Category: Anger Management

a very angry woman screaming at her latptop

3 Types of Anger and How to Manage It

Everyone gets angry. Anger tends to have a bad reputation, but in reality, it can be a healthy part of our emotional expression. After all, it’s better for us to reveal why we are angry rather than bottle it up where it can become explosive later. In fact, that’s part of the reason why anger is so maligned: we are seldom taught how to express our anger in a way that’s healthy and constructive rather than unhealthy and destructive. When dealt with correctly, anger is just another aspect of our humanity. Anger can help us stand up for ourselves when we feel as though we’ve been dealt an injustice, or it can lend a voice to those who are too afraid to stand up for themselves.

In essence, it’s okay to feel angry. What’s not okay, however, is to let anger become abuse. The best way to deal with anger in any situation is not to let it become a means of hurting others, but rather to discover its source. Why are you angry? What is causing you to feel this way? By uncovering the true source of our anger we can not only better understand ourselves but can also redirect our energies from hostility to productivity. We can learn to manage anger better than just yelling and screaming aimlessly and hoping that whatever it is will just go away.

Three Ways to Better Manage Anger

1. Anger as Entitlement

When we feel angry, we might feel tempted to blame others for our anger. After all, we wouldn’t be angry if everyone else just did what we wanted to, right? Well the world seldom works that way. We can’t realistically expect that everyone else is going to do exactly what we want them to all the time. Believing that this is a just expectation is essentially believing that one is entitled to the obedience and attentiveness of others. Unfortunately, many people who feel this sense of entitlement may also feel as though it is acceptable for them to bully others into giving them what they want. We might see this in abusive relationships, where if one party doesn’t accommodate the other they may face severe consequences. A frequently used tactics by such individuals is intimidation, which can be useful for bullying others into giving them exactly what they want.

Bullying is never an acceptable form of behavior. This is especially true when it is used as a means of expressing anger. The key to eliminating this negative form of expression, however, is to realize that blaming others solves nothing. To place blame completely on others is to avoid taking any responsibility ourselves, which can be a toxic pattern. In any social interaction, we play a part in the give and take. By ignoring our involvement we are placing ourselves above others and ignoring our part in our own emotional response. This doesn’t help us nor does it help anyone who may consequently become a target for our misplaced emotions.

2. Anger as Panic

I’m sure we all appreciate when things go according to plan. After all, it’s nice to have some stability in our lives, especially with all of the unpredictability life can deal us. Unfortunately, plans don’t always work out, and when they don’t, we must learn to reconfigure ourselves and move on. If not, we may find ourselves responding aggressively to such deviations. When something goes wrong or not as expected, we can’t allow ourselves to fall into a panic. This may be easier said than done, but panicking can essentially our emotions to take control of us rather than the other way around. When we panic, we might react in a way that is excessively hostile or irritable. In essence, we “snap”. Once again, this form of expression lacks any productivity or resolution. In what way do we benefit from snapping? How does this solve our problem? In short, it doesn’t.

There are better ways to manage anger than allowing it to spiral into a burst of aggression. Instead, we can step back and evaluate our situation. Taking deep breaths and counting to ten can be a good way of grounding ourselves and calming ourselves down so that we can better assess what’s happening. By doing this, we have a better chance of coming up with a better plan, or an answer, rather than simply resorting to panic and distress.

3. Anger as Explosive

No one enjoys feeling like they’ve let anyone down. Unfortunately, however, for some of us this may translate to going to great lengths to avoid conflict, even if we are continually  compromising ourselves in the process. That being said, everyone has their limits. We cannot realistically expect that our problems will go away if we simply ignore them or pretend they don’t exist. Similarly, we cannot expect our feelings of dissatisfaction or anger to vanish just because we aren’t addressing them. In fact, the opposite is true. The negative feelings we are choosing to avoid are instead festering in our subconscious, waiting for the moment when we can no longer feasibly bottle up our feelings anymore.

