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Chapter 7. Pathways Through Anger > What You Will Learn in this Chapter

What You Will Learn in this Chapter

  • To identify what contributes to anger on a physical and psychological level.

  • To assess your own level of anger using the hostility scale.

  • To explain the relationship between anger, Type A personality, and cardiac disease.

  • To practice using reframing strategies to defuse anger.

  • To describe the value of forgiveness for stress reduction.

Have you experienced times when you were quick to anger, either in the workplace or at home, as if your fuse had become significantly shorter? Unless you are a yogi master and have achieved perfect balance and enlightenment, of course you have. All of us have had periods when we were more irritable and less tolerant. Have you noticed that there is a direct relationship between these periods and the level of stress in your life? Undoubtedly, a very common response to stress is anger and irritability. But why? Remember, stress is our body and mind's response to perceived threat. If you consider that for our ancestors, threat frequently represented attack from animals or other tribes; then anger was an adaptive reaction that mobilized them to take defensive action. Therefore, anger had survival value because typically, for our forebears, the appropriate response was to physically fight for their lives. But in today's world, physical confrontations are no longer useful in most situations. Yet we are left with this holdover emotional baggage of anger. Verbal expression of this anger, particularly if unmodulated, is certainly not much more adaptive, either in your work environment or in your personal life.



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