It seems that our society is getting angrier all the time. The very expressions on our faces frequently indicate that, not only are we not happy, but we are frustrated and angry at life itself. We read about road rage, which, in many ways, is the ultimate manifestation of anger. We often hear people say things like, "Normally, I would never have done that, but I just lost it — I couldn't control my temper."
Question: Can we control our tempers? Answer: Yes, if we want to. Example: You and someone else, maybe a mate or associate, are having a tense discussion that is escalating at a restaurant. Tempers on both sides are flaring. It is even headed out of control; but just at that moment, the waitress or waiter rounds the corner and heads for your table. So, you stop the verbal attack, put on a smile and answer politely when asked if you desire more iced tea. Now 'fess up, it's happened before, on more than one occasion, hasn't it?
Message: Obviously, you can and do control your temper, so don't ever say, "I can't control my temper." Instead, make your self-talk positive and say, "Thank goodness, I'm gaining control of my temper!" That's important, because all you have to add to the word "anger" is the letter "d" and you really do have "danger." Danger to whom? Danger to you. Physicians agree that anger puts you in danger of a heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and so on. Anger also damages relationships, because things said in anger linger in the mind and heart of the one you have attacked.
In addition, in 100 percent of all of the domestic-violence cases he has counseled, Dr. Les Carter of the world-renowned Minirth Institute told me they start with verbal violence, frequently involving garbage-dump language (which damages the one using the language more than the one to whom it is directed). All of us have had this specific experience — we've started to talk about something, and a minute or so later, we've said, "Don't get me started talking about that, because the more I talk about it, the madder I get!"
Anger control: First, recognize that not only can you control it, you can commit to bringing that anger under control. Second, if you are not in the presence of who or what made you angry, take a deep breath, and fill your lungs with air, lifting both arms at the same time. Do this slowly three times. Number three, get on a regular exercise program, ideally an aerobics program. This relieves tension, improves your circulation and enables you to deal with life more calmly and confidently.
Number four, watch the input into your mind. Watching violent movies, video and TV, pornographic movies, and so on, all contribute to the buildup of tension and anger. Instead, listen to soothing melodies on the way to and from work, and just before you go to sleep at night. You will arrive at your workplace in a more relaxed frame of mind, and get a good night's sleep.
Number five, counting to 10 or 110 is not all bad. Clinical psychologist Michael G. McKee, Ph.D., says you should assume responsibility, and instead of saying, "That guy makes me furious!" turn it around, accept responsibility, and simply say, "I'm getting angry at that guy." This way, you are taking responsibility and putting yourself in control. According to Dr. McKee, people who feel powerful and in control are less likely to get angry.
Message: Relax, use positive self-talk, take a walk and a deep breath, make the commitment, accept responsibility, feed your mind soothing music and know that when you control your anger, the health and friends you keep will be your own.
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