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Don't Worry, Be Happy

Don't Worry, Be Happy: How to Cope with Life

As we all know, some people worry too much.  Rather than solving a problem, too much worry becomes the problem.  Not only does excessive worry create much personal suffering, but it also affects the people around the worrier.  I wonder if a lot of our worrying in life is like this:  constant, spontaneous and effortless focus that gets dislodged by distracting external events or our own change of perspective.  Now, I think that anyone who does not worry is just living on a different planet; yet, as we know, just worrying about the weather does not make it rain.

9 Tips for Coping with Life, from a Psychologist

After 31 years of working in the field of psychology, I know a few things make a difference in coping with life.

  1. Pay Attention to the Important Things, More than the Urgent.  Sometimes the only way to get the important done is to stick it between the urgent things that drive our days. Worry is often related to disorganization.  Make a list of things to do each day and cross off tasks once they are completed.  Leave early enough to make appointments on time.  Put your keys in the same place every time you come home.  Keep your house straightened up.  When things are under control, there is less to worry about.
  2. Take Action on What You Want To Do And Figure Your Results As A “Prototype”. A handy friend of mine told me how he approaches building things.  He considers the first version as his working model.  Although I have two left hands with tools, I always thought I had to get it right the first time.  My combination of ridiculously high expectations and little tolerance for error was a deeply frustrating workshop ethic to follow.
  3. If You Do Not Know How To Do it, Ask For Help.  Most of us just need a little guidance or a resource with whom to check out our experience.  We all need support and positive feedback from time to time.  Other people may have solutions to problems that we haven’t thought about.  For reassurance, find people who know how to give it.  Many of us spend a lifetime looking in all the wrong places for approval.
  4. Try To Do The Right Thing.  Maintain your sense of integrity whenever you do something.  Tell the truth. Obey the law.  Keep to your promises.  Let your conscience be your guide.  Granted, we might tell an occasional lie or break a promise, and this is fairly common – but it can also set the stage for worry.  We may think sometimes that we can get ahead in the world the easy way – but the price we pay could be excessive worry, among other penalties.
  5. Minimize Catastrophic Thinking. Some people find it difficult to keep perspective when faced with even a minor stressor.  Not every mole means cancer and not every bill is going to lead to bankruptcy.  Test out the reality of these situations by talking them over with a trust friend.
  6. Limit Your Exposure to the News. Although there is value in keeping up with the latest news, understand that the media focus on bad news since this tends to sell best.  We seldom hear about the good news in the world on TV or newspapers.  Constant exposure to negative events increases our tendency to worry.  Instead, look for what is good in life.
  7. Sleep, Eat Properly, Exercise.  Lack of sleep and a bad diet can make us irritable, distracted, and anxious – all condition which set the stage for worry.  (Try to be mindful of the problem of overeating as a way of making our worries disappear.)  Exercise helps us dissipate the anxiety that often accompanies worry.
  8. Avoid Substance Abuse.  Drugs and alcohol may give the illusion of comfort for the time being, but using them has negative long-term consequences.  They increase depression, cloud judgment and may give you something to really worry about later.
  9. Learn How to Let Go of Worries. This is a skill that might require some practice and each of us will have our way of doing it.  Some people do this by allowing themselves perhaps half an hour a day of worry time – and at the end of the allotted time period, they will be free of worrying until the next day.  Some people give up their worries by writing them down on a piece of paper and then tearing them up.  Some people prefer to hand them over to a higher power.

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardships as the pathway to peace, taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will, that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

As this year continues, on behalf of the psychologists in the practice, I want to thank you for recommending us to others.

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Young Couple Sitting on Love Seat

Communication Dead Zone

The Communication Dead Zone: What to Do When Your Partner Refuses to Talk

I don’t want to talk about it.”  Few sentences conjure up as much feeling for the listener as hearing this refusal to talk.  Such a commitment to silence often dooms a relationship, whether between a husband and wife, or child and parent.  The listener feels so very frustrated in not knowing what to do next.

4 Tips to Break a Communication Deadlock

The following are several suggestions to change this communication deadlock.

1. The listener needs to drop the desire to pursue the refused topic.

No jackhammer or psychological technique will open up someone committed to silence on a particular area. If the listener realizes the topic itself is far less important than the reasons for not talking, it is easier to move away from a concentration on whatever the “it” is.

2. It is logical and important to focus on the reasons for not wanting to talk. 

The listener is advised not to badger the other, but rather to offer several possibilities as a way of learning what is stiffing communication. It is worth exploring whether there is a conviction on the silent one’s part that talking about it just won’t do any good. There are many people who really believe that talk is unnecessary because actions speak louder than words. This confusing logic suggests talking is not a behavior.  More importantly, though, how has the conviction that conversation is futile been reached?  Usually there are some specific experiences that have driven this point home and talking about those experiences may help resolve and offer a different perspective to the present decision to remain silent. Others believe that silence is golden if the alternative is to hurt someone’s feelings. It is up to the listener to determine if he or she would rather be ignorant and blissful or learn some painful bad news.  Ordinarily knowing what is wrong is easier to deal with than being left in the dark. Another possibility is that the refusal to talk is in reality a statement of anger.  If this is the case, then asking the speaker to elaborate on his resentment becomes the pertinent topic.  A final possibility is that the speaker is unclear and unsure of what exactly his or her reasons are to avoid discussions.  The listener can reassure the other that he or she is willing to be tolerant of the fuzziness or the lack of eloquence in the spoken word because the message itself is worth working on no matter how plainly and/or foggily put.

3. The listener can promote communication, even with this deadlock, by talking about his/her reaction to this impasse. 

It is natural that the first response to being closed out is an angry one, but it becomes important to go beyond that to elaborate on the sense of hurt that this isolation brings.  There is nothing as persuasive to opening up as the experience of seeing another person sincerely reveal himself or herself.

