Table of Contents

  • Character Building: The Kindness Game
  • Conflict Resolution: Seven Effective Ways to Settle a Quarrel
  • Interpersonal Relationship: The Power of Hugging
  • Relaxation: Try This for Insomnia
  • Communication:: Exercises in Assertiveness
  • Interpersonal Relationship: Admit Your Mistakes Gracefully
  • Self-Mastery: Are You a Master Weaver of Life?
  • Fulfillment: Joy vs. Happiness
  • Inner Peace: Pain Is Not an Enemy
  • Self-Mastery: You Can Do Something About It
  • Global Peace: Seeing Unity in Religions
  • Global Peace: The World as a Village
  • Self-Mastery: When You Are Angry, Do You Ventilate It?
  • Resources: Peace Quotes
  • Inner Peace: If You Feel Lost or Abandoned. . . .
  • Self-Mastery: Behave the Way You Like to Feel
  • Inner Peace: The Contagious Power Of Calmness
  • Health and Healing: Soy Protein Against Cancer and Heart Attacks
  • Inner Peace: Handling Depressions and Bad Moods
  • Inner Peace: The Truth About Anger and Aggression
  • Character Development: How to Develop Sensitivity


Seven Effective Ways to Settle a Quarrel

Here are tips from David Seabury:

Stop. Remain silent and listen until your opponent asks you to speak.
Suggest a bargain: that each be given a certain time — be it five or fifteen minutes — to speak. The other person is not to say a single word in response, only to listen during that time. Give your side fully.
Try to bring to the surface all the unmentioned and fear-ridden reasons that you could not face or mention while arguing.
Do your utmost to keep impersonal, both while listening, and while speaking.
Set a time for each to respond to the other’s statement, also with no interruption.
If there is still anything to argue about, go apart for one hour, to think quietly. Don’t brood.
When alone, write down all the other person’s points and consider them as honestly as you can.
Source: East and West Series, May 1995, 10, Sadhu Vaswani Path, Pune 411 001, India
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The Power of Hugging

When you are hugged, your body releases endorphins, which are chemicals that are released when your body feels great. Endorphins increase your resistance to disease and help diminish pain.

Never underestimate the power of hugging, even if the other person does not seem to show its beneficial effects.
Susan Smith Jones, Choose to Live Each Day Fully, Celestial Arts Publishing, P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707, U.S.A.
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Exercises in Assertiveness

To be assertive is your right; to be aggressive is to violate the rights of others. Here are simple exercises that can improve your assertiveness.

Make a short request, such as “Excuse me, please let me finish what I am saying.”

Avoid categorical statements like “You always” or “you never.” Use statements like “Just now, when you did. . . .” Always be specific about what overt behavior you want changed.

In a difficult situation, you will tend to experience unpleasant feelings. It will be helpful if you will calm yourself even with a few slow, deep breaths, or go into a brief meditation, before you speak. A calmer voice tends to elicit a calm response from the other party.

Empathize with the other person. If your request might offend the other person, preface it with an understanding of his or her point of view. Example: “The sign is hard to see beneath the oil slicks, but where you are about to park is reserved for the handicapped only.”

If you are upset because someone broke a promise to you, first remind the person what was promised. Then objectively describe what the person actually did. Conclude by stating what you want.

Share your feelings that resulted from the behavior of the other person. Speak in personal terms. Example: “I feel disappointed” rather than “You disappointed me” or “The situation is disappointing.”

State the consequences. Example: “If you stay in the disabled spot, I will have to inform the security guards.” Limit yourself to consequences you are willing to follow through on, so think carefully before issuing any ultimatums.

Redford Williams, M.D. and Virginia Williams, Ph.D., Anger Kills: Seventeen Strategies for Controlling the Hostility That Can Harm Your Health. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 10 East 53rd St., New York, N.Y., 10022, U.S.A.

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Admit Your Mistakes Gracefully

“Admitting you’re wrong is a modest way of showing you’ve grown a little wiser,” write management consultants Promod Batra and Deepak Mahendru. Saying “sorry” will melt anyone and will win you friends.

