People who have existing risk factors, such as a history of heart disease, are particularly susceptible. Although relatively low, the risk is cumulative, meaning temper-prone individuals are at higher risk.
The way you cope with anger and stress is also important. Learning how to relax can help you move on from high-pressure situations. Many people find that physical activity can help to let off steam after a stressful day. I learned this one as a young woman: Work through anger. Use anger in a physical way. Go outside and walk, prune a bush, dig the soil—anything until you're calm.
Ten abbreviated tips.
No. 1: Take a timeout
Before reacting to a tense situation, take a few moments to breathe deeply and count to ten to defuse your temper. If necessary, take a break from the person or situation until your frustration subsides a bit.
No. 2: Think before you speak
In the heat of the moment, it's easy to say something you'll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything—and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.
No. 3: Get some exercise
If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other favorite physical activities. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals to leave you feeling more relaxed.
No. 4: Practice relaxation skills
When your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene. Listen to music, write in a journal or do whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.
No. 5: Identify possible solutions
Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Remind yourself that anger won't fix a child's messy room or a partner's late arrival, and might only make it worse.
No. 6: Once you're calm, express your anger
As soon as you're thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive way without being confrontational. State your case clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.
No. 7: Stick with 'I' statements
To avoid criticizing or placing blame. This might only increase tension. Say how the problem affects you. Be respectful and specific.
No. 8: Don't hold a grudge
It's unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want at all times. Forgiveness is a powerful tool. Don't allow bitterness to crowd out positive feelings.
No. 9: Use humor to release tension
Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Don't use sarcasm, though—it can hurt feelings and make things worse.
No. 10: Know when to seek help
Learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Consider seeking help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you.
Now we know how anger affects the body, it's worth making a concentrated effort to remain calm.