Monday, February 29, 2016

External Things That Can Cause Anger

"Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame." Benjamin Franklin
It is all too common to blame external things such as work, stress, having to pay the bills, and so on, as causing anger in our lives. The truth is that it is not anything external that is triggering your anger; it is caused by internal processes.

If work or bills provoked anger in everyone, we would all be furious most of the time. However, if we look around, we can see that is not the case. Many people are working and paying their bills without being gripped by anger.

Therefore, it is important to identify what triggers an angry feeling within you so you can do your best to stop the anger before it takes hold. In this way you can avoid acting out in an inappropriate way, which can only lead to even more problems.

Know Your Triggers

Our anger can often be triggered by certain aspects of our lives. Here are a few examples you might recognize.


* Boss
* Mother-in-law
* Romantic partner
* One of your (problem) children


* The office
* At home
* The supermarket
* The bank


* Your car, because it is always breaking down
* Your computer, because it is too slow
* Your lawn, because it always needs to be mown and your spouse is always nagging about it


* Holidays with the family
* Business meetings
* Phone calls with your difficult parent(s)
* Paying your bills every month

And so on.

Once you have identified your anger triggers, you can adopt strategies to curb your anger before it causes you to fly off the handle.

Understanding the Source of Your Anger

If you hate paying bills, for example, you are probably experiencing stress for a number of obvious, and perhaps less obvious reasons. The obvious one is that you are off track with your budget and are really struggling to make ends meet. Every bill coming through the door is a stressful experience that makes you feel trapped and helpless.

If you procrastinate about paying the bills, you might get a short-term feeling of relief; however, this can backfire in a number of ways, leaving you even worse off than before.

For example, paying the bills late can lead to fines or fees, harming your already difficult finances even more. It can also lead to bank overdraft fees as well if you do not keep track of the money in your account carefully.

Emotions Other Than Anger

There are other emotional aspects involved in paying the bills that might be less obvious but no less powerful triggers. For example, you might be infuriated by the fact that you are working so hard at a job that you might not even like and still can’t make ends meet. If you have been careless with money in the past, you might be angry at yourself.

If your family seem irresponsible with money in your opinion, this can cause resentment. You might feel guilty that you can’t provide for them as well as you wish. This in turn might make you feel like a failure every time you sit down to pay the bills. This underlying feeling or negative mental chatter can trigger your anger, rather than the bill itself.

If you’ve been seeing the sources of your anger as external to yourself, remember that nothing and no one "makes you feel" anger or any other emotion. Anger just arises like other emotions. It is up to you if you choose to let it get the upper hand, or brush it aside as you get on with paying your bills in a calm manner.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Different Ways to Express Anger

Different Ways to Express Anger
Anger is just one letter short of danger.
Everyone feels anger at some point in their lives. It is the way that they express it that can cause problems. If you feel that your level of anger has increased and it is starting to affect your closest relationships negatively, it’s time to consider anger management strategies that can help you express your anger in more productive ways.

Taking Time

The first way is the age-old technique of counting to ten, or twenty - that is, forcing yourself to pause for a length of time before doing or saying anything you might regret. Then you can explain why you feel angry.

Another technique is the time out. You can say, “I’m sorry, I feel angry so I need a few minutes before I can deal with this.” Then go somewhere to be alone until you feel that your anger won’t be as out of control.

Shake It Off

Another way to work off your underlying anger is through exercise or sports. Some busy executives love to get out their aggression on a racquetball court, but even a simple walk around the block can help. Yoga and tai chi will center and ground you, helping reduce stress so you are much less prone to fly off the handle.

Taking a break at lunch and small ones throughout the day may seem counter-productive, but you can actually get more done as you lower your stress and increase your concentration levels.

Own Your Feelings

Another very important strategy is to own the anger. No one is “making you feel” angry. It is a natural emotion that arises in all of us. However, it is your choice as to whether or not you will allow it to take control, or just ignore whatever has irritated you as not worth making a big deal out of.