The result? We explode. Think of it like steam building up inside a small container until it can no longer do so and needs to be released. We can’t possibly hope to please everyone, and neglecting our own emotional and mental health helps no one. Leaving our anger to build up until it releases itself in one burst of hostility can lead to strong feelings of guilt afterwards once we realize what has happened. In our quest to avoid hurting others by bottling up our feelings we may end up hurting them more once our anger eventually does manifest itself. The solution to this is to address our anger as we feel it by recognizing why we’re angry. Once we establish the source of our anger, we can better address it in a constructive means, rather than lashing out.

By following these key tips, we can better learn how to control our anger and express it in a way that is healthy rather than destructive. If you are working on living a life with less anger and frustration, call us. We can help.

one man helping another man up a mountain

Understanding and Practicing Compassion

True compassion is not always easy to come by, and it’s even more difficult to communicate. Oftentimes, we struggle with feeling vulnerable. Unfortunately, this feeling frequently accompanies instances where we reveal our sensitive, emotional selves to others, such as when we’re demonstrating compassion. But compassion is integral to the development and maintenance of any good relationship, therefore it is important for us not only to remember to be compassionate towards others, but to be able to communicate that compassion effectively so that it can be received.

In this article we’ll discuss some key techniques for practicing and communicating compassion, beginning with the art of mindfulness.

What Does it Mean to be Mindful?

In most cases when we think of the word mindfulness we’re conditioned to associate it with therapy and meditation, but in reality being mindful just means being self-aware, which is why mindfulness techniques are often applied in healing settings. Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Adrienne Glasser, explains that: “Mindfulness isn’t just about being peaceful and loving no matter what. Unless you’re a monk who spent decades in a monastery on the brink of enlightenment, that isn’t realistic.  Moreover, this is not what mindfulness looks like. Mindfulness, simply put, is remembering to come back to the present moment.”

It is in this present moment where compassion lies. Sometimes when our mind wanders we become overwhelmed by worrying about things that will or won’t happen or things that happened our pasts or are looming in our futures. In these instances, we lose track of ourselves, and in doing so, lose our sense of compassion. Practicing mindfulness can help us learn to be aware of when our emotions are affecting us so that we remain in control of our emotional selves versus the other way around. Being mindful allows us to pause so that we can experience something different, something new. How does this apply to compassion? If we acknowledge when we are feeling overwhelmed or overly emotional we can better address those emotions as they are rather than allowing them to negatively impact others. For example, if we recognize when we are feeling frustrated from work we can address that feeling directly rather than taking it out on someone else. In this way, we are enabling ourselves to think and act compassionately, rather than be motivated by overpowering emotions.

Being Compassionate is About Caring How Others Feel

Another good way to practice compassion is to try to understand the emotions of others, particularly when they’re suffering, as it is in these instances when we are often at our most vulnerable and in need of compassion from others. In order for us to be compassionate towards anyone we must first be interested in finding out what’s wrong in the first place. Think of it this way, when we ask someone how they’re feeling or how they’re doing it’s a sign of care and concern. If we didn’t care about that person we likely wouldn’t be asking after their wellbeing. Likewise, to be compassionate essentially means to care and to demonstrate care unto others. By showing others that we care about how they feel and about what is hurting them, we are practicing compassion. Ms. Glasser reveals that: “Being curious about the underlying belief or emotion in the body can lend clarity to what’s really happening.” So, too, can we better understand others and show them compassion if we are actually care enough to learn what’s beyond the surface.

Self-Compassion is Just As Important

That being said, compassion isn’t solely for the benefit of others. We can and should be compassionate towards ourselves as well. Self-compassion means that we validate our own emotions without telling ourselves that we’re wrong for experiencing them. We allow ourselves to be vulnerable and we accept that vulnerability as a necessary part of our emotional expression. Oftentimes this seems easier said than done, but self-compassion is essential not only for our own health and well-being but also because it is a necessary step towards being able to demonstrate compassion to others. We must learn to clarify how we feel and accept it as being an aspect of ourselves before we can begin to address it. This includes emotions such as sadness or anxiety.

