Avoid catching the “anger influenza” by upping your psychological immunity

Bill’s Tip for August: Beat the Heat

92Summer is in full swing: We are out-and-about, going places, doing things, “mixing it up” with friends, family and absolute strangers.

Maintaining a cooperative spirit while juggling vocations and vacations can be challenging. Navigating summer’s crowded sidewalks without stepping on toes can be as nuanced as getting a tan while avoiding the burn….

Getting Hot is like Catching Cold

Under these warm conditions, it’s easy to get-hot-under-the-collar because Anger is a contagious condition. Just as someone will sneeze in an attempt to get rid of a common cold, an irritated person will try to shake off what’s bothering him or her through words and actions. This may temporarily relieve the sufferer because they’ve “said their piece” or “gotten it out of their system.”

Unfortunately, these actions often have damaging consequences. Anger, like influenza, is floating in the air and is just as infectious. Those susceptible can “catch” a person’s rage and reflect it back or pass it onto others. A group, a crowd, even a community can quickly and epidemically go viral due to the furious disposition of just one person.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Fortunately, with a little awareness and resolve, we can avoid swallowing anger’s bitter pill and become immune to the stress around us. Here are some healthy tips to help keep you emotionally resilient this summer:

  • Self-care: Just as we become more susceptible to sickness when we haven’t gotten proper sleep, exercise and nutrition, we also become anger-prone when we neglect ourselves emotionally. Take a few moments of alone time each day to keep your psychological immunity in tip-top shape. Scheduling a personally enriching activity can re-balance you -especially during this busy season.
  • Compassion: People behaving badly are rarely “bad people.” Rather, they are good people thrown off-center by having taken something personally (and we all are guilty of this from time to time). Seeing the bigger picture can help keep us levelheaded when someone cuts us off, yells at us or flips us off.
  • Collaboration: Cooperative involvement can be the difference between a discussion and an argument. Considering another person’s opinion (even if it vastly differs from your own) does not mean you agree with his or her stance. However, actively listening to your counterpart (instead of engaging him or her in a competitive debate) will yield an entirely different outcome. Needing to be right makes others feel wronged: People become enraged when they feel non-considered and/or under-valued. Try teaming up and exchanging ideas when communicating, instead.

This August, let’s beat the heat-of-the-moment and protect ourselves from the ravages of anger so that we can all have some fun in the glorious sun -together.

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