This month’s topic is on anger. I don’t know about you, but it seems life just gets more complex, overwhelming and stressful. We are in a constant state of information overload: television, email, blackberries – it’s almost impossible to escape. Never in human history have we been so bombarded by stimuli. Anxiety, fear and paralysis can be typical responses to this information overload. Many times the knee- jerk reaction is anger.
Everyone gets angry. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can alert us to a threat or signal a change that needs to be made. The problem is with the reaction we choose to have. We can allow anger to control us or we can choose to control our anger.
Here are some ideas on how to manage your anger:
No one is perfect. As many of you have heard me say many times, even 1 out of 10 is an improvement. Practice makes us better but never perfect!
- Keep a log of all your emotions. What triggers toxic anger for you? Is it a lack of respect, a feeling that someone is wasting your time?
- Practice reacting with empathy. Place yourself in the other person’s shoes.
- Being the object of someone’s anger can be humiliating, shaming and distancing. Most people truly want to get along and find respectful ways to discuss differences. Here’s a longer article discussing the many ways to recognize and deal with anger.
- Scale your anger. Use a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being a full-blown rage. Cut your discussion at a five. Then LEAVE but here’s the catch: make a pact to continue the discussion within 24 hours.
- Take a walk around the block, do fifty pushups. Anger is a physical reaction but it doesn’t give you permission to throw things, slam doors or punch the wall.
- Watch your words – ‘never’ and ‘always’ only create defensiveness
- This is a tough one. Ask the people you love how your anger affects them. To see ourselves though other’s eyes can be painful and humbling yet enlightening.
- A link to a review of many of the aspects of handling anger.