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Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's your choice: Anger or happiness

Are you this guy?
The mood of one person can effect the milieu.  All it takes is one miserable and unhappy person to ruin a day, and all it takes is one happy and ebullient personality to cheer up the day. 

It can be said that anger is the most difficult of all human characteristics to overcome.  The reason for this is we are born with the innate desire to fend for ourselves and to protect what we perceive to be our own.  We protect our homes, our children, and our pride. 

Thus, when someone inadvertently or intentionally treads on what is ours, we have a natural tendency to respond in a negative way.  We lash out either verbally or physically.  We become gloomy and unpleasant.  And, hence, so too does our anger morph out into the room.  It spreads like the plague.

Yet there is something unique about human beings over every other creature that roams the planet, and that is the ability to Adapt and to Control our environment.  While we can succumb to our innate desire to defend, protect and become angry, we can also control this desire.

Thus, through trial and error and observation, we learn that while anger is sometimes beneficial, it may often make matters worse.  It sheds a light on you that you might not want.  It makes people look at you in a negative way.

It makes you look like a bear and a buffoon.  It makes you look like you have no control.  And, as is often the result of anger and lack of control, your actions tread on the rights of others, and it effects your friends, family and coworkers.

So we learn to adapt.  We as humans learn that the best way to control our lives is to create a happy, copacetic personality.  Then we see for ourselves that not only are we happier, the people around us are happier to.

A perfect example of this was this morning.  My daughter brushed by my son and my son got angry and took a pretend swipe at her and then was moody the rest of the morning.  I said, "Life is full of disappointments. Everything in life works out, yet few things work out the way we intend.  Are you guys going to be upset and angry every day the rest of your lives. If so, you're doomed to a long and miserable life.

"On the other hand," I continued.  "On the other hand, you can control your mood.  A perfect example is your aunt Tee.  Every time you see her, and every time you hear her on the phone, her voice is flowing with joy.  She is simply a downright happy person, and you can tell by her personality and her tone.  You can't help to be happy when you're around her."

Then there was silence in the car ride for a while, and then I said, "Aunt Tee chose to be a happy person.  You can choose to be like aunt Tee, or you can choose to be a bear every day and feel lousy."

While my children continued to be gloomy the rest of that day, and my older son refused to even speak with me as a result of some disciplinary action I took the day before, kids come to their senses eventually. 

For my younger kids the duration of being angry with me is short, which is neat.  I can put my 2-year-old in time out, and she can wail in unhappiness, yet five minutes later she's sitting by my side in a playful mood.  My 7-year-old will be my best friend again in about 15-20 minutes. 

We adults are prone to our bad moments too, Lord knows.  Yet the wiser among us know that by giving a little, by being patient, and considering the rights of other people, we can control our innate desires.

Here are some tips for controlling anger from the experts at the Mayo Clinic:
  1. Give yourself a timeout:  Count to 10 before reacting.
  2. Walk away:  Take a break from the person you're angry with.
  3. Ignore it:  This might be the most common sense method and most effective.  A parent who doesn't learn how to ignore it will never have any peace.
  4. Communicate:  It's healthy to express your frustration in a nonconfrontational way. Stewing about it can make the situation worse.
  5. Exercise:  Physical activity can provide an outlet for your emotions, especially if you're about to erupt. Go for a brisk walk or a run, swim, lift weights or shoot baskets.  It can also prevent unwanted emotions.
  6. Think before you speak:  Otherwise, you're likely to say something you'll regret.
  7. Stick to the issues:  Don't get sidetracked. Don't bring up something that happened in the past, or might happen in the future.  Discuss the current situation.
  8. Identify solutions to the situation. Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work with the person who angered you to resolve the issue at hand.
  9. Or, better yet, just drop it:  It's not a big deal.  Don't fret over spilled milk.
  10. Never say YOU:   This will help you to avoid criticizing or placing blame, which can make the other person angry or resentful — and increase tension. For instance, say, "I'm upset you didn't help with the housework this evening," instead of, "You should have helped with the housework."
  11. Don't hold a grudge: If you can forgive the other person, it will help you both. It's unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want.
  12. Use humor to release tensions. Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Don't use sarcasm, though — it's can hurt feelings and make things worse.
  13. Practice relaxation skills. Learning skills to relax and de-stress can also help control your temper when it may flare up. Practice deep-breathing exercises, visualize a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase to yourself, such as "Take it easy." Other proven ways to ease anger include listening to music, writing in a journal and doing yoga. 
  14. Prayer:  The Bible preaches that those who control their anger shall reap the rewards.  Prayer can be a great way to release tension and to find the best options of dealing with crisis (James 1: 19-20 and Ephesians 4: 31-32). 
  15. Humility:  Think of other people before yourself.  Read more here.
  16. Love and Patience:  This is a good alternative to anger.  Instead of cursing those who hate you, do good to them instead (Matthew 5: 43-44).  Be gentle and kind.
While some of the above might sound a little corny, I've actually used them all at one time or another.  When I'm upset with my boss, or something that happens at work, I've been known to write a long angry post in the draft section of this blog, yet then I never publish it.  Sometimes, however, these posts turn into RT Humor.

Those who are angry are those who tend to do harm to other people, either verbal or physical or emotional.  People who are angry want everyone else to do things their way, and they often use force to obtain this means.  They abuse the rights of others, and they destroy the peace.

On the other hand, those who choose to be happy are those who keep the peace and respect the rights of other people.  These are the folks who are the most respected in society.  It's okay, however, to be strong willed, yet it's not okay to force your views on other poeple. 

A happy person is far more enjoyable to be around than an angry person.  What type of personality do you want to be?  It's your choice.

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Anonymous said...

As I am following your blog, I'm trying to become what you've become.

Rick Frea said...

Ego boost appreciated!!!