Why watching celebrities freak out is good for our health

OK everyone, let’s all just calm down. There was a lot of rage in the press this past weekend and

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OK everyone, let’s all just calm down. There was a lot of rage in the press this past weekend and I think we all need to take a deep breath. First, Serena Williams lost her cool at the U.S. Open on Saturday when a match official called her on a foot fault. Then at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye West (undoubtably famous for angry outbursts) stormed the stage during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech, yanked the mic from her hand and claimed that Beyonce should have won the award. As we used to say on the playground, the rich and famous need to take a collective "chill pill."

While Kanye’s mic grab may have been a carefully planned publicity stunt, his antics raise an interesting question: Why do we love to read about celebrity rage? As I write this, the Kanye ordeal is the top trending topic on Twitter. And let us harken back to the not-so-distant-past when audio of Christian Bale’s delicious tirade on the set or Terminator Salvation went viral online. Then there was the popular footage of Billy Bob Thornton’s rage-fuled interview with host of CBC Radio’s Q, Jian Gomeshi. We adore when a star falls from grace. I think it has something to do with living vicariously through their uncontrolled fury.

According the the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), it’s normal to feel angry when a situation is out of your control or you are under stress. Well, I think that describes most of us throughout the day. When a car cuts you off on the highway or your boss doles out yet another assignment on top of your already jam-packed schedule, it’s hard not to feel that familiar fire in your belly. But most of us simply don’t live in a world where bashing a car with an umbrella à la Britney Spears is acceptable behaviour. Watching her do it on YouTube, however, is somehow just as satisfying as doing it ourselves’and much less destructive.

In case you’re feeling particularly peeved today, the CMHA offers some healthy strategies for dealing with feelings of anger in the short term. And we have some really great tips on how to make your stress work for you.

Do you think watching celebrities lose their cool is a healthy way to deal with our own rage? What are your tried-and-true strategies for dealing with anger? I’m a big fan of counting backwards from 10.

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