If you feel yourself starting to take the bait, then say âœstopâ. Detach yourself from the situation and analyse your behaviour and feelings. Ask yourself, âœWhat provoked me?â. Identify the causes of your anger and the beliefs, attitudes and feelings that led you to take the bait. Now replay the situation again in your mind to see whether the way in which you acted was appropriate, justified and rational. Usually you will find taking the bait serves no real purpose. Remain calm and hold a conversation with yourself (called self-talk) âœIt’s not worth getting worked up aboutâ; âœThere is no real reason to argueâ; âœKeep cool, don’t take the baitâ; âœUnpleasantness can lead to more unpleasantnessâ; âœPractise QRâ; âœReason it outâ.
The trick is not to take the bait and therefore not to get angry in the first place. Do not get hooked into things you cannot do anything about. So if the train is delayed and you are late for your appointment, use self-talk to accept that there is nothing you can do to make up the lost time. Instead use your energy to think about alleviating the problem. When you arrive at the station, telephone your appointment, explain the situation and say you will be arriving as soon as possible. You also have little control over the errors and antics of others, so learn to accept their mistakes and trivialities. If you cannot, this will inevitably lead to frustration, anger and hostility.
Work at lessening your sense of time urgency. Impatience is a mild form of irritation which in turn is a mild form of anger. Above all, recognize that your anger and hostility are manifestations of your low self-esteem. When self-esteem is high then anger and hostility will be low. Blows to your self-esteem will easily trigger hostility, so work toward enhancing your selfesteem and practise being assertive. Note that your self-esteem is affected by the degree of love and affection in your life so when love and affection are present self-esteem will be high and the potential for hostility will be low. Learning to give and receive love and affection is therefore vital in your battle against anger and hostility. Tell your partner and children how much you value their love, affection and support and express your feelings to them. Take an interest in your friends and share their ups and downs. Also, learn to laugh at yourself and your mistakes and errors. Stop taking yourself too seriously!
For once, it is better to be in the B’ team rather than the A’ team.
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