The Meaning of Sin: How Being Bad Is Good For You

Modern science reveals a silver lining in even the blackest cloak of sin.

By Joe Kita from Reader's Digest Magazine | April 2013

The Meaning of Sin: How Being Bad Is Good For YouChris Buzelli
Over 1,400 years ago, Pope Gregory named wrath, greed, envy, sloth, pride, gluttony, and lust as the Seven Deadly Sins. But that’s so A.D. 590. See why in these seven true stories:

Wrath

Each day, Donna Alexander watches an array of customers enter her Anger Room in Dallas, smash everything from TVs to mannequins, and exit smiling and content. And they pay her up to $75 for the privilege.

“I saw a lot of fights when I was growing up,” she explains. “So I thought that if there were a place to let that anger out, the world would be better.”

Destructotherapy, as it’s often called, is a controversial form of anger management among mental-health professionals, but the general population seems drawn to it. In Spain, entrepreneurs have organized outdoor events where townsfolk pay to demolish cars, appliances, and computers with sledgehammers. In Berlin, two artists designed a vending machine called the Anger Release Machine, which automatically smashes ordinary plates for $1 or crystal glasses for $20.

The chronic suppression of anger can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and sleep disorders, studies show. When you let loose on occasion, you vent the emotional steam from life’s pressure cooker.

If you’re married, a little bit of wrath might even save your life. A report from the University of Michigan determined that couples who regularly got problems off their chests lived longer than those who internalized them.

Constructive ire can also have a positive career impact. Research shows it can fuel ambition, sway negotiations, instill a sense of control, and confer higher status, whereas those who bottle up their frustration are up to three times more likely to admit to being disappointed and hitting a glass ceiling.

Ladies take note: Expressing anger on the job appears to be acceptable for only men. Angry outbursts from women are more likely to be attributed to emotional imbalance.

Take indignation over that injustice into the Anger Room.

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