Expressing Anger Effectively

Anger management also means learning how to express yourself in a healthy way. This can be quite difficult to do for many of us, because a lot of the time we try not to make waves and therefore avoid conflict. The truth is that you are really not avoiding anything, because the feelings can build up like a pressure cooker to such an extent that you explode and splatter everywhere, doing all sorts of damage and leaving you to mop up the mess.

There are a couple of ways to express your anger effectively. The first is to not say, “I am angry because,” but rather, “I feel angry now because.” The latter statement distances you from the emotion and also makes you realize it is only temporary - a new feeling can arise a split-second later.

The second strategy is to express yourself with “I” phrases only, not “You”. “You made me feel angry,” is not taking responsibility for and control of own your feelings.

A third strategy is to avoid absolutes. “You ALWAYS” and “You NEVER” are two good examples of this.

Manage Expectations

One other key strategy is to manage expectations and understanding. For example, your anger might stem from you expecting one thing to happen and another does. Or you thought you and your boss or spouse had agreed to X and they have done Y or expect Y. Remembering that there are two sides to every story can help you rein in your anger and control it, instead of it controlling you.

Anger management is not about never feeling angry. It is about learning how to express that anger in a way that will not damage or destroy relationships. Try these ways of expressing your anger differently and see what a difference it can make to your life.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Why Do I Feel Like A Human Doormat?

Why Do I Feel Like A Human Doormat
"Your job gives you authority.  Your behavior earns you respect."  - Irwin Federman
Ever feel like a human doormat? Here’s an even more painful question: Are you inviting people to walk all over you?

Most people would say, "Of course not! Don’t be ridiculous!" In fact, it might be exactly what you are doing without even realizing it.

Are You a People Pleaser?

We all like to be popular, but it can come at a price if we turn ourselves into a "people pleaser" who does everything to make others happy but seldom gets the same treatment in return. Women in particular are taught to be people pleasers. They are told from a very young age to act "ladylike" and that being assertive means being a b*tch (B), which means of course that no one will like you.  

Nowadays, there are actually books on how to be a B, which one author defines as “Being In Total Control of Herself.” This is a nice image of a confident woman who does not let anyone push her buttons. Other titles are why men date and marry Bs and how to be a leader in business without being a B.  

There are several male equivalents of being a B, but they don’t seem to bother men in the least. In fact, we are sure they coined the phrase, "Nice guys finish last."  Switch that to nice girls and you can see why you might be getting the short end of the stick at work, and in particular at home.  

Do You Have Trouble Asking for Help?

There is nothing worse than feeling taken for granted. We want to do everything we can to be a good spouse, good parent, good son or daughter, and so on. Where does all this goodness get us? A pretty good life if we are lucky, or an endless cycle of demands for more from everyone you are trying so hard to please. 

If you feel as though there are never enough hours in the day and your partner and kids are doing nothing but draining you dry, it’s time to tap into your authentic inner self to start building the life of your dreams.

It will mean working on some changes, but you will be surprised at how little things can make a big difference. The first one is to stop suffering in silence. Ask for help nicely. "Can you please help me with this?" might be tough to say when have been in the role of superperson for so long, but you might be surprised at the results. 

Have You Learned How to Say No, and Mean It?

Saying no is one of the hardest things people pleasers have to learn. Practice in front of a mirror as often as you need to until you sound and look convincing. Make eye contact and say, "No, I can’t." You can add a sorry if you really think you need it. Never give a reason, however, because that leaves the door open for them to try to talk you into doing it after all. 

Do You Need to Set Boundaries?

Saying no is setting a boundary. So too is making time for yourself to do things you enjoy. It can also be that you are not expected to sacrifice your career for the sake of the family, but that your work outside the home is recognized as being of value. Setting expectations such as chores, curfew, computer time permission and more will all show the children who is in charge, and will ease the feeling that you are always fighting an uphill battle.

Practice these simple techniques and see what a difference it can make in your life.