Controlling Anger

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Controlling Anger

Controlling Anger

The solution is to become aware of the anger and its cause, and then learn ways to express your emotions calmly -- rather than lashing out at the world around you. The goal isn't to suppress your anger, but to get it out in a nonabrasive way.

We're now fairly sure that anger, either expressed violently or turned inward, impacts your health negatively. An increasing body of evidence shows that anger is a risk factor for coronary heart disease and sudden death. A six-year study at the University of North Carolina characterized the anger traits of 12,986 men and women. The results, published in the May 6, 2000 issue of "The Lancet," found that subjects with the most anger traits were two to seven times more likely to develop coronary heart disease. Some people who couldn't express their anger transformed it into physical tensions such as headaches, stomachaches, or difficulty breathing. I know one woman who would feel a painful tightness in her throat whenever she needed to express an emotion but, instead, kept it inside. Watch for these signs and try to become aware of the emotion you may be feeling.

Anger isn't always bad -- it can be useful. I've seen it mobilize healing responses, for example. One patient struggling with an autoimmune disease was able to overcome it through a complete reworking of his lifestyle and the use of various mind-body techniques. An important part of his recovery was becoming aware of -- and expressing -- his anger toward doctors and hospitals.

As you become conscious of your anger, begin to distinguish between the mildly annoying and the infuriating. With the things that anger you most, try to figure out what else you're feeling -- powerless? guilty? stupid? Once you've learned to recognize anger and identify its roots, it will be easier to express it constructively.

Psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and spiritual counseling may be useful in dealing with anger. Exercise is also an excellent way to cope with strong emotions -- both long-term and immediately. Several studies have found that physical activities such as swimming and yoga can ease anger and tension. Even one round of exercise -- say, a run around the block -- can significantly improve the way you feel.

Incorporate meditation and relaxation techniques into your daily routine. My breathing exercise will help you bring calmness throughout your body. Do it at least twice a day, and try it every time you feel anxious or upset.

Brian Aldus said:
"When childhood dies, its corpses are called adults."
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