“It is difficult to say “sorry.” True. It needs more courage than many possess. But once you have said it, you get a good feeling all over. You become a hero to yourself and also in the eyes of others. Here are a few guidelines for saying “sorry”:

Say it with a feeling that you really mean it and it will not happen again.
Realize the lessons you have learned from the mistake and apply them wherever possible.
Here are ways to avoid sorries :

When you have to promise a target date, add 10-30% margin to the time needed to accomplish it. Everything takes longer than you think.
Do not postpone the unpleasant and difficult tasks. Do them now; you will feel much better afterwards.
When making a commitment to others, take into consideration that some of your subordinates may be lazy or incompetent.
Analyze what may go wrong. Set up alternative plans.
As soon as you come to know that you can’t meet the agreed dates, tell your boss or your customer. He may be able to think of better alternatives or prepare himself accordingly.
In the screen of your mind, engrave a Glass of Milk. And then remember there is no gain in crying over spilt milk. Learn lessons from it.

Source: Promod Batra and Deepak Mahendru, Management Ideas in Action. Golden Books Centre Sdn. Bhd., No. 14, 1st Floor, Lorong Bunus Enam, Off Jalan Masjid India, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Are You a Master Weaver of Life?

In our life, it is frequent that mistakes are made. Do we let these mistakes ruin our life? Or do we make use of them to make our life richer and wiser?

Norman Vincent Peale tells us of this insight:

“Many of the world’s finest Oriental rugs come from little villages in the Middle East, China or India. These rugs are hand-produced by crews of men and boys under the direction of a master weaver. They work from the underside of the rug-to-be. It frequently happens that a weaver absent-mindedly makes a mistake and introduces a color that is not according to the pattern. When this occurs, the master weaver, instead of having the thread pulled out in order to correct the color sequence, will find some way to incorporate the mistake harmoniously into the overall pattern. In weaving our lives, we can learn to take unexpected difficulties and mistakes and weave them advantageously into the greater overall pattern of our lives. There is an inherent good in most difficulties.”

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You Can Do Something About It

Make a list of five changes which you think would improve your community, city, country or group. Accomplish the worksheet below by checking what you have already done, and putting an asterisk on any alternative you would consider doing. Select two types of actions, and for the next one month, actually do these two chosen actions to bring about the desired change. Evaluate yourself at the end of the month.

Caution: Be well-informed before you actually act. Hence try to read, learn, interview, or discuss before you take action.

Write a letter
___1. Write a letter to the editor. You can influence public opinion.

___2. Write to your congressman or senator. Compliment them for something they have done on a problem you are concerned about. They are really influenced by mail.

___3.Write to someone in the news who has done something you admire.

Attend a meeting or organize onem
___1. Write an organization you sympathize with and ask that you be put in their mailing list for meetings.

___2. Scan the papers for open meetings which you are interested in.

___3. Ask you own club or civic or church group to have a meeting or invite a guest speaker. Program chairpersons are always looking for good meeting ideas. They probably will be glad to let you help.

Take Part in Some Action
___1. Distribute leaflets from door to door, or at a subway entrance.

___2. Take part in a peaceful march or in some other demonstration.

___3. Organize a petition drive. Even 20 signatures can make news or cause some public official to take notice.

___4. Interview people who are in a position to influence others. Sometimes just a series of perceptive questions can make an issue become alive.

___5. Wear a button or post a slogan or bumper sticker.

___6. Go as a member of a delegation to see some official on an issue.

Face-to-Face Acts
___1. Speak up for your point of view.

___2. Try to get someone to read a pamphlet or article that argues for a different position than the one he holds.

___3. Try to close the gap between what you say and what you do. Let your life be a living argument for what you believe in.

Make your own lists. Yes, you can do something.

Dr. Sidney B. Simon, Dr. Leland W. Howe, Dr. Howard Kirschenbaum, Values Clarification. Warner Books, P.O. Box 690, New York, N.Y., 10019, U.S.A.

