Anger is just one letter short of danger -- it seems to be as true in English as well as in practice. Dr. Bedford Williams at Duke University has determined that students who score high on a "hostility test" are in far greater danger of dying young than their peers. In fact, those who are prone to anger are in greater physical danger than those who smoke, have high blood pressure or even high cholesterol.
Not that we should never be angry. It is a normal part of life. We all get "worked up," "overheated" or just plain "hopping mad" at times. Those closest to us know it best. (Just ask my kids!)
One little boy said about his mother: "When she starts to act real weird, you have to look scared and serious. Don't giggle. When mommies are mad, they get madder when you giggle."
The good news is that simply getting angry does not seem to be the problem. Well-directed anger can be a helpful emotion. But STAYING angry is dangerous -- to our health and to our relationships.
Here are four simple steps that can help move us out of the danger zone when we feel as if our hostility is running the show.
- Control it. Uncontrolled anger will take over.
- Talk it out. Don't keep it in and let it fester.
- Act on it. Do what needs to be done to resolve the situation. Helplessness will only provoke more anger and, eventually, despair.
- End it. Just as there is a starting point for anger, there must be an ending. Make a decision not to prolong destructive hostility.
-- Steve Goodier
Image: flickr.com/txmx 2