The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Anger Management (Part 1)
Lots of guys are angry. Just look at the current popularity of Donald Trump.
That orange-haired dude is banking his entire campaign on negativity and anger. And guess what? It’s working. That’s because people are pissed off.
Anyone who knows me knows I get angry, too. Like most people, I think I only get pissed off when people are screwing with me. Over the past few years I’ve focused on doing a better job at anger management. Through reading and practicing meditation I’ve learned some things that could help you too, even if you’re not a guy. Women get teed off also…usually at guys. Just ask my wife.
Let’s face it. People pull shit all the time. They turn left when they’re in the right lane. They play their music really loud so you have to hear it also. They backstab you at work, just because you are outperforming them. And you can forget about handshake agreements. A person’s word is rarely good these days. Even when you have something in writing, they’ll fight like hell to find a way to avoid paying up. That’s just how things are, amigo. So what’s a Guy’s Guy to do? Don’t despair. There are ways of dealing with anger that can help you, the other guy, and humanity.
When someone does something wrong to us we have a choice. We can either step into the muck and slug it out with them or eschew immediate action, knowing that this person is aligned to the frequency they need to be at now so they can learn whatever it is they need to experience for growth. That’s God’s will. We all have lessons to learn, but it doesn’t mean we need to be a doormat. Yes, protect yourselves and your loved ones, but understand that our reactive, anger-based behavior comes at the bidding of the small self. We may win the fight, but what have we really accomplished?
“Hey Guy’s Guy. You’re giving me a headache. Just tell me about dealing with that guy who cut me off and took my parking space at Shop Rite?” Okay, I hear you, amigo. We’ll share more about the big picture next time, but it’s something to keep in mind.
For now, here are a handful of surefire ways of preventing your anger from getting the best of you. Next time someone presses your buttons consider the following before reacting.
1. Breathe – You know the old saying about counting to ten? It’s the same thing as breathing. When the shit hits the fan take a moment to collect yourself and recognize your anger. That means; if at all possible don’t respond right away. The great spiritual leader, Thich Nhat Hanh, suggested that anger is like a howling baby that needs to be attended to immediately. The first step is recognition of that anger. Then take eight to ten deep breaths. Just those few moments can make a huge difference between success and failure in addressing the situation.
2. I repeat, don’t respond immediately – Have you ever received a text or email that made your blood boil? Again, before writing a sarcastic note back and hitting send, acknowledge that you’re pissed off and why before doing anything. It could save you a heap of trouble in the long run, especially in business situations where people deploy digital baiting to goad you into battle. Don’t do anything hasty like a snotty email or text without considering the entire scenario and potential consequences of your actions.
3. Consider the big picture – How important will that parking space at Shop Rite be a year from now? See what I mean? We all have things that set us off. When certain people know that, they may try to tweak you. Don’t take the bait until you process the true importance of the situation and bad behavior by the other guy. It may turn out to be a big deal over nothing. Wait.
4. Be thankful for the knowledge and the lesson – Situations that piss us off often provide opportunities to learn. So again, before overreacting to a situation, think about what insights you might glean from it, even if it’s simply mastering your temper and tempering your response. You might start to keep the people who like to mess with you off balance. Never lead with your chin, amigo
5. Heal – Cool those heated thoughts with a walk in nature, a good workout, or a quiet meditation. My preference to work off anger is a long run, a hearty meal, and good sex. Of course the sex needs to be loving, not angry, but you know what I mean. Work it out, baby.
The moral of the story is don’t overreact when someone acts like an a-hole. It will happen, but you don’t need to lower yourself. Stake out the high ground, deploy your sense of humor and be the one known for diffusing tense situations, not instigating or fueling them. Peace.
This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Thich Nhat Hanh, author of a series of spiritual books, including many on anger management and how to sooth the fires that burn us inside.Check out his book, ANGER, for some tasty lessons in mindfulness in the face of adversity.