Anger Kills: Seventeen Strategies for Controlling the Hostility That Can Harm Your Health

Overview

Stop getting mad...and start saving your life!

Anger isn't just a negative emotion. It may also lead to heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses, according to the latest medical research. Now, Anger Kills helps you assess just how much hostility, cynicism, and aggression rule your life. Incorporating recent scientific data and the methods developed in the authors' anger-reduction workshops, this practical guide explains how to recognize anger points and control them ...

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Overview

Stop getting mad...and start saving your life!

Anger isn't just a negative emotion. It may also lead to heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses, according to the latest medical research. Now, Anger Kills helps you assess just how much hostility, cynicism, and aggression rule your life. Incorporating recent scientific data and the methods developed in the authors' anger-reduction workshops, this practical guide explains how to recognize anger points and control them using seventeen proven, successful strategies, from deflecting anger to improving relationships to adopting a more positive attitude. The authors also provide practical solutions for effectively dealing with hostile people to help you improve and diminish painful encounters and enjoy a calmer, happier life.

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Editorial Reviews

Joan Borysenko
Groundbreaking. . . Practical and eminently researched. . . Red and Virginia Williams leads us out of the wilderness of anger into a gentler terrain of awareness, understanding, respect, and forgiveness.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061097539
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/28/1998
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 316,085
  • Product dimensions: 6.76 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Redford Williams, M.D., is director of behavioral research at Duke University Medical Center, professor of psychiatry, and associate professor of medicine. He interned at Yale University School of Medicine and did two years of research at the National Institutes of Health. He is the author of The Trusting Heart as well as dozens of scientific papers.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Am I at Risk?




"We boil at different degrees."

Ralph Waldo Emerson,
nineteenth-century U.S. philosopher




"Anger kills. But will it kill me?" you ask.

About 20 percent of the general population has levels of hostility high enough to be dangerous to health. Another 20 percent has very low levels, and the rest of the population falls somewhere in between.

Let's determine your profile right now, before you read about the research behind the strong statements in the introduction. At this early juncture, you will be better able to assess your risk without being tempted to second guess how your answers fit with the research findings.

Unfortunately, there is at present no "gold standard" test you can take to gauge whether your hostility level is in the dangerous range. As research over the past decade has pointed more and more to hostility as a health-damaging personality trait, questionnaires, interviews, and other techniques to measure this toxic characteristic have proliferated. But as of now, none of these approaches can be accepted as definitive.

The single questionnaire that appears most valid--in terms of ability to predict increased risk of disease and death in several studies--is the "Hostility" ("Ho" for short) scale, made up of fifty questions from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), a widely used psychological test. However, not all studies--for reasons as yet unclear--have found Ho scores to predict health problems. And in a study led by John Barefoot, one of Redford's colleagues at Duke, just twenty-seven of the Hoscale's fifty questions accounted for the prediction of increased death rates in a group of attorneys who were followed up twenty-five years after taking the MMPI while in law school. The other twenty-three questions did not predict this result at all.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that development of better hostility-assessment tools is an area of intense ongoing research interest. Hence, Redford and his colleagues have grouped, according to their content, the twenty-seven Ho scale questions that did predict higher death rates in the study of lawyers. This led to the formation of three categories of questions that relate to hostile attitudes, emotions, and actions. Using those questions and categories as a starting point, we have added additional questions from other scales and questionnaires, as well as drawn upon our own personal experience (especially Redford's as a typical hostile guy), to develop an expanded set of questions tapping each of these three categories. The result is the new Hostility Questionnaire you are about to take. To make the questionnaire easier to understand and take, we have simplified the format of the questions.

Although this questionnaire is still in the process of being validated in Redford's ongoing research, it should be at least as valid as the Ho scale that is its principal source. We have used it in some of the seminars and workshops we have conducted recently and find that most people taking it feel that it accurately taps their hostility level.

Go ahead now and take the Hostility Questionnaire, which follows. It will provide you with one yardstick by which to measure your hostility level. The last part of this chapter offers a second approach you can use to assess your hostility.


The Hostility Questionnaire



Taking a written test is the first and easiest way to evaluate your hostility level. Your answers, taken all together, should provide a reasonably accurate profile of your attitudes and behaviors, if you take care to answer accurately.

It's always tempting to answer such questions as though a parent, fifth-grade teacher, or someone we want to impress were looking over our shoulder! Try to get rid of your chaperone before you begin. Avoid the temptation to choose the response you think you ought to pick, or the one you think would sound right to other people. Answer as spontaneously as you can. Otherwise, you will only be fooling yourself. Unlike the tests you took in school, there are no right or wrong answers here. What feels right to you is the correct answer.

Each question describes a specific or general situation that you have probably encountered. If you haven't encountered it, imagine as vividly as you can how you would react in the situation.

After each description you are presented with two responses, A or B, describing how that situation might affect you, or how you might behave under those circumstances. In some instances, neither response may seem to fit, or both may appear equally desirable. This is normal; go ahead and answer anyway, choosing as best you can the single response that is more likely for you in that situation.

You may prefer to write down the numbers 1 through 46 on a blank sheet of paper, and then write an "A" or "B" beside each number, to indicate your choice for the corresponding question. This way, others can take the test without being influenced by your responses. In addition, your responses can remain private.

Remember, choose only one response for each situation described.

Take as much time as you need to make your choice for each item, but remember that what seems right at first glance--your "gut" reaction--usually represents your true position. On average it should take about fifteen minutes to answer all of the questions.

As you will learn in the next chapter, these may be fifteen minutes that will help you decide you need to make fundamental changes in how you think, feel, and act.

1. A teenager drives by my yard with the car stereo blaring acid rock.

A. I begin to understand why teenagers can't hear.

B. I can feel my blood pressure starting to rise.



2. The person who cuts my hair trims off more than I wanted.

A. I tell him or her what a lousy job he or she did.

B. I figure it'll grow back, and I resolve to give my instructions more forcefully next time.



Anger Kills. Copyright © by Redford Williams. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2003

    Anger Lives

    Anger Kills is a good read for anyone who faces an environment where anger lives. Our culture sometimes glorifies anger and violence but this book details the many faces of anger that readers may encounter. The authors make it easy to see how expressed AND supressed anger may be affecting you and your relationships. Logical advice is presented as 17 "survival skills" that include topics such as: Reason With Yourself, Meditate and Assert Yourself. But the life prolonging advice doesn't stop there, Anger Kills also illustrates how to deal with your own anger and the anger of others while you work at making positive changes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2001

    Great Book

    Amazing outlook on anger. Self evaluation of anger, cynicism and aggression to give one a 'Hostility Rating.' Self help on reducing or eliminating a potential life threatening life style. Well written and one does not need a PHD in Psychology to understand.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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