Beat the Heat: Effective Tips for Avoiding Anger

Summer is in full swing: We are out-and-about, going places. We are doing things and “mixing it up” with friends, family, and absolute strangers. Maintaining cooperative spirits while juggling vocations and vacations can be challenging. Navigating summer’s crowded sidewalks without stepping on toes is tough: Avoiding anger and its aftermath can be as nuanced as getting a tan while avoiding the burn.

Anger: 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 we sneeze in attempts to rid ourselves of common colds, irritated people will try to shake-off what’s bothering them through words and actions: This may temporarily relieve the sufferers because they’ve “said their piece” or “gotten it out of their systems.”

“He who cannot put his thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of dispute.”
― Friedrich NietzscheHuman, All Too Human

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

An Ounce of Anger 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 stresses around us. Here are three healthy shots of resilience to help keep you happier this summer:

  1. 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 a work/life balance. Each day schedule a few moments of alone time and/or an enriching activity to keep your psychological immunity in tip-top shape.
  2. 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 is inconsiderate, yells at us, or even flips us off.
  3. Collaboration: The willingness to compromise 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 in the spirit of collaboration when communicating, instead.

This Summer, 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 – without getting burned.