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Taming Your Temper: Learning to Turn Down the Heat

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ --You're late for work, your toddler spilled jam on your suit and now your car won't start. How do you deal with the rising anger? Whether you brush it off and move on, or lash out in frustration, how you deal with anger affects not only yourself, but also your spouse, your children and even your career.

As hard as we may try to stay calm, situations always arise that push our buttons. While feeling anger isn't a bad thing, it is important to constructively express that anger. It may seem surprising, but being overly passive and keeping your anger pent up can be just as unhealthy as having a violent outburst. Both reactions can cause headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure and digestive problems. A recent study at the Duke University Medical Center even found a link between anger and heart disease -- yet another reason to tame your temper.

If your health isn't enough of a motivation to control your anger, outbursts in the office or at home can be detrimental to your career and personal life. Blowing up at a co-worker can negatively affect morale, productivity and teamwork in the workplace. In the household, intense or chronic anger can have a devastating effect on children and your marriage.

So how do you know if you need to express your anger more constructively? Use these questions to assess your response to anger:
-- Do you try to intimidate others with your anger?

-- Does your expression of anger ever frighten or overwhelm yourself or


-- Do you use threatening language or gestures?

-- Do you get angry enough to physically harm someone or something?

-- Do you turn to alcohol or drugs to ease your anger?

-- Do you experience muscle tension or an elevated heartbeat when you get


-- Do you try to hide or suppress your angry feelings from others?

If your answer is yes to even just two of these questions, you should seek pr

SOURCE California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
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