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Full fat version posted here.

Skinny summary

 *  Things, circumstances, and people, make us angry.  It's OK.  Have a little rant and rave.  "Better out than in" as they say. 

 *  Choose to use the anger to take constructive action and get something good going.  It takes a bit of time to re-frame things, but we can train ourselves so it gets easier.  Here's how:

*  Calm down before doing anything.  Get moving. Take a run...whatever.

*  Stop feeling "hard done by"  - you probably aren't that badly off, and in many cases, the anger we feel is out of proportion to the perceived injustice.  Random crap happens.  Always will.

*  Hold back on making sweeping judgments about people without any possible sound basis for doing so.  Stick to the specifics that are causing the perceived problem. 

*  Focus on the good stuff. The good people.  The good things.  The stuff you want more of.  Build a positive attitude around those things instead of staying mad.  Stay focused on the excellent people, things, and ideas in your life instead of staying angry for long. 

*  Turn anger and frustration into positive drive and use it to get excited and make things happen. 

Skinny blog 

I was flamin' angry this morning!

Ranting and raving! Standing up. Making stupid snarling noises. My face and ears getting all heated and flame coloured.

For a full two minutes.

Sitting down and stewing.

For a full three minutes.

Then I had an idea......

My irritation was ridiculous, out of all proportion to my perceived injustice.

I'd let myself be affected negatively by a downbeat conversation with an aggressive, up-her-own-backside, patronising, so-called "important" media executive who in real terms, has little or no impact upon my life.

She's subtly mislead people about the nature of one of her projects.  It was presented as one thing (great benefit to the wider community), but really it's nothing of the kind (it is actually a way for a very small number of elite people to claim they're helping others, when really, they're serving themselves).  Anyway, I believed she lied to people, but with a smile on one of her two faces.

That's why I was flamin' angry this morning.

So what was the idea I had?

Well my idea, after that flash of anger (in private of course!) was to turn things around and do something positive.  I'll get to what it was in a moment!

Often when folk get irritated, they just whinge, moan, and complain, but take no action.

I'm in training.

I'm learning to turn crap into good stuff.  It's not easy but like most things, it gets easier with practice. I'm a long way off where I want to be but I'm in for the long haul.

Anyway, I decided to use my heightened state of resolve to get on the phone and set some good stuff in motion: challenge that bull-crap project, create something genuine that does what it say it will do, and benefit lots of people.  I will use this irritation to make something good happen".

But first, STOP!

Being wound up is sometimes good for entertainment value, or if you're a bare-knuckle street fighter (a relative told me my great, great, grandfather was Clogger Jack, a well known Lancastrian pub fighter, but that's another story). On the whole though, it's not good for business, building better relationships, or handling difficult situations. No. For those we generally need to be calm.

Here's how I calm myself down, and it works!

I've got nothing magical to tell you and I know you'll have heard this stuff before but DO IT!

Changing our mental state and re-positioning our thinking is Reallygood Thinking!

* Go on then......have a flamin' good rant!

I don't think that's very healthy to constantly cover up our emotions, besides, I'm rubbish at it.  Neither is it a good idea to have a full on emotional free-for-all just anywhere you happen to be.

So when I'm angry, and in an appropriate place, I will let rip. I acknowledge how I feel. I rant and rave. I describe in great detail and at great verbal speed, all that's bothering me. I get it out.

And then, I literally move on.

* Get moving.

For me, running is the ultimate calming action. I love it. It might not be the best thing for you, but getting off our arses definitely seems to work to change a negative mental state into something more positive.

I always, always, always feel better during, and after, a run. I reckon fast walking works well too, or cycling, or ...whatever. Find something you like and get moving. Or even just go somewhere and have a physical break in an environment other than where your anger started.

* Let's stop feeling "hard done by".

I bet most of us reading this are not that badly off. Though I'm aware there'll be some going through extremely difficult times right now.  If you are then what I'm saying might sound shallow and pointless. We live in a world where random, unpredictable, harsh circumstances can come to any of us at any time, so I feel for you.

For the rest of us though, I'll say it again: stop feeling hard done by!

Feeling hard done by lead to my feeling angry and upset with that woman this morning. So I decided to re frame it.

There are things we can change. There are things we can't. A lot of things are random. That woman's being in a position of power and privilege is just how it is at the moment. It's not that the universe has decided to exclude me and give her the "good stuff", not at all. She's played the game, been, from what I can see, an approval seeking political game player to get her current position.

I've made different choices and am finding ways to do what I believe are the right things. Those things are getting me where I need to be to help people and make a difference in a way that doesn't require a disconnect between my values and lifestyle.

* Try not to make sweeping, unhelpful judgements about stuff that's impossible to judge.

I'm not saying that media executive is a bad human being.

We can't look into her apparently unhelpful, smug attitude and conclude much at all really. Certainly we're not able to make big judgements about people's lives in general without the benefit of complete insight into their total history, psychology, and beliefs. We can't know or understand all circumstances that lead them to behave as they do or to make the choices they make.

When we think like this we realise how daft it us to make massive judgements about folk! All we can reasonably say is that their specific actions, in specific circumstances, appear to be unhelpful, unkind, inappropriate, or selfish or that we simply don't like them!

So let's keep our judgements to very specific things and decide what we can do to move things forward.

This kind of thinking really does help take the sting out of my feeling angry and helps me calm down.

* Here's a great idea that seems to always help me - fast!

Instead of concentrating on how crap I allowed that rude TV executive make me feel (if only for a little while!) I turned my thinking around with a simple technique.

Lately, I've met, interviewed, and chatted with some of the most amazing people. They're kind, thoughtful, bright men and women who want to work with others to create a better, more sustainable world. These folk don't live just for their own personal gain, comfort and status. Rather, they're part of a massive global movement toward thinking and behaving differently, to help re-shape things!

I want to focus my time and energy on these inspiring world-changers, work with them, help them, talk to, write about, film, interview, and support them. Focusing on these and not the crap ones makes a huge difference.  Doing that, either hanging out together physically, or in our thoughts and attitudes, can be another useful key to being calmer and taking better action.

* So I turned my ranting and raving anger into a kind that overcomes obstacles and gets things done.

After my run, I was still annoyed with that earlier conversation, though in a calm and clear thinking way. In a focused manner, I used that momentum to pick up the phone, push through the gatekeepers and objections, and discuss my big project idea with someone who could help make it happen.

Those were my tips on how to calm down when we're flamin' angry and get something good out of it!

Hope you found them helpful.  I'd love to hear what you think and how you cope with situations where you get wound up and need to calm down.  Thanks for reading.  See you in the comments!  Much love, Ian.  (Please comment at the bottom of this link.)

 

IAN ASPIN

  • Ian AspinLocation: Lancaster Lake District, UK
  • Bio: I’m passionate about my work:TV journalist, producer, presenter, business ideas person. I care about: family, friends, helping people, finding meaning, running