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Seeing Unity in Religions

Much blood has been shed in the name of God and religion. Some of the bitterest and longest wars were those that involved differences of faiths and beliefs. Will this have to continue for centuries to come?

Since the advent of comparative religion as a field of study, there is now a growing view among religious philosophers that the essentials of the great religious traditions are basically identical — that the differences that people quarrel about are things that are peripheral or incidental, rooted in prejudice or narrowness of understanding of their own religions. This body of common wisdom that unites religions has been known by many names. Leibniz and Aldous Huxley calls it the perennial philosophy, Ammonius Saccas and H.P. Blavatsky calls it theosophy; the Hindus call it Brahma Vidya; others call it the Ancient Wisdom or the Ageless Wisdom.

“Rudiments of the Perennial Philosophy,” says Aldous Huxley, “may be found among the traditional lore of primitive peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms it has a place in every one of the higher religions.” (Perennial Philosophy)

H.P. Blavatsky wrote: “Shoots and branches spring from the same trunk — the Wisdom Religion. To prove this was the aim of Ammonius, who endeavored to induce Gentiles and Christians, Jews and Idolaters, to lay aside their contentions and strifes, remembering only that they were all in possession of the same truth under various vestments, and were all the children of a common mother.” (The Key to Theosophy)

True universal ecumenism is one of the crucial keys to the cessation of violence among the great religions of the world. It is not simply tolerance, but genuine appreciation of the approach of another faith towards the same Truth. One who works for it truly works for peace.

Sources: Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy. Fontana Books, London; H.P. Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras, India.

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The World as a Village

If at this very moment the Earth’s population were shrunk to a village with a population of exactly 100, it would look like this:

There would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 North, Central and South Americans, and 9 Africans.
70 of the hundred would be people of color, 30 would be white.
70 would be non-Christians, 30 Christians.
50% of the entire village’s wealth would be in the hands of 6 people, and all 6 would be citizens of the United States.
70 would be unable to read.
50 would suffer from malnutrition
80 would live in sub-standard housing.
Only one of the 100 would have a university education.
Source: Nonviolent Action, NACC, 4554 12th Ave. NE, Seattle, Washington 98105, U.S.A. Data gathered from U.N. Demographic Data, a division of the United Nations.

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If You Feel Lost or Abandoned. . . .

You may profit from the insight of Deena Metzger, who found that life can sometimes be understood through metaphors or stories.

“Some years ago,” she wrote, “I was very depressed, I tried to explain the quality of the experience to Corey Fischer of the Traveling Jewish Theater. I spoke of the dryness of my spirit, the lack of water, moisture, and juiciness in my life. Nothing is growing, I said. Everything is barren.” Oh,” Corey said, “you must be in the desert.”

Suddenly my despair lifted. He had located me in story. I knew some of the dimensions of desert stories. I knew they involved forty days, as with Christ, or forty years, as with the Israelites. I knew the territory and how to proceed in it. I had a map. Though I was in the desert, I suddenly had hope.

I was still oppressed: the desert is hot and oppressive. I was still sometimes afraid that I would become lost, that I would die. But there were other possibilities to be experienced, as well. The desert is often a place of spiritual journey. It is a traditional place for retreat, the abode of hermits and ecstatics, the territory of solitude. In the desert, one confronts illusion, or learns wandering and faith as Hagar did, or wrestles with the angel as Jacob did, or wrestles with the devil as did Christ.

Source: Nourishing the Soul edited by Anne Simpkinson, Charles Simpkinson & Rose Solari, Harper Collins Publishers Inc., 10 East 53rd Street, New York, N.Y. 10022 U.S.A.

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Behave the Way You Like to Feel

We all know that when we feel cheerful, we tend to behave cheerfully. What many of us do not know is that when we behave cheerfully, we also tend to feel cheerful. Feelings follow action. Try frowning your face and see what you feel. Try smiling.

