When you’re angry, rather than trying to push down your rage, try reappraising the situation. A change in perspective may help change your emotional response.
Photo by Robert McGoldrick.
As tips blog Barking Up the Wrong Tree points out, your anger is often a response to the situation as you perceive it. However, another context may make you less angry. For example, if a driver cuts you off on the freeway, you may get angry. If you knew they were taking an injured person to the hospital, however, you may be less inclined to be upset. By reappraising your situation, you can sometimes alter your own emotional response:
Imagine the scene…: someone is screaming at you, one inch from your face. You want to scream back. Or even hit them. But what if I told you their mother passed away yesterday? Or that they were going through a tough divorce and just lost custody of their kids? You’d let it go. You’d probably even respond to their anger with compassion. What changed? Not the event. Situation is the same. But the story you’re telling yourself about the event changed everything.
Of course, this won’t fix all anger. Discovering a spouse has been cheating on you, for example, will always make you angry. However, for the daily things that piss you off, altering your perception is a powerful tool to avoid getting angry. On the other hand, venting and talking about how much someone deserves your anger is the best way to stay angry.
How To Never Get Angry: 3 New Secrets From Neuroscience [Barking Up the Wrong Tree]