We can say “I am feeling anxious” and then we explore the source of that feeling and accept it for what it is, without necessarily letting it rule over us. For example: “I am feeling anxious because I have bills to pay. It is ok to feel this way because this is a natural reaction to a stressful situation, but I do not have to let my anxiety take over.” In this instance, we are acknowledging our emotion, anxiety, and accepting it as being natural, but reminding ourselves that we are in control, not our anxiety. We might even find ways of dealing with this or other powerful negative emotions, just as we might propose solutions to a friend’s problems. In any case, by taking time to address our vulnerabilities without berating ourselves for having or experiencing them we are showing ourselves compassion, which is unbelievably important. We must remember to show ourselves the same consideration we would show others. Compassion is individual as much as it is social.

Honesty Is Not a Sign of Weakness

No one likes to feel vulnerable, but vulnerability is a natural part of human existence. There is no shame in vulnerability, despite what we might initially think. With it comes an honesty to ourselves and others about what we’re experiencing emotionally and mentally, which can lead to better understanding. It is through this better understanding, and the desire to understand, that we learn how to be compassionate, and how to communicate that compassion effectively. Compassion can make any challenge seem more bearable, and is a good way of reminding others if and when we care.

Understanding Anger and How To Express It

Anger is one of the most commonly suppressed emotions. But why? Many of us have difficulty confronting our anger, seeing it as wholly irrational, even if it has a legitimate cause. Rather than dealing with what’s causing us to be angry, many of us simply choose to ignore these negative feelings, but doing so can cause more harm than good. A column by Matthew Huston in the New York Times entitled “The Rationality of Rage” points out a number of recent academic papers which examine the benefits of expressing one’s anger in certain interpersonal situations. Anger can be a tricky emotion, simply because it’s very powerful. Moreover, it can be fueled by a number of sources and can inspire us to lash out, even it’s at the wrong person or for the wrong reasons. But recognizing when we’re angry and expressing how we feel can be a necessary part of maintaining our mental health, so long as we do so in a way that isn’t abusive. Perhaps Huston explains it best in the following summary towards the end of his piece: “We tend to associate anger with the loss of control, but anger has clear applications and obeys distinct rules. It may be blunt, but it has its own particular logic. And used judiciously, it can get us better deals, galvanize coalitions and improve all our lives.”

The Philosophy of Anger

The nature of anger and it’s usefulness or lack thereof has been debated for centuries. Ancient philosophers like Aristotle argued that anger is good insofar as it is appropriate and moderate. He said: “the man who is angry at the right things and with the right people, and, further, as he ought, when he ought, and as long as he ought, is praised.” Furthermore, according to Aristotle, anger should neither be too strong nor too weak, and should be expressed at the right time. However, he did caution anger forged from passion. This is because this kind of anger almost always goes to excess since it is less easily controlled.

Unfortunately, as other philosophers began to agree, the opinion then evolved into believing that anger as a whole was bad, making it useless as an emotion. Famous stoic philosopher, Seneca, believed that anger was entirely dangerous because, by its very nature, it was difficult to control. In general, the stoic’s view of emotions were more extreme than that of the more nuanced Aristotle. It is they, perhaps, who developed our modern beliefs that emotions are an enemy to reason because they impede it. This perspective argues that, although emotions are a part of our human nature, they inhibit our best selves, which is to say our rational selves, leading us to do things that our ideal selves wouldn’t sanction.

Such sentiments would later be echoed by Immanuel Kant, who would argue that passions like anger compromise our sense of reason and corrupt our moral decisions, making them (and us) more dangerous. But what about Aristotle’s argument that anger has its time and place of usefulness? Dr. Mark D. White, chair of the Department of Philosophy at the College of Staten Island/CUNY, explains that “Today, many philosophers hold a more integrated view of the roles that both emotion and morality play in our ethical lives, more in tune with Aristotle than the Stoics but drawing heavily from both.” As such, even if we learn the value of our emotions to both our practical and moral reasoning, we must also learn to acknowledge the limitations of how well we can harness and control what are essentially elements of our primal nature. Dr. White notes: “Most of us are all too aware of how easily we can lose our tempers, and we should keep that in mind when we consider trying to put those tempers to use.”