“I don’t sing because I’m happy,” wrote psychologist William James, “I’m happy because I sing.” Another psychologist, William Glasser, advises: “If you want to change attitudes, start with a change in behavior.”

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The Contagious Power of Calmness

During the Vietnam war, a platoon of American soldiers, crouching in rice paddies, was engaged in a battle with Vietcong guerrillas. Suddenly, a line of six monks started walking along the elevated grounds that separated the paddies. Perfectly calm and poised, the monks walked directly toward the line of fire.

“They didn’t look right, they didn’t like life. They walked straight through,” recalls David Bushch, one of the American soldiers. “It was really strange, because nobody shot at ’em. And after they walked over the berm, suddenly all the fight was out of me. It just didn’t feel like I wanted to do this anymore, at least not that day. It must have been that way for everybody, because everybody quit. We just stopped fighting.”

Daniel Goleman comments: “The power of the monks’ quietly courageous calm to pacify soldiers in the heat of battle illustrates a basic principle of social life: Emotions are contagious. . . . We send emotional signals in every encounter, and those signals affect those we are with.”

Source: Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence. Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10036, U.S.A.

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Soy Protein Against
Cancer and Heart Attacks

There are four times more women in England who have breast cancer than in Japan. Medical Sciences Bulletin says that researchers are now finding that soy-derived foods may have something to do with the low level of breast cancer among Japanese. Soy-based food contain isofavones (nonsteroidal estrogen) which have been found to be reduce mammary tumor growth in animals. Japanese consume isofavones at the rate of 150 to 200 mg/day.

A major article in The New England Journal of Medicine also reported that if people switch from animal protein to soy protein, total blood cholesterol levels fall by an average of 9.3% within three weeks to six months. A diet which includes 47 grams of soy protein a day can cut cholesterol down by 20% for those whose cholesterol levels are high. A glass of soy milk provides about eight grams of soy protein, as does half a cup of tofu. A burger with soy pattie provides 18 grams of protective protein.

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How to Develop Sensitivity

Sensitivity is a capacity possessed by great persons. It includes empathy, considerateness, caring. It makes relationships deep and meaningful. It makes a person truly human.

Sensitivity should be developed from childhood. Here are steps by which we can develop it, according to best-selling authors Richard and Linda Eyre:

Understand. First, we must understand the meaning and importance of sensitivity. It does not mean that self-centeredness that makes one easily hurt by small or imagined things. It is to be sensitive to the feelings and situations of other people.
Observe. Next we must develop the capacity to truly see and listen to others. It takes practice. Listening, for example, means that we are actively listening, not just hearing. When someone is explaining something, it helps to ask questions that clarify. When someone tells us his or her name, do we take an active effort to remember?
Feel. We cannot be sensitive until we can perceive and understand feelings — both our own and that of others. It starts with an awareness of our own feelings, then taking an interest in the feelings of others, and then developing empathy for the feelings of others.
Communicate. Our observations and empathic feelings are of limited use without the ability to communicate them effectively. These are skills or tools that we must learn to develop. They allow us to comfort, help, contribute and to form deep relationships.
Do. Then we must translate our own insights and understandings into action — service.
By completing these five steps, a child as well as an adult develops genuine qualities of sensitivity. It is a quality that will make life more meaningful because of deeper and more authentic relationships with people.

Source: Linda and Richard Eyre, Teaching Your Children Sensitivity. Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY, U.S.A.

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The Kindness Game

One way to teach little children about kindness, says authors Linda and Richard Eyre, is to play a little game with them.

Tell them, “I’m going to tell about some little children and you tell me whether what they do is kind or unkind.”

Timmy is invited to play at Robert’s house, but after he’s been there for about half an hour, he says, “I am tired of playing with you. I am going to Mario’s house.” Kind or unkind? Why?
Sally is playing with Jean when she suddenly says: “Your hair is really pretty!” Kind or unkind? Why?
And so on — make your own scenarios, and ask them whether the act is kind or unkind.
Source: Linda and Richard Eyre, Teaching Your Children Values. Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY, U.S.A.

