Let’s face it, your family can’t satisfy all your needs all the time.
So, it’s smart anger management to indulge in a boys night out or a girls night out. You relax and unwind in different ways when you socialize with members of the same sex. You can talk more openly than you do in mixed company. You can loosen up, laugh and be less formal.
There are numerous excuses for getting together: sports, card games, book discussions, eating out…or for no other reason than to enjoy each other’s company.
Of course, you shouldn’t abuse this privilege and you must make sure that your partner doesn’t feel cheated in the process.
When you return home, you will often feel more fulfilled, more relaxed and more into sharing your new experiences with your spouse or family.
You may have noticed that your friends – or relatives – often try to enlist you on their side in conflicts they have with other people. Getting caught in the middle can be VERY stressful for you.
Stay neutral, if you can, in office politics, family squabbles and interpersonal bickering. It’ll save you a world of unnecessary aggravation and trouble.
Experienced therapists will remind you that when someone is trying to “recruit” you, they are often only telling you one side of the story – their side. It is often a “setup” to gain your support and sympathy.
The art of remaining empathetic while not taking sides is just that – a true art and skill that must be developed with practice. Listen, sympathize, encourage possible ways to resolve the conflict or promote communication, but avoid taking sides.
This month’s episode deals with aggressive driving and road rage. Aggressive driving not only endangers people’s lives, but puts immense stress on our relationships with others. We talk about practical ways individuals can reduce stress and calm down while on the road, as well as ways of mitigating road related disagreements.
We host Dr. Leon James from the University of Hawaii. Dr. James is an expert in the phsycology of driving behavior and now serves on the Govenor’s Impaired Driving Task Force. You can contact Dr. James online at www.drdriving.org.
Please note: This anger program and these anger tips are not meant to substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment or advice. If you have intense, serious or chronic anger problems, or you have to deal with someone else who does, you should immediately consult a mental health or medical professional for help.
One of our students found herself “going bananas” after a guest innocently left a gate open after leaving her house. Why the extreme reaction, we wondered.
Turns out that she had a “history” with open gates. At age 6, her brother accidentally left a gate open which caused her favorite dog to escape and unfotunately be killed.
Often, current anger triggers can bring forth “old anger” that is stored in emotional centers in our brain.
Whenever you “over-react” to some mild anger trigger in your life, try remembering what “old” issue may be attached to it.
Often, this understanding will help you develop thought skills to deal with current anger and stresses in your life – so that you don’t continue to over-react to it.
We teach our anger management students that often anger is generated by arguments with someone reagrding what happened in the past. As you probably know, two people (like a parent and child, or, two siblings) may have the same experience but remember it in quite different ways.
Why is this? Often we suspect that the other person is wrong, is lying, or is distorting the truth. And, of course, if we believe these things, we generate anger.
To manage your anger, try to understand that there is at least one other explanation. It is literally a matter of focus. As one of our recent students from IEC reviews vape devices explained, our memories depend on our perceptions of the situation. Like a still photo, your “perception” depends on where you aim your camera. Imagine an elephant. You may take a picture of his trunk so you remember the trunk. Soemone else may take a picture of his rough skin- which is the main thing he or she may remember.
So, five years later when you are both discussing your experience of the elephant, you remember the trunk and he/she remembers the rough skin. Neither of you sees the whole picture, but part of it.. a snap-shot of it- segements of the total.
We tend to focus on those parts of the total situtaion that are important to us, and ignore or minimize the rest. An example: a sixteen year old boy asks his father for a car. To him, it is his whole life. The father is dismssive. To the father, it may be an amusing request that has no relevance to his life. Years later, the boy remembers the rebuke vividly; the father doesn’t even rememvber it at all.
Same “reality.” Different snapshots of it. Different memories of what “really” happened.
A new survey puiblished by CareerBuilder.com confirms what we have suspected for a long time: most commuters admit to experiencing road rage while traveling to and from work.
This may include yelling, horn-honking, and hand gestures which give your estimation of the IQ of the other driver!
The survey, based on more than 2200 workers from June 6th-June 16th, 2006, showed that 59% of workers said they had road rage during their commute.
This frustration and anger obviously sets a negative tone for the work day and causes 20% of workers to say that they would take a job with a pay cut in exchange for a shorter distance between their home and their workplace.
Rather than arriving at your workplace upset and stessed, try the following tactics to reduce your angry feelings:
1. Give yourself more commute time. Leaving 15 minutes earlier can save a lot of stress.
2. Ignore bad drivers on the road. You may become upset because of your expectations of the drivers – try to accept that some people are just bad, rude, or inconsiderate drivers.
3. Don’t take bad driving by others personally. It has nothing to do with you as a person.
4. Try to shift your attention elsewhere. Listen to music or to talk radio.
News item: “A 32-year-old Payson man learned that lesson the hard way Sunday. He was driving down a street in Orem (Utah) with his wife and children when he exchanged angry words with a local man. The Orem man pursued the family and tailgated their Chevy Suburban. In the heat of the moment, the Payson man stomped on the brakes. In the collision, his wife suffered neck injuries. Both men were cited for reckless driving and disorderly conduct.”
As this news story illustrates, the cost is often very high to losing one’s temper and not controlling anger on the road and elsewhere.
Costs can be calculated in financial as well as emotional and social terms. This man has to live with the fact that he injured his wife and probably traumatized his children.He also has to live with himself and perhaps his lowered self-esteem.
As we teach in our anger management classes, aggressive driving is often a “dance” with both parties participating and thus escalating each other’s anger.
Rather than “dancing,” it is better to ignore the poor driving of the other person rather than retaliating. Hostility begets more hostility, as this driver found out.
A very useful anger management tool to use in these situation is changing “self-talk” to calm oneself down. Self talk allows you to put things in perspective and think rationally rather than emotionally with medisavvy. Click here for a free article on using self-talk and other anger management tools to deal with aggressive driving.
If you have heart problems and are on a ventricular fibrillator, try to stay calm!
Boston researchers are reporting that bursts of anger may trigger potentially fatal heart rhythm disturbances. The hotter the temper, the higher the risk appears of ventricular fibrillation.
“The old conventional wisdom is that, if you know someone has a heart condition, don’t get them upset,” said Dr. Chris Simpson, medical director of the cardiac program at Kingston General Hospital in Kingston, Ont.
There have been hints before that emotional events can cause disturbances in heart rhythm and the balance between our innate “fight or flight” response, Simpson said. But this is the first “direct, solid evidence that an episode of anger can immediately precede a dangerous arrhythmia” said Simpson, a spokesman for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Learning to manage anger involves eight core tools including learning to deal with stress, and learning different “self-talk” to take the stress out of potentially stressful situations.
Deep breathing, meditation, and better time management can also greatly reduce stress in many people’s lives.