Anger Issues & Holidays Go Together Like Peanut Butter & Jelly
Anger issues and the holidays may go together like peanut butter and jelly. In some families, anger can rear its ugly head quicker than anyone can say "bless her heart" . But, that doesn't mean that we should accept this type of behavior!
Everything about controlling your anger should have been been learned in Kindergarten. Right? In our family, we learned how to control our anger in 1st grade. Well, we learned this technique when my daughter was in 1st grade in 1999!
My daughter's 1st grade teacher taught the "stop light" method. And 15 years later, the Olivieri family is still using this technique. It goes like this:
Red Light – Stop
Yellow Light – Calm Down
Green Light – Think of a Good Solution
Red is Stop.
Stop your behavior then stop your mind! It's so crucial to stop the behavior and your mind. The mind can be so powerful in controlling anger. And, the behavior is what everyone sees.
Yellow is Calm Down.
Take a deep cleansing breath (or 2 or 3 – Ha!). Calming down is difficult to do because it involves our minds. Our minds control our thoughts and behaviors. When trying to calm down, I find that controlling my thoughts is the MOST difficult part of the process. Yet, I've discovered that calming down, breathing and focus your mind on different content has been key for me. Meaning, don't focus on the action that made you mad. Instead, focus on something else entirely!
1st Grade Behavior Stop Light – at least I imagine it looking something like this.
Green is Think of a Good Solution.
Once you calm down (even slightly), the mind can get busy thinking of a good solution. Many times when anger occurs, a person takes an action or reaction to the event without thinking. Many issues can escalate when people don't calm down. This means that what was a small issue initially can become a great big hot mess!
To avoid a hot mess, Stop, Calm Down, Think of a Good Solution.
What is a good solution? Many times, the solution could be removing yourself from the situation that made you angry. I have found that during the holidays that most continued anger issues can be avoided by walking away. BUT – to walk away you may still need to Stop and Calm Down.
Dealing with anger and behavioral issues during the holidays can be hard and no fun at all. By considering the method that my daughter learned in 1st grade, you may be able to handle anger issues a little better!