One of the kids books I love to read Jove is an international bestseller called The Color Monster by Anna Llenas. It talks about recognizing emotions and a page splashed in red describes anger as “It burns red like a fire and is hard to stamp out.” I appreciate the vivid description of how anger overcomes you and is hard to release.
I don’t get angry often and consider myself to be a pretty level headed individual but recently when I thought I found myself in what I felt was an unfair situation, let’s just say my anger “burned like fire and was hard to stamp out.” I am disappointed in myself. And while some seem to enjoy the ebbs and flows of emotion and conflict, that just isn’t me. I hate that the situation made my blood boil and I hate that I raised my voice. I typically handle conflict resolution well and look for a solution where everyone is in agreement.
Since this has been on my mind (and I’m sure others struggle with this, too), I want to re-evaluate how I could have mitigated my anger when my frustration was percolating.
- Flip the Lens and try to better understand the other person’s perspective. I could have asked deeper clarifying questions to better understand what seemed like an abrupt change to what I had expected.
- Explain my frustrations and my perspective calmly and see where the disconnect may have been.
- Breathe. I actually did do this, but because I was on a tight schedule and had somewhere else I needed to be, I didn’t take the time I needed to breathe and meditate – to close my eyes, take some breaths, recenter myself and put this situation into perspective.
- Stop & Change Surroundings. I could have recognized things were getting heated and instead of communicating in the moment, I could have let the other person know I didn’t think it was the right time for the discussion and suggested we find another time to meet when our emotions had settled.
- Move. After leaving and rescheduling a further discussion, try to exercise, whatever form that looks like – 15 minutes of yoga, a run, walk, bike ride, or swim – to work through my anger and calm down.
I could have done these things, I wish I had. I am going to forgive myself and not have an anxious mind. And, maybe the next time I find that my blood is starting to boil, as Anna Llenas states, maybe I can stay “quiet like the trees and as light as green leaves swaying in the wind” and remain calm.