Today’s tip and Wednesday’s are adapted from my book, The Triple Whammy Cure.
Anger is one of those everyday emotions that we’re stuck with because we’re human. In the long run, anger serves no useful purpose and we’re all better off without it.
If you put the brakes on an episode of anger and thoughtfully analyze it, you’ll be amazed as you unravel the complex path you took to arrive at your state of irritation, annoyance, or even rage. Exploring just how your button got pushed may give you some real insight into yourself.
An episode of anger can be triggered by a specific person (your partner, boss, friend) or an event (a delayed flight, your son’s nose ring, your neighbor’s barking dog). Usually, anger is a result of stress, the response you feel when you’re in a situation in which others control you, rather than you controlling yourself.
Anger comes about in a situation where you feel some other force is calling the shots in your life. And you don’t like it one bit.
Consider anger at your boss. She’s done you some sort of an injustice, but since she’s still your boss and controls your paycheck you feel helpless and nurse a brooding resentment. Or if your son comes home with a second nose ring. Your anger (if you pause to think) comes less from him looking like an idiot and more because you realize you’re helpless and can’t control him like you could (maybe!) when he was three.
Because anger so frequently has us saying things we’ll regret 24 hours later, it’s virtually never constructive or useful. Hotheadedness is not a trait we’re prone to admire in people. Rather, we instinctively like those who keep their cool. Unconsciously, we attribute to them that most valuable of traits, wisdom. They seem to recognize that life’s too short to waste it on anger.
Doctors also tell us how destructive anger is to our bodies. Chronically angry people have high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, and actually die younger. This information alone should be enough to get you to start taking some positive steps to permanently erasing anger from your life.
Don’t worry. You’ll still be entitled to an outburst of “Darn!” As is “Darn! This traffic is bad.” But people who limit their response to statements like that are never, ever arrested for road rage.
On Wednesday, a few easy strategies for dealing with anger.