I USED TO THINK IT WAS healthy to express
anger and unhealthy to hold it in, so I said what was on my mind
when I was angry. Of course, I hurt peoples feelings
Anger can be a dangerous and destructive
emotion. Although you cant eliminate the emotion from your
life, the way you respond to it can make it less dangerous and
Research has shown that expressing anger
only makes you angrier. But that doesnt mean we should
avoid saying anything about what makes us angry. Its just
that we should avoid saying it while were angry.
It doesnt do much good anyway: The person listening to
you only sees and hears your anger and puts up her defenses right
away. Nothing gets through. And she gets a very bad impression
But you need to say something. So follow
these two rules and youll do yourself and other people
a big favor:
1. Make it your personal policy not
to say much or decide anything while youre angry. Leave
it alone, go on about your business, and the intensity will subside.
Then think about what you need to do or say or decide.
If youve calmed down and decided to talk to someone but
find you cant seem to say it without getting angry again,
write it in a letter.
2. Say what you want, not what you dont
want. Say your complaints in the form of requests. Instead
of You never do such and such, say Would you
please do such and such? Its easier to hear. Its
more likely to cause the effect you want. Say clearly what you
want and why you want it.
USUALLY YOURE ANGRY because you want
someone to change to do something different than what
theyre doing. Thats perfectly legitimate. What you
want is to have an impact on the other, which, according
to the research, is what will really and truly clear up your
anger. Not venting, but not remaining silent either.
Those two steps will help you effectively
cause change in other people while reducing the amount of anger
you experience over time. Even when you make a request and someone
says no, youll feel better. At least now they know what
you want. Youve said it. Its off your chest.
This is a good way to increase others
respect for you while also making things go the way you want
more often. Turn complaints into requests and make those requests
when you are calm.
Dont say much when youre angry.
When you complain, say what you want,
not what you dont want.