How to Handle Hostility

Do you always feel at war with the people around you? Anger and hostility can harm your health. While you can’t change your personality, it’s entirely possible to dial down angry thinking and behaviour. Take these steps to keep momentary flare-ups from becoming infernos.

From: All New, All Natural Approaches to Diabetes, Reader's Digest Canada

Get Away…

Sometimes the only way to keep from blowing your top is to leave the situation that’s provoking you until you can calm down. Best bet: Take an exercise break. If it’s not possible to physically get away from the situation, distract your mind by counting to 10; that’s timeless advice because it works.

…Or Take a Mental Getaway

Even though you can’t escape to a beautiful, peaceful place every time you lose your cool, if you can step out of the present and imagine such a place – including all the sights, sounds, smells, and even temperature, you can experience it. The scenario you choose is up to you but here are a few suggestions to get you going:

1. Picture yourself on a mountaintop surrounded by lush tropical vegetation but open to the sky, so you’re bathed in sunlight. Note the deep blue color of the sky, feel the sun’s rays soothing your body, smell the fragrance of the flowers all around, and hear the patter of drops falling off leaves after a recent rain. Look far below and see the shore of a tranquil beach on a placid lake.

2. Take yourself to the shore of the lake and imagine walking along the soft sand. You’re completely alone, but you find a boat tied to a dock. After untying the mooring rope, lie down on soft blankets inside the boat and watch the clouds as you drift on the calm water. The boat rocks gently, and waves gurgle under the hull as you drink in the warmth and feel the soft movement of a breeze. You feel a deep sense of relaxation as you drift between the water and the clouds.

Be Specific

When confronting someone you’re angry with, don’t launch into a laundry list of perceived faults and slights. Instead, focus on the one thing that’s really bothering you—and be sure to figure out what that is before you speak up. Say exactly what you would like to see changed to make the situation better.

Avoid Insults

It may be tempting to “explain” how another person is being inconsiderate or boorish, but you won’t make headway in solving the real issue (getting more help from a spouse, how much money to spend on vacation) if the other person is too busy being defensive to listen. You will also help yourself by seeking out the company of positive people and limiting your exposure to negative or irritating people.

Try Some Tension Taming Techniques

Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenics, and eurythmics are a good place to start. Researchers found that programs using stress management and relaxation training to manage anger have been shown to lower rates of heart attack, and Duke researchers believe the same approaches can help control blood sugar.


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