments to be made for why a little anger can sometimes be a good thing by sparking action, creativity, and advocacy where otherwise there may have been apathy.
Still, too much of anything can be dangerous, and anger is no different. Sustained, intense anger is unhealthy in many ways and is connected to a long list of chronic health threats.
So when it comes to the news and social media getting your dander up a bit too much, try emulating a boomer.