In order to get my anger under control one step I took was to Analyze Anger Additives. Anger Additives are small things that when added up result in acting out in anger. This is just a catchy way of discussing “the straw that broke the camel’s back” theory.
Questions to help you Analyze Anger Additives:
– Are you getting enough sleep?
– Are you eating properly?
– Do you exercise regularly?
– What types of movies or TV shows do you watch? Comedies? Drama? Violence? How do these affect your attitude / outlook on life or your actions? When do you watch them? A heart-breaking romance movie before a first date is probably a bad choice. A violent movie before a contentious business negotiation is probably a bad choice too.
– What types of music do you listen to? I am a different person when listening to Tool versus listening to Dave Matthews. A good friend of mine listens to angry political talk shows during his commute and is not very pleasant when he arrives at work.
– How long is your commute? Do you leave with enough time to get to work or do you leave late and have a blood-pressure-rising death-defying drive to work?
– Do you engage in activities that remind you of unpleasant past events? Examples would include listening to music that reminds you of a painful breakup or watching a TV show that puts you in a bad mood.
– Do you drink to excess or abuse drugs?
– Do you hang out with people who are bad influences? One example would be people who urge you to take part in unhealthy activities. Another would be people who judge and / or criticize your every action.
– Do you get overly-involved in current events that you cannot affect? Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I am a much happier person since I stopped watching the news and began to focus solely on things within my span of control.
– Do you make sound financial choices? Live below your means if you can. Excessive debt is stressful.
Once you identify the Anger Additives in your life you can begin to address them one-by-one. The result will be a camel with few straws on its new break-resistant back and significantly improved quality of life for you and those you are close to.