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Have you ever kept a diary? Maybe as a child you did. I still do although I am not as diligent with it as I used to be. Using a diary is a simple way to manage your anger. Anger triggers and solutions are very predictable. Unfortunately, we miss the clues to both of these anger management tips and continue to repeat the negative process of outburst and tantrums.
Every day for two weeks, write in a diary using this four step anger management process:
1. List what made you angry.
2. List how angry it made you feel on a scale from 1 to 10, one being cool and calm and 10 being a major rage.
3. Put a plus sign (+) down if you handled it well and a minus sign (-) if you didn’t.
4. Write what you will try next time this situation presents itself.
After two weeks are over go back and see what you have learned. You will be surprised by how much info you gathered in a short time and how much insight and change you have accomplished.
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“Must” #1 (a demand on yourself): “I MUST do well and get approval, or else I’m worthless.” This demand causes anxiety, depression, and lack of assertiveness.
“Must” #2 (a demand on others): “You MUST treat me reasonably, considerately, and lovingly, or else you’re no good.” This “must” leads to resentment, hostility, and violence.
“Must” #3 (a demand on situations): “Life MUST be fair, easy, and hassle-free, or else it’s awful.” This thinking is associated with hopelessness, procrastination, and addictions.
Anger Thought: Four frogs were sitting on a log and one decides to
jump. How many frogs are left? Still four. Deciding to jump does not
mean that the frog actually did jump. Managing our anger is often the
same. We decide to make a change in our attitudes and behaviors but
we never “get off the log.” The difference between the person who
succeeds in managing anger in their life and the one who doesn’t is
commitment. One must be committed to change if it is to become a
reality. There are no easy alternatives. Stopping the destructive
path of anger is hard work and takes courage and discipline.
Anger Action Plan: Today, write out a statement of commitment to
changing the role of anger in your life. Make it strong and make it
clear. It can be as long as you like but there can not be any
ambiguities in your language. No “maybes.” No “trying.” Just “doing.”
Oh, you will mess up and you will fall a few times but you have to go
back to your statement and do it again. How many times? As many times
as it takes until anger is your slave and not the other way around.
ANGER SMART #37: “Anger – The Inner Terrorist”
Anger Thought: Daniel Goleman, in his book “Emotional IQ,” states that anger hijacks the brain, making it impossible to think or act rationally. Further research backs up his claim by documenting that angry people are unable to understand the point of view of others making the power of empathy impossible. When our inner emotional terrorists take over the skill of empathy, business and personal life will suffer. The best way to combat anger is to manage the level of stress in our lives. Anger pops up as a natural reaction to stress. This is called the “fight or flight” response and is generally beyond our voluntary control. But you can control the amount and type of stress you are subjected to on a daily basis.
Anger Action Plan: Make a list of all the stressors in your life. The longer the list and the more severe the stressor, the more likely you are to be hijacked by anger. Circle one item on your list to eliminate or manage. Each day review your list. Do you need to add any new stressor that have come up or take any off that you have successfully overcome? Keep working on the one you circle until you can cross it off. Then pick another and repeat the “war on the terror” of anger in your life.
Anger Toolbox: Need a little help managing your anger and stress? Take our online ecourse for no charge by sending a mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or click the “Stop Anger” link at the top of the page.