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Mental Health Problems and Mind-Body Wellness

Anger and Hostility

Home Treatment - When to Call a Health Professional

Anger signals your body to prepare for a fight. When you get angry, adrenaline and other hormones are released into your bloodstream. Your blood pressure, pulse, and respiration rate all go up.

Anger is a normal response to daily events. It is the appropriate response to any situation that poses a threat. Anger can be directed to become a positive, driving force behind your actions.

Hostility is being ready for a fight all the time. Continual hostility keeps your blood pressure high and may increase your risk for heart attack and other illnesses. Being hostile also isolates you from other people.

Home Treatment

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  • Try to understand the real reason why you are angry. Is it the current situation that is making you angry or something that happened earlier in the day?

  • Notice when you start to become angry, and take steps to deal with your anger in a positive way. Don't ignore your anger until you "blow up." Express your anger in healthy ways:

    • Count to 10 or practise some other form of mental relaxation (See Relaxation Skills). When you have calmed down, you will be better able to discuss the conflict rationally.

    • Try screaming or yelling in a private place, not at other people.

    • Go for a short walk or jog.

    • Talk about your anger with a friend.

    • Draw or paint to release the anger, or write about it in a journal.

  • Use "I" statements, not "you" statements, to discuss your anger. Say "I feel angry when my needs are not being met," instead of "You make me mad when you are so inconsiderate."

  • If you are angry with someone, listen to what the other person has to say. Try to understand his or her point of view.

  • Forgive and forget. Forgiving helps lower blood pressure and ease muscle tension so you can feel more relaxed.

  • Read books about anger and how to handle it. See Violent Behaviour for additional information about anger and violent behaviour.

When to Call a Health Professional

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  • If anger has led or could lead to violence or harm to you or someone else.

  • If anger or hostility interferes with your work, family life, or friendships.

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