We all know people who get angry easily. The ones that lash out either verbally or physically and are seemingly out-of-control. What’s interesting is that most of the time, they regret acting the way they did. They wish they had more self-control but they just can’t help it. It seems impossible to change. They see their anger as a genetic flaw that they have to put up with along with the negative consequences that inevitably follow their expressions of anger.
They are completely wrong.
Anger is not a genetic flaw and they don’t have to put up with it. Anger can be managed — but not by just breathing deeply and saying “Woo-Sah”.
The technique I’m about to introduce to you can be used anytime and anywhere. It can be used with people of all ages and the great thing is that it really works.
So how do you do it? How can you stop being angry (or teach someone else to stop being so angry)?
Well, there are two ways:
- You can choose to vent your frustrations; or
- You can use my “soon-to-be proposed” method.
Venting takes the energy out of your anger but the anger can always build up again. I’m going to show you how to stop being angry by looking at what your anger is telling you.
The message your anger is sending is that one of your standards, values or important beliefs is being violated by you or someone else.
Take a minute to think back to the last time you were angry. Explore the situation and what your anger is telling you. Which strong belief is being violated?
After you’ve figured out the belief that is being violated, now it is time to work some “magic” and diffuse your anger once and for all. It’s fast, simple, and effective.
You just need to adopt one new belief:
Your beliefs are yours only. Not anyone else’s.
No one ever decided that your standards should be the ones that everyone follows. Your “map” is not the territory. It’s just your perception of the territory. When you take on this belief, your standards are no longer being violated because you’ve allowed other people to live by their own rules, not your rules. When your standards are not being violated, you have lost the reason to be angry.
This has been one of the most powerful realizations in my life.
Let me tell you a true story…
One day I was driving along a highway in New York City when I was cut off by a young driver in a mid-size sedan. Automatically, I started to “create” a story that he was this rude and disrespectful person that should be taught a lesson. One that I am normally glad to teach. But instead of chasing him down and putting both our lives in danger, I remembered that being angry meant that one of my beliefs had been violated.
I realized that the driver violated my standard that people should respect others especially when driving. Then I thought, what if he wasn’t disrespecting me. What if he was rushing home because his pregnant wife’s water just broke. Would I still be angry?
No, I wouldn’t.
What’s interesting is that both of these scenarios are equally likely. There is really no way for me to confirm.
So which belief will diffuse my anger?
“I hope his wife is alright,” I told myself and I continued the drive to my friend’s house.
What methods do you use to control your anger? What do you find most effective? For those who try this method, let me know how it worked for you.
(Photo credit: Stress and Anger via Shutterstock)