3 Tips for Dealing With Anger

Today is Friday, so this post is on interpersonal competence.

Interpersonally competent people manage conflict well.  Anger makes it difficult to manage conflict in a constructive manner.  The other day, I came across some advice from Sharon Melnick on how to manage anger.  I think it is worth sharing here.

Sharon Melnick on managing anger.

“Shift your inner voice.  When you are angry or frustrated with someone you tend to talk to them, or talk about them in your own mind. You might say variations on a theme of ‘Why does she do that?’; ‘Stop treating me that way’, ‘He shouldn’t have done that, it was unfair’, ‘You are so selfish.’ As long as you are talking to or about the other person in your own mind (and not doing anything in the world of reality), you are perpetuating your experience of not having any control over the situation.  You can change that in an instant if you stop talking to or about the other person, and start talking to yourself. Focus on what you can control in the situation.

“Cool down your physiology.  Anger and frustration heat up your physiology.  So to deal with anger effectively, you want to do something that cools you down. Try breathing in slowly through your mouth, and exhaling slowly through your nose. After a few breathes, you will notice a cooling effect on your tongue and a slowing down of your breathe. You can do this even in the middle of a heated meeting or argument with a partner – it will have the effect of cooling down everyone in the situation.  For much more information on this and other breathing techniques to help you get back to a focused and confident attitude, sign up for Kelley Black’s newsletter at www.balancingexec.com.

“Change your perspective.  When you are angry at someone, you tend to think they are doing their behavior on purpose, or in some way to get you. Try thinking about the other person’s behavior in a different way.  Tell yourself a different story about why they are doing what they are doing. What would you think about them if you gave them the benefit of the doubt?’  Generally people do what they do for a good reason – at least to them.  It’s their best, even if ineffective, effort to achieve the same things you want, like feeling good about themselves and accomplishing their goals.”

These are three great common sense tips on dealing with anger constructively.  Anger is the enemy of interpersonal competence.  Put simply, we do and say stupid things when we are angry.  Dr. Melnick has provided three very workable ideas for dealing with anger – so we don’t do and say stupid things.

That’s the common sense point for today.  Interpersonally competent people resolve conflict in a positive manner.  Anger makes it difficult to deal with conflict constructively.  Try Dr. Sharon Melnick’s three tips for dealing with anger. 1) Focus on what you can control in the situation that makes you angry.   2) Breathe deeply when you are angry.  It will help to calm you.  3) Don’t personalize other people’s actions.  Try to understand why they did what they did from their perspective.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense and to subscribe to my weekly newsletter “Common Sense.”

I’ll see you around the web and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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  1. I liked Ben Zander’s suggestion that we should invite and/or apologise.
    Getting to the mental point of being able to apologise to a person.
    “I am so sorry, I didn’t make myself clear, please forgive me. What I need is this . .”

  2. I liked Ben Zander’s suggestion that we should invite and/or apologise.
    Getting to the mental point of being able to apologise to a person.
    “I am so sorry, I didn’t make myself clear, please forgive me. What I need is this . .”

  3. Jo:
    I agree. A heartfelt apology is one of the best way to defuse a difficult conflict situation.
    Thanks for your comment.

  4. Mark Salinas says:

    Great article! I think it is important to treat all individuals with respect and display empathy when addressing an issue. Acknowledging ones point tends to go a long way when diffusing a tense moment.
    Mark Salinas, MN

  5. Thanks for your comments, Mark. You’re right. we all need to respect one another. Empathy is an excellent first step in building respect.
    All the best,

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