Asking Key Questions to Manage Anger

by Pat Henking
(Merrimack, NH, USA)

Trying to see the funny side of the cause of anger can help

Trying to see the funny side of the cause of anger can help

I use three key questions to manage anger: The first question is, "Who can I talk to about this?" I need to be able to blow off steam to a sympathetic listener -- one who will not be too quick to give advice, but who may offer some really brilliant insight. Then when I am starting to calm down, I need help problem solving --so who I talk to at this point is related to what made me angry. Dealing with anger resulting from crashed computer hard drive requires a different friend, than dealing with anger due to a really annoying colleague.

Second, I ask, "What questions do I need to ask?" Depending on what or who has made me angry, or the exact cause of anger, my own lack of understanding is probably part of the situation. Plus asking the other person some questions is less likely to fuel a difficult situation, too. The Prayer of St. Francis talks about not seeking so much to be understood as to understand -- it's a great approach!

And the third question that I ask for managing anger is, how I could possibly come to see this situation, person, or frustrating object (my truck, my computer) as hysterically funny. In the Harry Potter books, JK Rowling sometimes has a character use the "Ridiculous" curse, turning annoying, aggravating people into silly creatures. One time my boss was making me terribly furious, so I wondered what "Ridiculous" curse I would hurl at him. I immediately realized -- for the first time -- that he looks like the Mad comic character Alfred E. Newman. I went home and used photo editing to make a composite picture of my boss and Newman. Then I bought a Newman sweatshirt to wear when he annoys me again.

Hope you find these ways to control anger helpful.

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