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Alison Beaver: Hostility and Your Heart: How Personality Plays a Role in Health

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I am:
Friendly, Empathetic, Nurturing..and Hostile ??!!

Many women I have spoken with describe themselves in relationships with others as nurturing, friendly, and emphatic. Some of these same women also say they feel overburdened, resentful, tired and frustrated. Even hostile.

These women who describe themselves as being “resentful” or “hostile” may be attempting to be the colloquial “everything to everyone” (inevitably becoming overburdened, and unable to provide a certain someone –themselves- with self-nurturing). These women may also be caretakers for loved ones with chronic illnesses, or primary caretakers of infants or elderly parents. Or, they may “just” be caretakers of their family on a day-after-day basis, unable to find enough time, understanding or support from their also over-worked family and friends.

Hostility plays an important role in the health of your heart; research shows that hostility and excessive, chronic stress can leave us more prone to developing heart problems. The good news is: no matter where you are on the “I’m Stressed!” continuum, there is an important protective factor that can help you reduce some of your risk for cardiovascular problems. Hardiness.

A hardy person is characterized as a resilient person who has:
1) Commitment to a long-term goal
2) Control and confidence that they can influence outcomes
3) Challenges; hardiness involves viewing stressors a welcome challenge and not an insurmountable barrier

The three “C’s” can be obtained through practice; you aren’t necessarily born "hardy". Hardiness means being resilient; bouncing back from excessive stress. A hardy, resilient person is more than just a positive and optimistic thinker. The American Psychological Association (www.apa.org) suggests 10 ways to build resilience (and your hardiness factor).
1) Make Connections
2) Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems
3) Accept that change is part of living
4) Move toward your goals
5) Take decisive actions
6) Look for opportunities for self-discovery
7) Nurture a positive view of yourself
8) Keep things in perspective
9) Maintain a hopeful outlook
10) Take care of yourself

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