Stress management - coping with rage


Road rage. Air rage. Blood boiling. Short temper. Even shorter fuse. If these terms highlight some of your feelings or aspects of your personality then you maybe on the slippery slope to anger and rage problems.

Over 80 percent of drivers in the UK admit to turning nasty behind the wheel of a car. And as TV shows like 'World's Worst Drivers' have shown us, some of this 80 percent readily take matters into their own hands when the world and his car seem to be against them.

Knowing Mr. Angry
We all know someone who has the potential to fly off the handle when things don't go their way. I personally know of a bloke who has been involved in a number of road rage incidents in the past few years. Now these incidents haven't been minor rows or handbags at dawn. This guy has appeared before a judge and jury on a number of occasions accused of GBH, ABH and even attempted murder! All from incidents that have flared up on a typical UK road.

But then again, this man isn't the most mellow of blokes off the road either. He's the type of guy that always seems to have a problem, opinion or feel aggrieved about some minor issue or another.

Have you seen this man?
It maybe that my tail of woe above describes your life or how you feel. If it does then it sounds like you need a lesson in behaviour management and a few hints and tips on how to manage your anger and rage better.

How life contributes to our feelings of rage
We are all basically still working with the same physiological system our ancestors had when they ran around freely in bear furs and lived in caves. Back then humans had an inherent 'fight or flight' mechanism that meant that we could stay and fight when danger arose, or we could run. This of course would only happen now and again; perhaps when a bear came back looking for his fur coat!

Today, this fight or flight mechanism still exists. But due to our increasingly stress filled lives at work, at home and on the roads etc. this mechanism is activated on average 12-15 times a day - rather than 12-15 a year, as today don't now whether we are coming or going. For some people this causes huge problems of rage and anger; directed at partners, the boss, complete strangers in the pub and anyone else in between.

Behaviour management
Learning to deal with these everyday pressures, issues and stresses will go a long way to helping angry and over emotional people deal with their own rage and feelings.

Example: If someone cuts you up on the road, it may not be your fault. However, chasing the said guilty driver down the road for the next 5 miles clearly will be. This would be making a mountain out of a short mole hill. So don't. Next time some cuts you up, smile, laugh to yourself and remember the last time you did the same thing to another driver, by mistake of course.

Example: The next time your boss loses his rag with you try the following tip. Keep a calm head and quietly repeat a statement that asserts your rights and delays the discussion to a later date; i.e. a date which will allow your boss time to mellow down a little.

Visualising yourself in various situations

This is a technique used by numerous sports men. Okay, so they are some of the angriest blokes on earth. But that's because they rarely use the visualisation technique in the following manner.

Imagine yourself on a crowded train. It is a red hot summer's day. You are standing up and people are pushing and shoving each other all around you. Someone is arguing with the inspector and you'd like to get involved. But you don't. Instead, you find a slightly bigger space near a window. You open it and feel the breeze on your face. You look out onto the world outside and smile knowing that soon you'll be back at home with your feet up reading the paper, your favorite book or listening to your favorite music.

Okay this sounds a little too easy. And of course it is, because neither you or I are in that position right now. But a variation of this technique could be used for practically any stressful situation you might find yourself in over the next 7 days.

Controlling your feelings
Before boiling over in a potentially tense and pressurised situation, follow these simple, yet effective rules:

1. Stop and think. Collect your thoughts and express them in a clear and calm manner. If people are arguing the toss then simply repeat your statements calmly as when required.

2. Remember, people's opinions will differ from time to time. Someone may not agree with you and visa versa. That's fine. An opinion is just someone's view. It doesn't make it fact.

3. Listen. Allow people time to talk or express their feelings. Allow them their say. In fact in some situations this is the very best think to do. More often than not, in a heated situation people doing all the talking without having anyone to play off or against will quickly run out of stem, rendering a potentially sticky situation to nothing.

4. Keep an anger diary. Note down all situations when your lost your temper or when you feel greatly aggrieved. This reflective act will in itself serve an important role. It will make you think about what happened and how you may act differently in the future.



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