A friend recently told me a story about an avid football fan he once knew who would leap to his feet shouting and swearing at the telly whenever he disagreed with the referee. Nothing particularly unusual about that, perhaps, but this person had such high blood pressure that these outbursts were a serious threat to his health and it was his doctor who advised him to count to ten whenever the referee made a provocative call.
He duly followed instructions, counting to ten as fast as he could and then following on with his usual rant.

The story was told to me in a light-hearted, joking way in the course of a conversation about losing one’s temper. On the surface the point appears to be that the traditional advice does not work. People who find that their temper causes them problems in life need to find another way of dealing with it.

But I wonder. In remembering to do the counting first, this man was surely exercising self control. OK, he still wanted to have his say but his shouting and swearing was what he chose to do. The point about losing one’s temper is saying or doing things, whilst out of control, that one does not want to do.

It seems to me that the doctor may have found a cure for the man’s soul rather than his body. But would a rational outburst be as detrimental to his health as a spontaneous one?


About Rosalie Squires

'Who am I?' is a question whose answer keeps evolving, that can be answered in many, many ways; that has no known answer at all. But there are some clues to be found: stocksharpsquires.wordpress.
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5 Responses to Temper

  1. paulaacton says:

    The other thing to consider is having a rant at something really that bad when condiering the implications of bottling those feelings up inside. By letting it out it is over in seconds minutes at most but keeping it inside it could build and build for hours or days.

    • Thanks for your comment. I suppose there are rants and rants. A harmless letting off of steam would seem preferable to letting things build up but this doesn’t sound harmless if the doctor was concerned about the effect on his health.

  2. RoSy says:

    I find that saying it out-loud releases stress for me.

  3. torimcrae says:

    Hi Rosalie. Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking my “Book Review” post.

    Regarding the ranting football fan: Ahh. But is there any proof that the tirade actually raises the man’s blood pressure? The doctor wasn’t there to test it? Are there any studies or is it medical mythology? Yes, I agree there is a difference between a spontaneous, uncontrolled rage at something vs. a deliberate rant to spout off.
    Tori at http://torimcrae.wordpress.com

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