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10 Anger-Freeing Thoughts

Anger management is a case of mind over matter. What you have in your mind matters — it spells the difference between being full of anger versus anger-free.

No one can make you angry without your consent.

No circumstance, person, or event has that power over you. You aren’t a car that can be started by another person’s key — and you should be glad about that!

What is true is that external events can (and do) provide you with opportunities to become angry. The unfortunate part is that people embrace this opportunity all too readily. You can, if you want, choose not to lose your temper.

Anger boomerangs — and so does love.

There is a certain reciprocity to human emotion; in other words, anger begets anger, fear engenders fear, and one act of kindness is often followed by another. People respond in kind to whatever you throw out there. Throw out anger and you get back anger. Throw out love and you get back love.

If you want others to treat you positively, begin each day by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Who can I care about today?

  • Who needs my understanding, not my judgment?

  • How many kind remarks do I want to offer others today?

  • To whom can I be sympathetic?

  • How many people can I hug before the sun goes down?

  • How often can I say please and thank you?

  • How happy are people when they see my smiling face?

Then see how difficult it is for you to get angry.

Money is not worth the anger it causes.

Far too often, you may find yourself angry because something goes wrong and it has a monetary consequence. If the cost is minimal, you get irritated. If the cost is more than you can (or want to) bear, you fly into a rage.

What you need to consider, however, is that it’s only money. It doesn’t mean that your life is ruined forever. It’s only money.

Other people are not the enemy.

Emotions were built into your nervous system to help you adapt to life so that you can live long and well. Anger has a single purpose — to protect you from your enemies, those who threaten your very existence. But who are these enemies and how many do you have?

Reserve the status of “enemy” for those people who truly threaten your physical safety. Think of the rest of them as people not enemies.

Life isn’t fair — not even at the top.

Sometimes humans are funny creatures. When life goes the way you want it to, you call that fair. When it doesn’t, you call that unfair. You decide what’s fair and what’s unfair. How you think about what happens to you is what determines how angry you get.

Having healthy children is no more fair than having unhealthy children. The difference is in our minds. And no one ever gets angry because life is fair in a way that favors him.

Stop thinking about whether what comes your way today is fair or unfair and just deal with it as best you can — without being judgmental, which is where the anger comes in.

Energy is a terrible thing to waste.

It takes energy for you to be angry, it takes energy for you to stay angry, and it takes energy for you to do all the things you do to express or relieve anger. Too much anger can leave you utterly exhausted.

Are you sure you want to devote so much energy to one emotion? Where you spend your energy pretty much defines your day. If you put most of it into tasks, at the end of the day you feel productive. If you put most of it into anger, at the end of the day you feel angry, defeated, exhausted, and unproductive.

Don’t kid yourself: We’re all bozos.

Thinking of yourself as superior to other people is an open invitation to anger. Anger tends to flow downhill toward those you regard as inferior. You tell yourself: “They deserve what they get when they make me mad.”

This isn’t the hill you want to die on.

As you struggle your way through life, you must invariably decide which objectives — hills, goals, or issues — are most important and which ones matter less. The more things matter — the more of an emotional investment you have in something — the angrier you get when things don’t go your way.

As Dr. Redford Williams at Duke University so poignantly put it, “Anger kills!” So, it pays to be selective in the battles you choose to fight.

Reserve the right to fight just one major battle a day, and live to fight another day!

There’s nothing you can achieve in anger that you can’t achieve without it.

Anger can be used constructively in some instances, but anything you want to achieve in life can be yours without anger.

Somewhere along the line, people forged an association between getting mad and getting things done. And now the anger comes automatically when we’re faced with obstacles, challenges, and problems. It’s what experimental psychologists call superstitious reinforcement — we think anger is vital to our day-to-day survival when it’s really not.

When you’re dealing with people, you’re not entitled to a damn thing!

You’re not entitled to anything. According to the dictionary, an entitlement is anything you have legal claim to — like the title to a piece of property. Historically, it was something that English kings granted noblemen for their loyal service. And yet today, you apply the concept to just about every facet of your everyday life.

The problem with a sense of entitlement is that it conveys a sense of obligation, certainty, and predictability.

Forget the entitlements and instead negotiate successfully for what you want (not demand) out of life — a raise, a promotion, respect, love, and recognition. It makes life flow a whole lot easier.

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