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Try This for Insomnia

This rocking exercise, says yoga teacher Indra Devi, can relieve insomnia. A British army officer who had trouble sleeping, told her that after a week of rocking, he had thrown away his sleeping pills and was sleeping peacefully through the night. Try it but make sure that you are lying on soft material:

Sit on an exercise mat or soft rug so your back will not hit the hard floor. Allow yourself plenty of space to move around in.
Bend your knees, clasping your hands underneath them, and draw them up toward you.
Bend your head slightly forward. Keeping your spine rounded, rock back and forth as you would in a rocking chair.
Rock four to six times, then lie on the floor and relax, breathing deeply.
Source: Diane Dreher, The Tao of Peace, Donald I. Fine Inc. , New York.
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Joy vs. Happiness

Joy is more than happiness, says author Catherine E. Rollins.

Happiness is dependenton outer circumstances – such as a happy surprise, a bright morning, a cozy feeling of being loved.
Joy is rooted not in the external but in the internal. It is an attitude based on these beliefs:
Life is important
Life has direction
Life has meaning and purpose
Life holds potentials
Direction, meaning and potentials are all worth seeking and achieving.

Joy is rooted in the belief that life is good and that you are good and that both have the capacity for being better.
Joy is more than positive thinking. It is the spark at the core of your being that you refuse to allow to be extinguished, no matter how fierce the winds of woe are blowing or how dark the circumstances.
Joy comes when you stare down fear and say, “I will not let fear swamp my boat. I will not let darkness overtake me.”
Choose Joy today. Choose to perceive yourself as a joyful person. You have the power to be that – no matter what other difficulties may lie ahead.

Source: Catherine E. Rollins, 52 Ways to Build Your Self-Esteem and Confidence. Thomas Nelson, Inc. Nashville, Tennessee.
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Pain Is Not an Enemy

People who like to be happy often try to avoid pain. This is the biggest mistake that people make, says Dr. Alan Epstein in his book How to be Happier Day by Day. Here are some of his insights:

Pain avoidance is bound to fail as a life strategy, since pain and suffering and hardship, either physical or emotional, are an inevitable part of the human landscape.
The reality is that you never really avoid pain, you never really don’t feel it, and you never really insulate yourself from the repercussions of your reaction to pain.
Pain grows if it is not acknowledged. It can manifest as backaches, heart disease, cancer, or numbness.
In order to be as joyful as you are capable of being, acknowledge it when you are feel bad, and try to see the feeling not as an enemy, but an ally. You will be surprised at how much less painful the feeling eventually becomes. Working through pain, not around it, to the pleasure at the other end, is a healthier course of action.

Alan Epstein, Ph. D., How to Be Happier Day by Day. Viking Penguin, 375 Hudson St., New York, N.Y., 10014, U.S.A.
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When You Are Angry,
Do You Ventilate It?

We often hear the advice that it is good to express or ventilate your anger because it relieves you of the anger rather than suppress it.

A psychologist found out that this is not a good advice. Diane Tice of the Case Western Reserve University interviewed 400 men and women about the methods of escaping foul moods and how successful these strategies were.

Tice found that ventilating anger is one of the worst ways to cool down when you are angry. Outburst of anger usually increases the emotional brain’s arousal, leaving people more angry, not less. When people express their rage on the person who provoke it, the effect was to prolong the mood rather than end it.

What is a more effective way? It appears more effective when a person first cools down, and then, in a more constructive or assertive manner, confronts the person to settle their dispute.

As Chogyam Trungpa said when asked how best to handle anger: “Don’t suppress it. But don’t act on it.”