Constructive vs. Destructive Anger

Thus a distinction must be made between constructive and destructive anger. It is constructive anger that Huston’s article focuses on. He cites a 2009 article in Negotiation and Conflict Management Research which reveals that “anger is more likely to lead to such mutually positive outcomes when it is low in intensity” and when it is “expressed verbally rather than physically.” Such anger when expressed, Huston explains, “can sometimes benefit all the parties involved, not just one of them, by clarifying boundaries, needs and concerns. Think of the loved one who doesn’t realize how strongly you feel about the relationship until you express feelings of frustration with it.”

The Benefits of Expressing Anger

In essence, rather than viewing anger and other emotions in extremes, like the stoics, it’s good to see anger through a more moderate perspective. Used constructively, anger can be a good way to express one’s discontentment with a situation so that the situation can be improved upon rather than resume in such a way as to make the individual uncomfortable. However, when left to its own devices, without control, anger can easily go from constructive to destructive. It is this anger that the stoics defined all anger by, and it is this anger that can lead to dangerous outcomes. Anger, like any powerful emotion, necessitates regulation to keep from excess, but, when controlled, is a necessary aspect of the human emotional spectrum, and is perfectly natural to experience, and healthy to express.

New Study: Testing for Alzheimer’s Using Saliva

It’s clear we’ve entered a new age of medical testing. Whereas in previous generations, testing for disease and genetic conditions seemed nearly impossible, we’ve managed to develop relatively easy, innovative,  and effective ways doing just that, with surprising accuracy. Case and point: scientists may be able to determine a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s by testing their saliva. According to a new study published by Dr. Shraddha Sapkota, a graduate of neuroscience from the University of Alberta, Canada, saliva has promising potential for both predicting and tracking cognitive decline in older adults.

Better Testing For Alzheimer’s Needed

Medical News Today reports that “Alzheimer’s disease affects around 5.3 million people in the US and is the sixth leading cause of death in the country. It is predicted that by 2050, around 13.5 million Americans will have the condition.” Currently, there is no single test one can take to determine whether or not they have Alzheimer’s or are at risk of developing the condition. An Alzheimer’s diagnosis requires extensive medical evaluation, including physical and neurological testing, all of which can be tedious, not to mention expensive.

Dr. Sapkota and his colleagues note that many of these diagnostic methods for Alzheimer’s can be invasive and costly, which has prompted them to search for a simpler, cheaper technique. While there is no way to halt the progression of Alzheimer’s, early detection can allow the individual to better benefit from medications which treat the symptoms of the condition. Moreover, early detection of Alzheimer’s can raise the likelihood of individuals participating in clinical trials aimed at finding a cure for the disease, therefore increasing the chances of treating Alzheimer’s once and for all.

New Research Aims at Prevention and Early Detection

The study analyzed the saliva samples of 22 participants who had Alzheimer’s, 25 who had mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, and 35 participants with normal cognitive functioning. These samples were analyzed using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, or LCMS, to examine certain compounds within the saliva. In doing so, “The researchers identified compounds that were more pronounced in the saliva of participants with Alzheimer’s and MCI, differentiating them from healthy participants. These findings were validated in a further sample including seven participants with Alzheimer’s, 10 with MCI and 10 cognitively normal participants.” Additionally, further analysis revealed that the presence of higher levels of certain substances in the participant’s saliva was linked with poor cognitive functioning. For example, “a higher level of a certain compound in the saliva of participants with Alzheimer’s was linked to slower information processing speed.”

Where Does This Type of Research Lead?

But what is the future of this research? The team believes that the results of this study can potentially lead to more inexpensive, noninvasive, diagnostic techniques for Alzheimer’s that can still produce reliable results, although more research is, of course, needed. However, Sapkota appears optimistic, saying: “Saliva is easily obtained, safe and affordable, and has promising potential for predicting and tracking cognitive decline, but we’re in the very early stages of this work and much more research is needed.” Moreover, he adds: “Equally important is the possibility of using saliva to find targets for treatment to address the metabolic component of Alzheimer’s, which is still not well understood. This study brings us closer to solving that mystery.”

