deal with anger

Fortunately, once aware of our triggers, we can learn how to deal with anger more effectively.

An experience with a little bird reminded me how important it is to learn how to deal with anger effectively. Last spring, a Robin flew against my window in the morning, luckily the Robin survived, but strangely he didn’t learn from its painful experience. The Robin immediately flew against the window again and again and again. I was truly puzzled by this little bird’s behaviour. I searched the Internet for the answer and found that Robins are very territorial birds.

When a Robin sees another Robin in its breeding or feeding territory, it instinctively attacks the other bird. My window acted as a mirror to the Robin. As the Robin saw his reflection, he interpreted this as an intruder and began attacking to chase the intruder away. The Robin’s instinct to protect his territory was far greater than his pain memory.
As recommended on several websites, I put masking tape on the outside of the window, taking away the mirror effect for the bird. For the rest of the spring season the Robins around my home were safe. This phenomenon of head-bonking is also quite common in humans.

Most of us have situations that trigger us and make us angry. Just like Robins we instinctively react to perceived threats. Unlike Robins, we usually realize in hindsight that we have let anger get into the drivers seat. We have once again bonked our head and are feeling the painful consequences. Fortunately, once aware of our triggers and our instinctual reaction, we can learn how to deal with anger more effectively. Put up some metaphorical masking tape and learn how to deal with anger more graciously.

How to Deal with Anger Effectively: 

  1. Think of a situation or behaviour that makes you angry, aggressive, defensive or frustrated.
  2. Once you are aware of the trigger, take a look at what you most want in this situation. Do you want to be respected? Do you want to be left alone? Do you want to feel connected? Do you want to be understood or appreciated? Name and acknowledge what you most want to receive.
  3. Give that which you most want to receive to yourself. Ask yourself a question, such as: “What would I do, if I really respected myself today?”
  4. Find as many answers to this question as possible. Then act on the most appealing one.
  5. Decide how you want to respond next time you encounter the situation or behaviour that triggers you. Taking a Mini-Retreat to relax and take the heat out of the situation is a great way to start!

If you forget in the heat of the moment, remember tomorrow is a new day. It offers a fresh opportunity to learn how to deal with anger more graciously.

In case a robin has chosen your backyard as his territory, you now know how to save him from bonking his head.

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