You will not be punished for your anger,
you will be punished by your anger….
Let a man (person) overcome anger by love —Buddha
Making sure that you are not ruled by your emotions can be difficult, especially in today’s busy world. Set aside some time as often as you can to express your anger purely and openly. In the meantime, here are some quick techniques you can use to make sure you keep your anger in check:
Deal quickly and assertively with minor threats so that there is no build up of feeling and you have plenty of opportunity to practice handling this feeling in safe situations.
Maintain a clear and up to date idea about what, by your own standards and for your own needs, is worth getting angry about and what is not.
Develop a sound knowledge of your own pre-programmed patterns and make a plan to counteract them.
Keep your self-esteem boosted so you are not as vulnerable to wounded pride (probably the most common cause of everyday uncontrolled anger responses).
Give yourself a balanced lifestyle and nurturing relationships so that you have only tolerable amounts of pressure with which to cope.
Have a constructive channel into which you can direct your anger, especially when it has been stimulated by issues that you are powerless to do anything about.
Each time an old habit surfaces, take time out to reflect and get feedback on what went wrong, then rehearse (if only in your mind) how you can behave differently next time.
Regularly check the state of your key relationships and resolve conflicts and re-negotiate expectations and ground rules as soon as possible.
Maybe It Is All In The Head…
In 1974, Robert Ader, a psychologist at the School of Medicine, University of Rochester, discovered that the immune system could learn. This discovery has forced a new look at the relationship between the immune system and the central nervous system.
Researchers have found that the chemical messages that operate most extensively in both the brain and the immune system are those that are most dense in the neural areas that regulate emotion.
Further studies have shown that stress and negative emotions weaken the effectiveness of various immune cells. In addition, people who experienced chronic anxiety, long periods of sadness or pessimism, permanent tension or incessant hostility were found to have double the risk of disease – including asthma, arthritis, headaches, ulcers and heart disease. This indicates that distressing emotions are as toxic to our health as smoking and high cholesterol.
Being prone to anger seems to be a stronger predictor of dying young than smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It is not clear yet whether anger and hostility cause the development of heart disease or whether they simply intensify the problem once heart disease has begun.
While on the subject of hearts, a Yale study of 929 men who had survived heart attacks tracked them for up to ten years and found that they were even tempered. The Yale researchers point out that it may not be anger alone that heightens the risk of death from heart disease, but rather intense emotionality of any kind that regularly sends stress hormones throughout the body. Overall, the strongest scientific links between emotions and heart disease are those to anger. A Harvard Medical School has linked positive emotions to better health.
This does not mean that anger should be suppressed. Trying to completely suppress anger results in making us angrier and may raise our blood pressure further. These research examples make it clear that we need to learn to handle our anger.
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