Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Redford Williams of Duke University and his wife Virginia have written an excellent book titled Anger Kills. It was written to help us understand and manage our anger. I bought this book when I was deep into my learning about myself period. I did not have a problem with anger but bought the book because of the intriguing title.
What makes you angry? A broken promise, tardiness, feeling put upon? Often, when something happens to make you angry, you try to put it out of your mind, but it keeps coming back to you. The more you think, the angrier you become. If this has happened to you, the book Anger Kills can give you some guidance.
Try to see the issue from another point of view. When you become angry with someone, try to see the situation from his or her point of view. Using empathy can defuse your anger or at least bring it down a notch. Acknowledging that there is another point of view and that we all make mistakes can be a powerful reminder to calm down.
How often do you get angry? What sets you off? We keep so many calendars, dates, numbers and passwords in our heads, who needs one more list. However, it may be useful to keep a list of how many times you become angry and the reason for it. Keep track of what makes you go off, so it will be easier for you to recognize it for what it is when it happens. Learn what makes you angry so you can develop strategies for containing and channeling it when it occurs.
When things get bad, lighten up. Try to see the humor of the situation. Sometimes laughter is the best antidote to anger. Try to see yourself as you must appear to others. Your face is red, your eyes are wide or bulging and you are behaving irrationally. It is not a pretty picture and may leave lasting hurt.
Learn to really listen. Try to improve your listening skills. Miscommunication is often the culprit in situations that inspire anger. Take time to really hear what the other person is saying, then try respond to their point of view in a rational manner. There are times we "miss" the point of what someone is trying to communicate to us.
Know the difference between assertive and aggressive. That means that you need to be assertive and let others know what your boundaries are. Do not express yourself when you are overwhelmed. When you feel overwhelmed you may respond to the issue with aggression and anger. This is always bad combination.
Learn to forgive. Try letting go of past hurts and resentments. This is a difficult thing to do, but the reward is your own peace of mind and happiness.
The Williams' have a 10 question "anger" self test on their site. Yes, yours truly did take this test. How did I do? Oh--I'm not telling. You can take the test on this self-test page. The test is short, just 10 questions. Take the test to see how you fare on the anger test.