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Bad Temper? It May Increase Your Risk of Heart Attack

The evidence is just pouring in on how important it is to maintain a positive attitude and find ways to release negative emotions in healthy ways. This latest study from Washington State University found that people over the age of 50 who express their anger by lashing out are more likely to have calcium deposits in their coronary arteries -- an indication that you’re at a high risk for a heart attack -- than their mellower peers.

Letting your anger out explosively may be harmful because it triggers surges in stress hormones and injures blood vessel linings. However, simply holding in your anger isn’t the answer either; this has been linked to increases in blood pressure and heart rate.

What can you do to release your anger in a healthy way? A key step is using an energy psychology tool like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which I commonly use in my practice to help patients deal with all kinds of negative emotions. EFT works to clear the "short-circuit" -- the emotional block behind your anger -- from your body's bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body's balance.

Other great tips for dealing with anger in a more positive way include:

  • Relaxation techniques (slow deep breathing, meditation)
  • Trying to empathize with the person (or situation) you’re angry with
  • Exercise (vigorous activity is an excellent way to release angry energy that has built up, and gentler exercise, like yoga, can help you calm down afterward)

USA Today March 7, 2007