Tips for Keeping Your Cool

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world! From the waiter who forgets to fill your coffee, to the lousy driver who turns in front of you without signaling, the most minor annoyance can really get your blood boiling! So what is it that makes people so angry – and just what is it doing to your health?

According to Web MD, although anger is completely normal, it does affect you physically. Dr. Charles D. Speilberger is a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida. He’s studied anger for 25 years and he says when something sets you off, your hormone levels increase, your breathing quickens, your pulse and blood pressure soar, you start to sweat and your pupils dilate. Basically, you’re gearing up for action. Speilberger says this is the “fight” part of the “flight or fight” response – a natural reaction to stress that helps us survive. And back in the days when people battled man-eating tigers, this was a necessary response. But nowadays, it’s not needed as much. And the physical affects of getting angry can wear on our bodies over time, leading to high blood pressure, depression and heart disease.

So what’s the solution? Well, you certainly don’t wanna cork up your anger. But you do need to find a healthy way to deal with it. Speilberger offers these tips for keeping your cool:

  • Breathe. Inhale and exhale deeply from your diaphragm – below your chest bone. After a minute or so, your stressed-out body will return to normal and you’ll feel the tension ease up.
  • Take a break. When rage strikes, change the scenery. Leave the room or take a walk if you can. This’ll help you disconnect from whatever’s upsetting you.
  • To deal with your rage, get some exercise. Physical activity decreases stress hormones - like cortisol, and increases endorphins, your body’s feel-good chemicals. This gives you a natural mood boost, making you better able to handle an annoying situation.

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