Would you describe yourself as happy go lucky?

Hmm, happy go lucky or often angry? Anger rarely leaves anyone feeling positive and relaxed but it is something that all of us experience. Sometimes we direct anger at ourselves and other times it is at other people. Even when we direct it at ourselves it is usually because someone else has done something and we didn’t like it. What if you could do something about managing how you react? Would you choose to be happy go lucky or just plain angry?

I am not going to talk about the former today, but there are things that we can do about the latter. Here’s a starter; no one can make you feel anything – you choose how you feel, you choose how you respond and you choose what you think, sort of……

Anger starts with a trigger event happening; stuck in traffic, insulted by another person, you can list your own. We get angry because we perceive that something has been done to us and we are the unwilling victim. I wonder why it is that everyone isn’t annoyed when the same happens to them? If something bad had really happened then surely everyone would think it was bad and everybody would be angry when that happens? (It may come as a surprise to some of you that we don’t all get mad when someone cuts us up or we are caught in a 5-mile tailback). So there must be something else that causes it.

Why do we behave differently?

Well we do all have different traits; some of us are very laid back, some hate conflict so find it easier to take the blame, others can shrug it off. Competitive people might get angry quicker, self-important people can fly off the handle fast. The other big impact is understanding that there is always something happening before the anger trigger happens. If we are already irritated, tired, feeling pressured etc etc then the chances of getting angry quicker are higher. If you are happy and generally feeling good, the level of tolerance is also higher. One of the main factors on how we respond is the way that we already perceive the situation. We think something that may not be true. Once we ‘think’ we have made sense of it, we stop looking for any other evidence and respond accordingly. Many people get angry in traffic because they always do – well they don’t have to, do they?

Can we change this?

We need to want to change it. We need to recognise what we are doing; we need to understand that we have a choice about how we respond and we have to choose the response that is actually appropriate to the size of the problem. Think about how you actually want to feel most of the time, how can you stay positive and not get wound up! You can choose to actually say nothing which can be much more powerful and gives you control. One of the best ways to get a response from the people who know you and expect you to behave in a certain is to surprise them by doing exactly the opposite. When people think you will get angry you can actually be creating pressure points for others as well as yourself – is that really the person that you want to be?

Choose happy go lucky. Choose positive.

Penny Whitelock

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