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The word hostility comes from the latin work "hostis", which means "enemy". This origin is descriptive of hostile people, because they are their own enemy. Hostility is a term used for the build up of anger. This response is the result of multiple minor annoyances that accumulate to a boiling point.

Are you a hostile person? People who are hostile are those who are tense and uptight even when they are smiling. They have an intense need to win even when they are "competing" for recreation with friends. Although they have a tendency to be extremely critical of others they are sensitive to slightest criticism. Arguments often occur over trivial matters.

When the body is constantly functioning in this hostile mode, the immune system is weakened. There is a constant release of hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine, prolactin and testosterone. These hormones increase the blood pressure, heart rate, blood volume, and respiration. These responses would be harmless if they occurred only occasionally, but in hostile individuals the part of the nervous system that slows things down becomes ineffective. The body stays in this heightened state all the time. There is no relief, even with sleep.

The heart is particularly at risk when a person lives under these conditions. When the heart beats faster and pumps more blood, more wear and tear is sustained. Damage occurs in the walls of the coronary arteries, which are the arteries that go to the heart. When these walls get "scuffed" and damaged it is easier for plaque to stick to them. This plaque accumulates to fill up the arteries much like a pipe that gets plugged with lime. When the "pipes" to the heart are reduced in size blood is unable to reach the muscle and this is how heart attacks occur. Without blood, heart tissue dies.

Numerous studies have shown that hostile personalities suffer more coronary blockages, Coronary heart disease, death from heart disease and second heart attacks. Certain studies have even predicted which participants would be diagnosed with these heart conditions. So what should you do if you are reading this feeling like you should be expecting a heart attack any moment?

The first step is to recognize that you need practice to break the habit of hostility. Ask yourself why your buttons are being pushed or why you are angry. Could you be overreacting because of an insecurity you feel about yourself? If you have a legitimate reason be angry, stand up for yourself. Don't be a doormat. Make your feelings known in a direct manner. Hostile people get into the habit of not trusting people and assuming the worst in every situation. Remind yourself to be tolerant and non-judgmental. When things are starting to get to you, try to distract yourself from the situation. For example, if traffic is getting you heated, turn up the radio and start singing. (I personally, recommend turning up an oldies channel. The lyrics are sometimes silly and can instantly lift your mood). Eliminate substances from your diet that could further increase the speed of you body's systems. Some of these include: caffeine, sugar, and nicotine.