There’s a big difference between feeling irritated and feeling angry. Irritation is milder; something you can cope with. Anger that is acted on is stronger and usually out of control. It crosses boundaries, hurts other people and can be abusive. If you can learn to say “I am irritated not angry”, then you will be acting and feeling more healthily than you have been before. Your relationships will improve because you will be able to discuss issues.
Here’s how to change anger into irritation…
1. Start with learning to calm your anger. That might mean walking away, calling a time out, counting to ten-100, writing down your thoughts, listening to music, doing Yoga or running to the gym. It’s what you think that determines how you feel.
2. When you are angry notice what you tell yourself. Remind yourself that others don’t have to agree with you and that you cannot control others only yourself.
3. Think about why it is you get so angry? Is it a learned behavior?
4. When you are by yourself and thinking about the event don’t waste your time thinking about what the other person did to make you angry. That will just extend your anger. Think about what you could have done differently. See if there’s anything you can agree with and tell the person when you get back to discussing it. It makes them more open to your ideas.
5. Figure out through mulling or writing what it is you are really upset about and find a kind way to share this with the other person.
Keep practicing these 5 steps and soon you will find that you are feeling irritated rather than angry. This is a gift you can give to your loved ones as well as to yourself. You’ll feel so much more comfortable feeling irritated rather than angry. Remember, you have no right to take your anger out on others. You are responsible for your own emotions and your subsequent behavior.