Do you manage your emotions or do you let them take charge leaving you out of control and saying things you regret?
Think about what happens to you, for instance, when you get really angry or frustrated?
- What’s in your mind? How dare they? They are so…?…or worse?
- What do you say? Something sarcastic, contemptuous…or worse?
Is the situation helped by your feelings? Maybe. Anger and frustration are not necessarily bad feelings – they can motivate us or give us courage to say what needs to be said.
Is it helped by how you express those feelings though? It can be – it depends how you express them. In a way that honours your values (perhaps they include respect, love, care…?) or in a way that illustrates you are out of control and your anger is in control.
Think about the impact though on you, the other person and the relationship. It might feel good for a while to let all that emotion out, but if the impact is not so good and there is a price to pay for your anger, then perhaps its time to consider a different response.
There are lots of options and the following are just a few:
- Next time you feel yourself getting angry, notice what you are thinking. Our feelings and our actions are led by our thoughts, so it’s a good idea to learn to become aware of your thoughts.
- Are you making some assumptions or misinterpreting something?
- Are you convinced you are right and the other person is wrong? Could you both be right?
- Are you acting both as judge and jury and finding the other “Guilty”.
- Ask yourself if you need more information or if you could be mistaken.
- Take a few moments to breathe deeply and focus your thoughts on something else – perhaps your surroundings or what you did last night, until you feel calmer.
- If your mind feels stuck on the situation making you angry, try thoughts of genuine curiosity “I wonder why they did that” “What were they trying to achieve?” “What did they mean?”
- Ask yourself what you want to achieve and whether an expression of anger is the best way. If anger is definitely what you want to express, consider carefully how to do so.
Awareness is the part of us that observes how we are behaving / thinking / feeling. The more awareness we have, the more choices we have about how we respond to people and situations.