Source: Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence. Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, U.S.A

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Peace Quotes

In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so. IMMANUEL KANT

Compromise does not mean cowardice. JOHN F. KENNEDY

A dictator must fool all the people all the time and there’s only one way to do that, he must also fool himself. SOMERSET MAUGHAM

He who can control his rising anger as a coachman controls his carriage at full speed, this man I call a good driver; others merely hold the reins. GAUTAMA BUDDHA

Essential characteristics of a gentleman: The will to put himself in the place of others; the horror of forcing others into positions from which he would himself recoil; the power to do what seems to him to be right, without considering what others may say or think. JOHN GALSWORTHY

Words, like glasses, obscure everything which they do not make clear. JOSEPH JOUBERT

I have known some quite good people who were unhappy, but never an interested person who was unhappy. A.C. BENSON

There is No Pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and doing it. JACOB M. BRAUDE

Every great man . . .
. . . every successful, no matter what the field of endeavor, has known the magic that lies in these words: Every adversity has the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit. W. CLEMENT STONE

Governments are nation-minded . . .
. . . religions are church-minded; labor unions are union-minded; businessmen are business-minded. But, although all of these exist for the benefit of humanity, none seems to be truly people minded. HARRY E. BARNES

Fear . . .
. . . makes the wolf bigger than he is. GERMAN PROVERB

Nobody was born nonviolent. . . .
. . . No one was born charitable. None of us comes to these things by nature but only by conversion. The first duty of the nonviolent community is helping its members work upon themselves and come to conversion. LANZA DEL VASTO

If You Hear That Someone is Speaking Ill of You . . .
. . . instead of trying to defend yourself you should say: “He obviously does not know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned.” EPICTETUS

He Who Is Really Free . . .
. . . can wear any faith, or even stage or mode of living, and be his true self in it. He is free of all modes and forms, for he has found the Life in all things. GEORGE S. ARUNDALE

Try Living One Day . . .
. . . without any unhealthy thoughts. It may be very difficult, but try another day, until it becomes habitual, and life will move in the direction of becoming healthy, vital, and alive. NORMAN VINCENT PEALE

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Handling Depressions and Bad Moods

Many people are susceptible to depressions and low moods. Brooding and rumination often make them worse. Researches have found certain ways that are effective in lifting oneself from such foul moods. Here are some of them as identified by author Daniel Goleman:

Aerobic exercise is one of the most effective mood-lifters, particularly for people who do not exercise very much. Depression is a low-arousal state, while aerobics puts the body into high arousal.
Cheering oneself up through treats and pleasurable activities is another way, such as taking hot baths, eating favoring foods, buying oneself a gift, window shopping, etc.
Achieving a small triumph or easy success, such a long-delayed chore or some other duty one has been wanting to clear up.
Seeing things differently. Cancer patients who can think of other people who are in even worse shape tend to have better moods.
Helping others in need. It lifts us out of ruminations and preoccupation’s with the self. This can be doing volunteer work or helping another person who is suffering.
Turning to a transcendent power, such as praying, can be effective mood-lifters for religious people

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Source: Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence. Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10036, U.S.A.
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The Truth About Anger and Aggression

Here are myths about anger, as corrected by Carol Tavris:

Myth #1: “Aggression is the instinctive catharsis for anger.”

REALITY: Aggression is an acquired cathartic habit, a learned reaction practiced by people who think they can get away with behaving this way.

Myth #2: “Talking out our anger gets rid of it – or at least makes you feel less angry.”

REALITY: A series of studies indicates that overt expression can focus or even increase anger. Tavris suggests that before speaking out, evaluate whether one wants to stay or not.

Myth #3: “Tantrums and other childhood rages are healthy expressions of anger that forestall neuroses.”

REALITY: Tantrums, which peak at two and three years of age, begin to wane by age four, unless the child learns to control others through such behavior. Says Tavris: “The emotions are as subject to the laws of learning as any other behavior.”

Redford Williams, M.D. and Virginia Williams, Ph.D., Anger Kills: Seventeen Strategies for Controlling the Hostility That Can Harm Your Health. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 10 East 53rd St., New York, N.Y., 10022, U.S.A.

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Prepared by:
Peace Center
Theosophical Society in the Philippines