We all run into instances and situations that can cause frustration and, yes, even anger. I'd be lying if there haven't been times when someone cuts me off while driving that I didn't think having a Howitzer mounted on my car would be a handy option car dealers should offer. Rudeness, inconsideration, and selfishness also get under my skin.
Of course, witnessing meanness and cruelty can get my blood pressure rising. It's OK to get angry. It's a natural, often physiological, response to negative stimuli. The important thing to learn, however, is to not act in anger.
Take a Breath
It may be a bit cliched, but when you feel anger coming on, count to ten or to a hundred or however long you need to get your wits back about you. Words uttered and actions taken in anger are usually regretted.
Own your Anger
It's perfectly acceptable to admit you are angry or upset. Once you've regained your calmness, speak rationally about what is upsetting you.
Address the Action
No one wants to be made to feel like they are wrong. Instead, talk about the action or behavior that has upset you. Clearly express what you are feeling as specifically as possible. “When you...it causes...” is a great model to use. For example, “When you dismiss my ideas without letting me explain them, it causes me to feel that my input is not valued.”
If you feel you may “lose it,” walk away. If you can, tell the person you need a minute or two for a quick timeout. A moment or two of quiet time with your thoughts can do wonders in helping you regain your composure.
Find a Release
Physically redirecting the building pressure is a great release. Scream into a pillow. Go for a run. Do whatever you can safely do to vent. Do not punch a wall or kick something, all you'll wind up with is a trip to the emergency room.
Look for Solutions
Yelling, screaming, and cursing aren't going to make the situation better. In fact, it will probably make it worse. Instead, try to build a team atmosphere to work towards remedying the problem. “I know you need to unwind, but I'm upset that you are watching TV while I'm trying to get the kids bathed and put to bed. Can we come up with a plan that works for both of us?” This is a way better option than, “You never help with the kids.”
Learn from It
If we pay attention to what angers us, we can look for the triggers that upset us and take action before they elevate future situations.
Let it Go
We're all human and we'll continue to be imperfect. Forgive the person who angered you. You'll both feel better.
Do you have any tips that work for you in dealing with anger? We'd love to hear them. Shoot us a Tweet @lukeiorio or @iPEC_Coaching.
Live on Fire!
Luke Iorio, CPC, PCC, ELI-MP
President & CEO
Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)