Quick Anger Tip 4 – Change Your Self-Talk. Lessons from San Diego

In many ways, what you think is what you feel! To be less angry, challenge “automatic thinking” and replace with realistic self-talk.

Case in point: Recently I had occasion to be in San Diego for a business meeting at a hotel on Mission Bay. Driving from Orange County, I missed my exit and wound up in downtown San Diego. Unfortunately, in trying to get out of downtown San Diego, I felt like poor Charlie in the famous song by The Kingston Trio called MTA with the lyics:

Did he ever return,
No he never returned
And his fate is still unlearn’d
He may ride forever
‘neath the streets of Boston
He’s the man who never returned.

I felt my frustration increasing as every attempt I made to get back on the freeway resulted in construction detours, one-way streets, being behind huge trucks, and 85 year-old tourists driving 5 miles an hour.

In addition, I was now hopelessly late for my meeting.

My first “automatic thoughts” were something along the lines of

“What will they think of me being late?”

“What a stupid jerk to miss your exit.”

“Why are all these slow drivers pulling in front of me?”

” I can’t believe my luck today.”

Then, I decided to think my ratinally and started telling myself things like:

“Calm down. it doesn’t matter.”

“Everybody makes mistakes.”

“Things don’t always have to go my way.”

“These slow drivers have nothing to do with you.”

Changing self-talk this way can do wonders for your anxiety level. It really worked with me. I called my meeting and told them I would be a little late – and then rationally and calmly thread myself around San Diego until I came across the exit freedway I needed.