31 Thoughts for a Happy Holiday Season

The Trick to Anger Management (or, Rather, Regulation)

Here it is, plain and simple: The trick to anger management (I think a more enlightened term is “regulation”) is to be mad at the right time for the right reasons to the right degree with the right person.  In other words, SAVE IT for when you really need it!  This doesn’t mean that we hold stuff in or let things fester or that we aren’t expressing the anger (however little or however trivial a reason) that we do feel at times when it might not be appropriate to neither feel nor express said anger.  It just means that we allow ourselves to become more aware (mindful, if you will) of when, why, to what degree, and with whom we feel anger (and any other negative or uncomfortable feeling).  And that if we determine (and we eventually will) that “this isn’t a good time” to go down the anger rabbit hole, then perhaps we can begin (and we eventually will) to choose when we feel anger (though, sometimes we just have to feel what we feel whether it’s a good time or not—there’s a balance here, but what I’m trying to get at is that once we have moved along the road of recovery far enough, we do get to a place where we do have some agency over our feelings.  We aren’t so helpless over our feelings.  We find that we do have much control over what we feel and when and to what degree and why.  This is an exhilarating part of our journey!).

With kids around, we know that there will always be something that will be there to push us over the edge if we let it.  So the real skill here is to see everything from a higher vantage point so that we don’t get so unraveled by things that just aren’t worth it.  The real objective is to get a bigger perspective on life as a whole so that we aren’t blowing up at all the little things when really that’s the fool’s way to live.  Once we can get a handle on handling life’s little bumps and lumps and twists and turns with grace and finesse, then we can begin to really focus our anger (because it has a great and mighty purpose to bring about justice and good in our family and in this world).  Which is not to say that anger should be sent out un-throttled.  Just that there’s a time and a place for everything—including a right kind of anger.  The trick is to learn to recognize when that time and place is (which, as it happens to be, not that often—but like fitting words spoken at the right time, it’s part of learning wisdom’s way and becoming responsive to our environment in healthy ways that build up instead of tear down).