Life / Can Do

Helpful tips to living a better life

Don’t Do Anything When You Are Angry

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Anger is dangerous. Anger is an emotion left over from our hunter-gatherer days when it was needed to fight lions and tigers and bears – oh my! Now it is typically an overreaction to a perceived threat. When someone doesn’t replace the toilet paper in the bathroom it is not usually a life or death situation.

The urge to let out our inner caveman and just react is there. When someone cuts you off in traffic or bumps you on the street don’t you just want to scream in their face. Don’t give in. You won’t feel better afterward, you’ll just get angrier as they yell back.

Sending out angry emails is a terrible mistake. When you say something hurtful that you later regret you can’t take back the words but at least they are not going to sit in someone inbox as a constant reminder of what a hothead you are. Wait a day and then decide if you still want to send it.

And don’t think it is fair game when you are at home with the family. If anything you should treat these people with gentler words than anyone else. Just remind yourself that they have access to you when you are sleeping.

People are playing with fire when they act out of anger. Once I saw a woman swearing at a fast food crew because they were taking too long. How could she eat the food they eventually served without being a little worried? It would so easy to leave a little something extra in her Quicky Burger.

At work when I get angry, I just stay quiet or just respond to direct questions if I must and I don’t send emails. Today at work a coworker had asked me for help with something when he had been given clear instructions many times before. I had my hands full with my own work and it angered me that someone, who ignored my previous instructions, now wanted me to walk them through a simple set of steps. I swallowed my anger and helped him out. Problem solved and I felt better afterwards.

Don’t use humor as an outlet for hostility. I’ve done this and it never works. “Why did the chicken cross the road? Because you suck!”  That may get a few chuckles from others but the target of that joke is going to be hurt and angry. Good luck getting them to go halvesies on a holiday gift for the boss.

Next I’ll describe some things I observe that help me practice self-restraint. If you are guilty of any of these things just remember that admitting you have a problem is the first step.

Talking Loud On Cell Phones

I once heard a woman discuss in graphic detail about post-natal body issues which included the topic of flatulence.

Everyone has heard someone yelling at their significant other on the phone in a public place. Don’t they realize that cell phones don’t come with a cone of silence?

Worse than just talking loud, but talking on the cell phone while I am making purchases at their register.

Littering

Haven’t we all learned from all the PSAs not to litter? Even a small cigarette butt is littering especially when tossing it out of a moving car. Get an ash tray or quit, just don’t make your problem everyone else’s problem.

Spitting on the street

I was walking with a friend to lunch when he casually spit on the street.

I put a hand on his shoulder and said, “Are you okay?”

He looks back at me confused, “What do you mean? I’m fine.”

“You just spit on the street, so I though you might be sick.” I said.

He laughed and shrugged. “Nah, It’s a habit.”

“Well, stop it. You look like an a**hole when you spit.”

I tried to stay calm and explain that it was also illegal to spit on the street but, as it turns out he was, in fact, an a**hole. (I didn’t say we were close friends)

Taking up two parking spaces so their sports car doesn’t get crowded

First of all the only one impressed with a car is the owner. Nobody over 17 cares that they own a brand new Mustang.

My car has a few scratches on the sides from other people opening their doors. So what? It’s an appliance like a washing machine or a vacuum cleaner. It’s just stuff and it doesn’t make you a better person so be considerate of the masses that have to drive functional cars.

Applying Makup On a Train/Subway or (gasp!) While Driving a Car

It’s nice that people want to look their best but I don’t want to see someone twee-zing their nose hairs on my way to work. Actually, I’m willing to forgive someone applying lipstick or eye makeup on a long train ride – saving time is a virtue. However, unless traffic is stopped, applying makeup while driving a car is just wrong. I’ll save discussing the stupidity of texting while driving for another day.

Getting Offended At Any Attempt At Humor

There are people out there who can find even the most innocent humorous comment offensive.  I get it that everyone has a right to their opinions but without a little tolerance this world is going to be extremely boring. This is why comedians get paid, because they say the things we wouldn’t dare. It is kind of ironic that the excessive drive for tolerance is making this world a less tolerant place. People can get fired for one slip of the tongue.

Don’t get me wrong. When someone says something that is out of line they should be called out. But once an apology has been made and there is no evidence of malice, its time to move on and consider it a learning experience.

At work I am very careful not to discuss anyone’s gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. I’m okay with that but I also have to be careful not to make any political comments. Anyone talking politics in my office only do so in hushed tones. Am I conservative or liberal? I’ll never say.

Years ago, a friend of mine had to visit human resources about a conversation he had with another coworker. Someone overheard what they were talking about and found it offensive so he was reported. The topic that offended this person enough to file an official claim was the topic of clowns. You read it right, it was clowns. The offended was scared of clowns and did not want the topic discussed in the office. To be honest, I’ve always been a little creeped out by clowns myself but for the life of me I can’t understand how a person would want to cause another distress over an innocent conversation. If she had approached my friend and asked that he not talk about clowns in front of her, he would have respected her wishes without question.

I hope you appreciate the irony of my rants in an article about dealing with anger. I just wanted to show that while there are plenty of reasons to get angry, some of the reasons may be silly like my own pet peeves. The more things you let slide, the better life will be. I’m sure there are things I do that would show up on others angry list – ask my wife and she’ll provide you with more than a few examples.

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Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

January 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm

2 Responses

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  1. When I see people litter, I have to assume that they are too damn stupid to consider the logical repercussions of their actions. Few things in life make me as angry as litterbugs (I am not sure if that is good or bad).

    Manage Better Now

    January 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    • I wish it were stupidity. I believe they just don’t care.

      I had a coworker who tossed a cigarette on the ground. I bent over an picked it up and placed it in one of the outdoor ashtrays that was right where she was standing.

      She was a bit surprised and asked me what I was doing. I told her I don’t believe in littering. We talked about it but she just didn’t get it.

      Tim Thinkauthor

      January 28, 2012 at 7:34 pm


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