Hostility levels may be a better predictor of heart disease risk than “traditional” factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, and being overweight, suggests a study out of Boston University.[1] Another study from Nova Scotia showed that the type of anger mattered. Constructive anger was shown to be protective against coronary heart disease and destructive anger was, well, destructive.[2] A Bible writer chimes in on this one too, with “Be angry, and do not sin,” Ephesians 4:26.

Often escalation takes place within the context of well-established reactive cycles in a relationship. In my observation, the only way out is up. If either person in an escalated situation will take a moment to pray, even within their own heart, they will, by redirecting their focus and energy vertically instead of horizontally, effectively break the cycle. They will also put themselves under the influence of God, who can help them respond with wisdom and prudence, rather than temper.

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References:

[1] Health Psychology, Nov. 2002, “Hostility, the Metabolic Syndrome, and Incident Coronary Heart Disease” Avron Spiro III, PhD, of Boston University

[2] Am Heart J. Feb 2010; 159(2): 199–206, Anger Expression and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: Evidence From the Nova Scotia Health Survey. Karina W. Davidson, PhD1 and Elizabeth Mostofsky, MPH2


About the Author

Jennifer Jill Schwirzer LPC

In 1999 Jennifer graduated summa cum laude from Atlantic Union College. She is the founder of Michael Ministries, a music/speaking/writing ministry. She has produced six CDs of her own music and given concerts in the United States, Canada, Africa, South America, and Europe. Previous books include Testimony of a Seeker, A Most Precious Message, and I Want It All. Jennifer and husband, Michael, have been married for more than 20 years and have two children, Alison and Kimberly.

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