When we feel anger rise up in us our tendency is to believe it is driven by things happening outside of us; an employee doing something daft, an over-demanding customer or a supplier screw up. It typically results in an exchange of words with someone or a period of sulking. You can watch my short video here.
It doesn’t work that way. Anger and the agitated feelings that come with it, are the result of our thinking about what just happened. Let me demonstrate.
There are occasions when I am driving on the M4 and someone cuts me up. Sometimes when this happens I gesticulate wildly and flash my lights to register my objection. On other days where EXACTLY the same thing happens it invokes no reaction in me whatsoever. You see? It is not just being cut up that triggers anger. It is the combination of being cut up AND my state of mind in that moment.
In the video I talk about a recent example of feelings of anger rising up in me BUT you will notice I also register the understanding that the anger is coming from my own state of mind as much as what has happened. This understanding is crucial as it saves me the trouble of needing to deal with my anger (by lashing out or sulking) and buys me the time to process the real reason why these feelings are happening to me. In this case it turned out to be frustration at my own lack of progress as opposed to what other people were doing and, from that frustration, emerged a superb plan.
How many times have you reacted to the feelings of anger and made a bad situation a whole bunch worse?
So next time you feel the power of anger surging up inside you, resist the temptation to react and instead ask yourself this question; What is going on for me that is causing this reaction? If I was coaching you that is what I would be exploring.Share