I can’t stand the horrible drivers in this town! Half the people on the road aren’t paying attention. They are either on their cell phones or are just half asleep.
Today I almost ran into a woman who pulled right out in front of me in her giant SUV. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid her. She didn’t even see me! I started screaming at her in my car. I had the windows rolled up but I kept yelling and honking. My wife, who was with me, had to calm me down. I think I scared my wife.
I know I have a touch of road rage. It’s hard to deal with awful drivers, but what can I do when a driver cuts me off and I feel the anger boiling to the surface?
Hmmmm, you may have a problem here, but then again, if I had to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident, I’d be screaming too, and would probably throw out a few curse words!
Yet, you were raging to the level of scaring your passenger? That is telling. Do you think your level of anger and intensity could point to something deeper going on in your life? Let’s explore that…
Do you find yourself getting explosively angry over other uncontrollable events in your life? Is your general demeanor cranky and agitated, or angry?
If you or your wife are noticing other times when your anger reaches a “scary” level of intensity, take a look at what else may be feeding your stress. Are you stressed with work? Are you sleep deprived? Are there other physical or mental stresses at play in your life?
To reduce your angry outbursts on the road and in other areas of life, try these 5 things:
1. Pare down your to-do list
Recently, I found myself feeling overworked and overstressed, yet in 10 minutes of sitting down and making a plan for change, I completely revamped my days. I dropped a slew of things from my calendar and never looked back. This seemingly difficult task was easier than I thought, and lent breathing space to my days. Some things on your to-do list will take some time to get out of, others you can drop instantly. Just knowing you’re on the path to paring down your daily commitments will decrease your stress and frustration. Give it a try!
2. Identify the thoughts that trigger your anger
You can also take charge of reducing your stress by identifying what thoughts trigger your anger. Look for solutions to diffuse and reframe the thoughts that fuel your explosiveness. Use conscious thinking to notice what thoughts you can change. Monitoring your thoughts for change gets easier the longer you make it a daily practice. Cool those red hot thoughts down and your anger level will drop.
3. Try these methods for immediate calm
In addition to reducing your daily tasks and monitoring your thoughts, employ methods to help calm yourself when you feel about to explode. Try deep breathing, or counting sheep, or cats, or hamsters in your head until the urge to rage passes. Or find a soothing yoga-esq mantra, or saying, that you can repeat in your mind to bring calm. Take your mind somewhere else that feels soothing and calming to you.
4. Regularly practice building calm in to your life
Implementing a regular practice of meditation can also calm you in those stressful moments when you have no control over your situation. If mediation isn’t your thing, find 2 or 3 strategies for anger control that work for you and use those routinely to calm down angry, irritated feelings that creep up during the day.
5. Seek outside help
If you can’t seem to get this under control yourself, seek outside help. There’s no shame in getting help, and it could reduce the shame and embarrassment of an angry outburst!
As we walk through life, we have to deal with all sorts of inconsiderate, pushy people. It can’t be avoided, but what you can do is work on calming yourself while accepting that you have no control over other people. You only have control over your own thoughts and actions.
Embrace your Personal Power with Life Coaching~
• How much of a problem with road rage and intense anger do you have?
• In what ways is your anger affecting your relationships?
• What methods do you think will help you de-stress and relax?
• At what point will you seek outside help?
Listen to “The Joan Jerkovich Show” this weekend where Melissa talks about her struggle with “Road Rage.” Kathy talks about working with a “Poor Manager” and I share “10 Tips For Dealing With A Bully Boss.” Listen for which boss got that memo in their in-box!
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Join the conversation & post your comments @ JoanJerkovich.com
We learn from each other!
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