Interestingly, this is not the only recent breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research. Another study reveals a possible correlation between a protein in one’s cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF, and it’s ability to predict the decline from MCI to Alzheimer’s. Conducted by Dr. Maartje Kester of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam and his colleagues, this study assessed samples of CSF taken over a 2 year period from 162 participants with either MCI, Alzheimer’s, or normal cognitive function. Their analysis revealed that participants with Alzheimer’s possessed higher baseline levels of neurogranin, a protein in the brain, in their CSF samples than did participants with MCI or normal cognitive functioning. In addition, “baseline neurogranin levels were higher among participants whose MCI had progressed to Alzheimer’s, indicating that the protein may be a predictor of cognitive decline among individuals with MCI.”

Researchers also found that neurogranin levels increased over time for participants with normal cognitive functioning, a result which was not mirrored in participants with either MCI or Alzheimer’s. Because of this, Dr. Kester believes that “This may indicate that neurogranin levels in CSF reflect very early synaptic loss in Alzheimer’s and may be useful for early detection.”

New Insight into a Silent Killer

The studies of both Dr. Kester and Dr. Sapkota have succeeded in providing new insight into how we identify and define Alzheimer’s, particularly in its earlier stages. This can potentially assist in diagnosing Alzheimer’s and even predicting its occurrence, which can allow for better and more effective treatment options for those diagnosed. With early enough diagnosis, there may even be hope for the discovery of a cure. In the meantime, further research is needed, but thankfully, the future looks promising.

7 Easy Techniques for Dealing with Anger and Stress

Managing anger is something that most inpatient and outpatient rehab clients are going to need help with.  Managing anger is something we could all use help with now and again.  Most commonly, anger is dealt with in two ways – repressively and aggressively.  Some people cannot deal with anger so they push it aside and ignore it, while others deal with it immediately many times with immediate disrespect or violence.  By offering trainings in anger management, inpatient and outpatient rehab clients are being equipped with the coping skills necessary to deal with anger in a healthy way.  Here are some of the techniques that are being learned by recovering addicts everywhere.

1. Take Deep Breaths

This may seem rather simple, but taking deep breaths lowers the heart rate and tells the body that it is calm and relaxed.  By taking slow and calculated deep breaths where you focus more on the exhale than the inhale, you are forcing your mind back to the logical from the emotional.  Counting during breathing can help you to stay focused.  First, try to make your exhales and inhales the same counts.  Then, try to make your exhales one count longer than your inhales.  Then try for two counts longer.  This technique is about focusing your energy on something other than your anger.

2. Walk Away

Teaching a client to take him or herself out of a stressful environment, may be the most helpful thing to teach.  If you remove yourself from a stressful situation by taking a short walk or simply leaving the room to get some air, you may return with a better understanding of how to approach a problem or how to address the situation.  Taking a walk can be a great lead into the next way of dealing with some of your anger and stress issues.

3. Get a Little Exercise

Exercise reduces stress and often helps people think. Exercise gives the rest of the body something to do while the mind focuses on dealing with the situation at hand.  Since endorphins released during exercise tend to make people happier, it might be easier to deal with an anger issue after exercise.  Getting some exercise is also great for your body.  There is nothing better you can do for your overall health than move around.

4. Count to 10

Again, this technique is rather simple, but it gives you a chance to think the situation through without reacting immediately and causing further damage.  Counting to ten and focusing on processing the situation may make the immediate anger dissipate and a more useful solution present itself.  Counting to 10 gives you a chance take a moment before you say something in anger or stress that you are going to regret.

