How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it? Marcus Aurelius

I’ve been thinking alot about my relationships with other people. I always try to be loyal to my friends and often consider those I work with to be my friends as well. The thing with friends is, as they get know you over the course of time, they get use to quirks and other tendencies that someone has. In my case, sometimes they come to find that I can have a bit of a temper.

I don’t know where it comes from … perhaps from the fact that I’m a only child and didn’t really have to compromise much when I was growing up. Perhaps that’s why I get easily frustrated when things don’t go the way I want them to.

The problem I have is that when the temper gets going, and I get really passionate in expressing my feelings – it gets me in trouble from time to time. I try to control it but it appears (especially lately) that I’ve let it get the best of me. That might be something that friends will tolerate a little bit, but co-workers shouldn’t have to deal with it.

So tonight’s posting is mostly for me. Here’s some anger management techniques that I’m going to have to learn to use (courtesy of the Mayo Clinic –

  • Take a “time out.” Although it may seem cliche, counting to 10 before reacting, or leaving the situation altogether, really can defuse your temper.
  • Do something physically exerting. Physical activity can provide an outlet for your emotions, especially if you’re about to erupt. Go for a brisk walk or a run, swim, lift weights or shoot baskets.
  • Find ways to calm and soothe yourself. Practice deep-breathing exercises, visualize a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase to yourself, such as “take it easy.” You can also listen to music, paint, journal or do yoga.
  • Once you’re calm, express your anger as soon as possible so that you aren’t left stewing. If you simply can’t express your anger in a controlled manner to the person who angered you, try talking to a family member, friend, counselor or another trusted person.
  • Think carefully before you say anything so that you don’t end up saying something you’ll regret. Write a script and rehearse it so that you can stick to the issues.
  • Work with the person who angered you to identify solutions to the situation.
  • Use “I” statements when describing the problem to avoid criticizing or placing blame. For instance, say “I’m upset you didn’t help with the housework this evening,” instead of, “You should have helped with the housework.” To do otherwise will likely upset the other person and escalate tensions.
  • Don’t hold a grudge. Forgive the other person. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want.
  • Use humor to release tensions, such as imagining yourself or the other person in silly situations. Don’t use sarcasm, though — it’s just another form of unhealthy expression.
  • Keep an anger log to identify the kinds of situations that set you off and to monitor your reactions.
  • Practice relaxation skills. Learning skills to relax and de-stress can also help control your temper when it may flare up.

I hope that over the course of the rest of the year, I’ll learn how to apply these in my everyday life and repair whatever damage I have caused.