Daily Herald December 21, 1979
Anger has to be dealt with WHEN it happens. It may be released safely and harmlessly, but can also cause serious damage to personal relationships if not handled carefully. Treat your anger as you would a loaded gun. Anger that is discharged in the heat of a violent temper tends to be explosive and destructive. If you're upset give your anger time to cool down. This allows your personal safety valve, called reasoning and level-headedness to provide you with some self-control to reduce its intensity.
Accept and own your anger. This is safer than dumping it on others. "I am extremely angry with you about what you did..", owns it. "You make me furious, You never, You just want, You don't care," explodes it in some else's face. When angry, put yourself where you won t hurt yourself or others, physically or emotionally.
Risks of serious accidents increase if you use machinery or drive a car when you re extremely angry. A car may seem to be a convenient, anonymous escape hatch for anger. It isn't! An angry driver is a hazard to others' and his own safety. Retreating to a car to "drive away" anger may be your first idea. You want to be alone, lock the doors for privacy and put distance between you and others quickly. Quickly, yes! Safely, no! If you must retreat to a car, DO NOT take the car keys with you. Having your car keys is like bringing a bomb into a bomb shelter with you. Walk around to cool off. Physical exercise, such as jogging, walking or swimming, relieves physical tension. Walking gets you away from others, and creates a private space for you. If you walk to a large open area, like a park, you may be able to yell your anger into the air without disturbing others.
Anger can result from storing up minor irritations in your ''anger bag''. Any bag gets full if you continually stuff things into it. Like a garbage bag, the fuller it gets and the longer it hangs around, the harder it is to ignore it, and the greater the chance it will break open.
Empty your bag before it gets too full. Practice dealing with irritations, one at a time. Let others know what is bothering you, and why. Give others fair warning when you realize your tolerance level for irritation is low. If others continue to sail into your path after you have sent up a storm warning, they had better to ready to weather the gale.
Anger is sometimes ONE way that people try to get what they want, or to get their own way. It's not the ONLY way, and certainly not the BEST way to try to get your needs met. Using anger or having temper tantrum may allow you to achieve some control over other people, in the short term. But it doesn't lead you to be emotionally close with them or gain their long-term cooperation. Anger also keeps you from developing mature, rational, negotiating ways to meet your needs within a relationship.
Look at the ways YOU become angry. How do you handle your angry feelings? Anger is a LEARNED habit. You may not like how you behave when angry. You may yell at others, throw things around or strike out at someone. Look at this behavior. Accept it for what it is, a BEHAVIOR which you LEARNED and which you can UNLEARN if you choose to change it. The longer a habit exists, the more difficult it may be to change. You're not a failure if you need outside help to help you make these changes. You're just human.