5. Use “I” Statements

When you are ready to deal with a situation, use of “I” statements rather than “you” statements.  Using “I” statements such as “I feel…”, “I will…”, and “I am…” puts the focus of the conversation on how you are feeling and on the solution rather than making it feel accusatory.  Statements like “You are…” or “You did…” are placing blame and setting the situation up for failure.  Be respectful and specific.

6. Do Not Hold a Grudge

Forgiveness is a very powerful tool.  If you allow your anger and your stress to crowd out your positive feelings, you may find that eventually you end up feeling bitter and unhappy all the time.  Making an effort to forgive someone who has made you angry could be a lesson for both of you.  It is not realistic to believe that everyone is going to behave in ways that you think they should all the time.  So be the bigger person and recognize if the difficulty is something you can deal with internally.

7. Know When to Ask for Help

If you are trying some of these techniques on your own and you do not feel like you are getting very far, you may want to ask for some help.  Take your anger and stress issues to your therapist or your treatment team.  They may have some suggestions for you about what you can do to tame some of your biggest issues.

Three Ways to Avoid Letting Past Anger Effect A Relationship

All couples fight.  The nature of people is that sometimes they are going to get on each other’s nerves.  Sometimes you are going to be in a bad mood, or sometimes you partner will be.  Sometimes you are going to fight over big things, and sometimes the reasons for fighting are not going to be particularly clear.  During a fight, most of us have brought up some kind of relationship issue that was committed years previous to the fight you are currently having.  Regardless of the fact that most of us have done this, it can be very harmful and counterproductive.  Continuing to be angry about something that happened years ago and bringing it up while you are fighting can turn a small disagreement into a major fight before you even know that it is happening.

There are three things that most therapists will suggest for dealing with this issue and working on building a better relationship.

1. Let Go of Past Anger

This is clearly a lot easier said than done, but forgiveness actually increases your wellness. Letting anger fester even if the infraction is relatively minor can be harmful for you and your partner.  The anger can eventually explode and do true damage to your relationship.  Since past anger tends to resurface when you get angry again, it is unhealthy to hold on to it at all.  Forgiveness can go a long way toward improving everyone’s quality of life.

2. Do Not Save Yourself with Past Anger

Harbored anger can come up in all kinds of situations. One of the most common situations is in the case that you are expecting to be blamed for something current so you bring up a bigger issue from the past in order to fend of the blame of your transgression.  By retorting or preempting your partner with a greater problem, you are reminding him or her of his or her problems and suggesting that you are less guilty.  But this does not do anything to deal with the problem at hand.  It has really created a bigger problem than the one you had already.  It is creating resentment and tension when it should have been able to be diffused rather quickly.

3. Do Not Punish with Anger 

All of this anger harboring can show up in the form of making your partner feel guilty. This reaction often originates from the feeling that your partner has hurt or rejected you in some way.  Bring up a past issue puts the blame on the other person which makes him or her feel worse.  This kind of behavior is considered manipulative.  People who are skilled in this form of negativity can very often get their own way in the short term, but are sacrificing long term satisfaction and are leading their partners down the path of resentment and contempt.  A relationship that is threaded with contempt is unlikely to be viable for long.

Forgiveness Is Difficult, But Its’ Benefits Are Amazing

In order to be able to let go of your anger, you will have to learn to forgive.  Forgiveness does not come naturally for everyone.  In order to learn the skills, it can help to start small.  Work on forgiving small things first.  Consciously make the decision to let go of your annoyance over something that is not really worth getting upset over.  Let your partner know what you are doing and tell him or her that your love is still strong.  If you do this enough, you will find that it feels less and less like something that is out of the ordinary.  Eventually, you will be able to move on to forgiving bigger angers or bigger issues.

In order to really forgive your partner, you need to realize that you anger or annoyance or resentment is really your problem, and it is not your partner’s fault.  You are responsible for the things that you feel and the things that you say.  As an adult, it is your choice to hold on to your anger or to let it go.

The Key to Anger Management

Several years ago I entered a parking lot of a shopping center and encountered what commonly requires a great amount of anger management and has sadly become a familiar occurrence, someone stole my parking spot.  However, on this day it was a bit different in the “in your face” way in which it occurred. It took my best anger management skills to keep cool.

