I’m still on the road but heading southward again. I visited friends in Grand Rapids, MI over the weekend and had a great time. That and the fun of BlogHer last weekend have left me feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. I hope it lasts for a while.
I’m normally a pretty easy-going and relaxed person, but I’ve been noticing lately that I’m quicker to anger these days. I suspect it’s a little bit hormones and a little bit uncertainty over employment (or lack thereof.) It’s not that I mind anger, if there’s a reason for it. Or if it prompts me to take action for or against something. If I can USE it, somehow.
I don’t like anger so much when it consumes my thoughts and controls my actions. When IT uses ME.
So I’m working on it. Which is why I was grateful to see these tips for staying cool from anger-management consultant Virginia Williams in this month’s Reader’s Digest:
1) “Recognize that anger is useful.” I was hardly smug at all at already knowing that. As I said, anger can actually be a useful tool in promoting action. It’s when it consumes or paralyzes us that it becomes a problem.
2) “Ask yourself if whatever made you angry is important.” Okay, I knew about this one, too, but I haven’t been practicing it. In my previous office, I used a Big Deal Scale, a simple 8×10 piece of paper with the numbers 0 through 10 in a horizontal line across the middle. When I came across a problem or a situation that made me angry or upset, I would rank it on the Big Deal Scale and rank the problem. Anything that fell below a ‘five’ got dropped. That left extra time to address the bigger numbers.
3) “Talk yourself down.” Love this one. Basically the author suggests several possible interventions, or ways to stop the spiraling-out-of-control tendency:
– Yell Stop! to yourself (silently, she says, but I actually say it out loud)
– Distract yourself (e.g. get up and move, surf the internet planning a dream vacation)
– Breathe in, clench your fists, exhale, release your fists (tried it today and it’s wonderful!)
Other possibilities are, of course, prayer and/or meditation.
Like many people, I’ve sometimes dealt with anger with a knife and fork, but these days my preferred tool is to get out and walk. Basically, I stomp out the anger.
How do you deal with anger? In a healthy way, that is.