Jennifer stepped out of her car on a rainy winter day, and at that very moment a car passed by through a big puddle of water, splashing water all over her and getting her wet.
Jennifer got furious and shouted some not so nice words at the driver, who was already far away. She thought of returning home to change her clothes, but since she was already late to work, she gave up this idea and went to her office.
She entered her office, wet, angry and unhappy. This incident spoiled her day, made her snappy and did not allow her to focus on her work.
It is highly possible that you too, like many others, have at least once gone through such a situation. What did you do, did you get angry, swore, and told yourself what a lousy day you have?
It is natural to feel angry, and even furious, in unpleasant and irritating situations.
What do you do when you encounter unpleasant and irritating situations? Do you allow them to affect your whole day? Do you continue feeling angry, and direct your anger toward the people working with you, toward your friends and toward your family?
Here is another example of a simple incident that creates anger:
George overheard two of his colleagues at work talking, and one of them said, “He is such a fool. He thinks that he knows everything, and I don’t really like him.”
George did not stop to inquire whether they were talking about him or about someone else and wrongly surmised that the conversation was about him. He got sulky, and promised himself that he will not talk with these colleagues anymore.
His colleagues, who were actually talking about someone else, were puzzled why George was avoiding them and why he looked angry when they were in the same room.
George’s anger was unjustified. It was the result of misinterpreting what he overheard.
Everyone has, most probably, passed through such an experience more than once. We often misinterpret information and the things we see or hear. We create in our minds scenarios that have nothing to do with reality, keep thinking about them, and allow anger and resentment to arise.
This behavior creates unhappiness and spoils our relations with people
Every day, we pass through similar experiences that create anger and resentment and make our life unpleasant.
How to Avoid Anger
Anger creates stress and unhappiness, makes us say things we would rather not say, alienates us from family, friends, and colleagues, and cause us harm us in various ways.
How would your life be, if you could avoid getting angry?
Anger is an automatic reaction, but you can learn to avoid it. I am not talking about hiding or repressing it. I am not talking about being furious inside, but trying to maintain poise on the outside. Repressing anger is never healthy.
We need to learn how to stop anger when it arises, how to cool down fast when we experience it, and how to detach ourselves from it.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Try to think before reacting. Is your anger justified, Will it help in any way?
- Take a few deep breaths before in responding in anger. This will help you calm yourself a little.
- Count in your mind slowly from 1 to 10.
- Try to find something funny about the incident and allow yourself to smile or laugh at it.
- You lose nothing if you don’t respond in anger.
- If people raises their voice, do not imitate them. Speak calmly. This shows self-control and inner strength.
- State your opinion when it is appropriate, but do not allow yourself get dragged into an argument.
- Acknowledge the fact that it is natural to encounter unpleasant situations and stressful people. It is part of life. It is your choice to react in anger, which can to confrontations and spoiling relations, or stay calm and in control of yourself and leave the incident behind you.
An Example of Avoiding Anger
Sam spotted a parking space about fifty meters in front of him. Before he was able to arrive there, someone took that place. Instead of getting angry, spoiling his mood, and shouting at the other driver, who was also looking for a parking space, he drove on, searching for another parking space.
Sam played some pleasant music on the radio and hummed the song he heard. He refused to think about the incident, and soon found another, even better, parking space.
Does his action show fear, timidity or lack of inner strength? Do you think he should have argued with the other driver? Some things in life are not worth arguing about, and might lead you into unnecessary trouble.
Avoiding unnecessary confrontations and arguments, especially about not so important matters, does not mean weakness. It means wisdom. This helps you avoid anger. Why waste time, get angry, argue with people, and who knows where this can lead to, if you can just move on and find another parking space?
We can save a lot of time and energy if we can avoid anger, and life can be happier without it.
Next time you find yourself getting angry, because a car splashed water on you, because you overheard a conversation that was not about you, because someone criticized you, the bus was late, or the alarm clock did not ring in the morning, stop for a moment and think about the situation, before venting your anger.
Will anger solve anything?
No, it will not solve any problem or issue, but it can aggravate it.
Why waste your time and your energy, feel bad, and spoil the day for you and for other people?
There are various ways to deal with anger, avoid it, and not allow anger get the upper hand. Here are a few:
- Learning to think positively.
- Developing a certain degree of emotional detachment.
- Avoiding taking things personally.
- Using the power of affirmations.
I have written about these ways in several of my articles, and offered advice and techniques for staying calm and peaceful in the various situations of daily life.