Anger Management Tools Were Essential

It had been a particularly stressful, hot summer day and after circling around the lot for some time with no decent spot I noticed an old lady and her friend coming out of the Publix grocery.  She was using a walker so it took quiet a long time for them to cross the road.  I figured I would wait for them, follow them to their car and take that space.  It wasn’t like there were many options anyway.  As they approached the end of the road at snails pace I notice their car was right next to the handicap spot.  Right there in the front.  Jackpot! A would be rewarded with a rock star parking space for my patience.  Or so I thought.

At this point it is important to remind you there were few other spaces left in that lot and the road she was about to finish crossing in front of the Publix was one lane on each side.  Suddenly the unthinkable happened.  A woman with her 8 year old son in the back pulled up right next to me.  Against the oncoming traffic!  Everyone in her lane coming towards her came to a stop, because she was blocking it.  So here we are, two cars side by side blocking the road.  Me patiently waiting to get my spot and her standing next to me against oncoming traffic.

“Maybe there was another car that she saw that was also pulling out.”  I told myself.

“She couldn’t be thinking of taking the spot I had been waiting for in such an aggressive manner could she?”

“No way!!!  She intended to take my spot!”

I was floored.  Talk about nasty and aggressive.  I looked at her to kindly indicate (in case she was blind!) that it was my spot.  A spot I had been waiting for until the snail (I mean nice old lady) crossed the road.  She shot me this snooty look and turned her nose and head at me as she looked away.

“What the!!  This isn’t happening.” I told myself.

I motioned to the 8 year old in her back seat to get her attention.  Instead he gave ME attention.  With his middle finger!

I was seething.  The old lady pulled out and this woman, with her brat in tow, floored her car into the spot.  The shock was gone and now I was really, really, really angry (I actually had better and more colorful language in my head, but I am trying to keep this PG rated).  I paused for a second behind her car intending to give her a piece of my mind, as I rolled down the window.  However, I was afraid it could get out of hand, because at this point my mind was exploding with vengeful thoughts.  I decided to drive to the farthest part of the lot and get a spot there.  That way I could cool off as I walked towards the grocery.  I parked, got out of my car and stared at the keys in my hand.

“Put them away.”  I told my self.

“No!!!  I’m going dig into her car so bad she is going to need a new door.”

“No you are not.”

And so it went as I walked all the way from the back of the lot headed towards her car.  It was like a cartoon character with the little angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other.  I walked straight for her car, keys in my hand held to the side and….    Finally I walked into Publix and did my shopping.   I could see her looking at me in the store.  Half snooty and half nervous.

“Did that guy (me) key my car?”   She must of thought.

So did I?  No, I didn’t even touch her car.  In fact, I turned away before I was right behind it.  Boy I wanted to, but it wasn’t right.  I realized she was nasty and I wasn’t going to be nasty.  What’s more I wasn’t going to let her ruin the rest of my day by keeping me angry.  However, the real secret was my built in cool off period.  By parking so far away I was able to walk off my anger and thankfully (especially for her) it worked.  I still take walks as a form of anger management and believe it to be a great way to cool off.  Oh, and people still take my parking spots sometimes.  But this event remains the record holder of nasty swipes!

Even as a psychiatrist, I must always keep my anger management tools handy to avoid a blow-up!

– Dr. Mike

A male and female interlocking hands in what appears to be a strong, happy relationship.

Building Communication with Relationship Therapy

Most couples will argue from time to time. For the most part, this is normal behavior, because loving someone doesn’t necessarily …

Man sitting on couch holding hands over his face as his partner walks away angrily.

The Five Stages of Ending a Long-Term Relationship

Sometimes relationships just aren’t meant to be. Love has plenty of ups and downs, but increasing negativity can be a sign …

Vintage photo of a peaceful, beautiful nature scene with river and trees.

Smell The Roses: The Benefits of Nature Therapy

With the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and responsibilities, it can be hard to remember to take time to “stop and …