By James M. Rippe

The hostility or anger component of the Type A personality poses the most significant cardiac risk. Here are five simple strategies for helping you control anger:

  • Learn how to trust other people. An open heart is a healthy heart. Individuals who are isolated and fearful of other people increase their risk of cardiac disease. By making an effort to open yourself up to trusting other individuals, you can substantially lower your risk of heart disease.

  • Plant a garden and care for a pet. The Irish poet William Butler Yeats said the definition of a civilized human being is one who plants a garden and cares for a domestic pet. This concept is not only a prescription for a civilized human being, but also a prescription for a heart-healthy life.

  • Practice asserting yourself. Many people keep their emotions bottled up inside. They’re often pleasantly surprised to find out that by standing up for what they believe (in a pleasant way, of course), they can control unwarranted stress in their lives and lead a happier daily existence.

  • Become a volunteer. A wonderful body of literature suggests that volunteers not only do good for other people, but they also improve their own health. Somehow, the act of giving of yourself to other people results in improved health for yourself.

  • Practice forgiveness. Many people keep themselves in a constant state of anger for wrongs or supposed slights from other people or from the world at large. Learning how to forgive others is one of the very best things that you can do to improve your own cardiac health. While you’re at it, forgive yourself, too, for past shortcomings — imagined or real.