4. The listener concluding this interaction with a willingness to listen at another time, at least puts in the other's mind the chance that a time for talking is possible in the future. 

Sometimes fatigue or stress can make it difficult to open up.

In summary, gentle focus on “I don’t want to talk about it,” remains important.

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Happiness, Addictions, and Letting Go

Happiness, Addiction, and Letting Go

I hope this time of year finds you and your family happy. I want to share some thoughts on this topic of happiness and also to inform you of developments in the office since our last blog.

One happy note since then, Dr. Kevin Cubala has joined our practice with a particular specialty with children and adolescents. He also sees adults and has worked with a geriatric population. He has an added clinical focus as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. I have long thought that much of the unrecognized distress in individuals and families is how to deal with addictions in ways that promote early focus on problem solving.

Can We Predict Our Own Future Happiness?

Regarding the area of happiness, there is a psychological concept called Affective Forecasting. The main idea behind this research by Dan Gilbert (Harvard) and Tim Wilson (University of Virginia) is that we have a bias when we predict future affect states in relation to positive or negative events. As it turns out, we are terrible at predicting how we will feel in the future. Our feelings in the present blind us to how we will make decisions in the future when we might be feeling differently, e.g., will that new car make you happy for as long as you imagine, will a job failure be as crushing as you assume, will the death in your family leave you bereft for year upon year, forever and ever?

I want to share with you a personal story. More than a few years ago, my wife and I drove our 18-year-old son off to college.  Michael had not said much about his upcoming college adventure to either of us. I suppose one might expect a psychologist’s son to be a little more chatty, but he takes after the dairy farmer side of my family: work hard, observe, and let your actions speak for you. So, figuring that no news is, of course, trustworthy, I was prepared to say good-bye to Michael and deal with my own grief of letting go. This adult strategy crashed completely with Michael’s tear constrained voice saying he was scared as we were driving toward the first campus meeting. I felt powerless to protect the one I loved from the fear of leaving home. I tried some fatherly advice that felt hollow. I talked with my wife who was feeling equally distressed, teary, and frustrated at comforting and leaving this man-child. Overall, I was miserable; he was miserable; we were all miserable. My wife wondered if we should not have let him choose a school so far away and was this a terrible mistake? Not a Kodak moment.

Blessedly, the next day we attended several orientation sessions that blunted a chunk of this heartache.  As we prepared to drive home, Michael did not want a long good-bye. He gave us all a hug, told us he loved us, and walked off to his dorm with his younger sister, Elizabeth, walking beside him for their final words. I will never forget this picture of my son walking away from us and towards his future. Shortly, my daughter returned to the van and we all climbed in and cried.

Two weeks later…as you might expect, with the passage of 14 days, my head, my heart, and my son were all at different spots. Michael regularly e-mailed and called us since the college launch. We provided regular advice that he continued to discount as typical parent advice and out of touch. I was glad to see, however, that he was reluctant to spend his own money on entertainment because “…things cost so much.” Was this be the beginning of financial wisdom. . .not quite?

So you can see, Michael was now at a better place and so were we. It is seductive to say the crucial difference is the passage of time, but I think not. Michael’s regular communication from the front made the difference.  Also, once again and not for all time, I learned that both sadness passes and the micromanagement of children, even 18 year olds, is not for the manager or one being managed. Life and separation from my son felt better, not perfect though.

The enduring principle is that happiness or sadness cannot be held onto with a conclusive grip. We falter when it comes to imagining how we will feel about something in the future. It isn’t that we get the big things wrong; but we overestimate the intensity and the duration of our emotional reactions to future events.  Happiness is related to the process of letting go. Bad events prove less intense and more transient than you will predict and good events prove less intense and briefer, as well.

There is wisdom in working on letting go in several areas, including:

  1. The need to control others and nature (I like the latter area, as I have labored long and hard trying to control my lawn and garden).
  2. The need to be right.

Experiment with the notion of letting go and see if practicing release does something positive to your heart.

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Don't We All Want to Belong?

Don't We All Want to Belong?

One of the advantages of adulthood is being able to selectively avoid new situations and, I suppose, that’s a reason, too, why more adults are lonelier than kids.  It sure is tough to make the transition from elementary school to junior high.  Even with old friends by our side, there are the inner jitters of a new place.  “Where do I go?” “What if I end up in the wrong class?” and then what happens if we meet some kid who just does not like our looks, our name, or the color of our backpack?  Don’t we all want to belong?

Junior high presents the firsthand conscious experience of fitting in or not.  Look back on your own experience and recall what memories are stirred up in that block of grades from sixth to eighth. I think of sitting next to Bill and laughing at our private jokes during class.  I remember, too, getting tackled on the playground by an eighth grader for the “fun” of it.  The guy who wrote the screenplay for the old movie, My Bodyguard, knew something about the difficulty of belonging in a new school.

So how do we help those whom we love punch through the necessary new events in life?  The simplest wisdom is that it will get better if you work at it.  When “get better” arrives is, of course, not guaranteed for this year.  Nonetheless, while most John Hughes movies suggest adolescent anguish is wrapped up in about two hours, helping kids see that sustained efforts at friendliness can pay off in the long run and in life, and is a durable lesson worth learning. Allowing a child to sort through options and experimenting with alternatives promotes the kind of growth school is about.  My son informed me shortly into the start of sixth grade year that a fellow classmate was peeing on him during showers after gym.  Three years of study at Northwestern University never covered that psychological topic.  Fortunately, with parental ballistic responses under firm control, Michael spoke up to the teacher and got the leak plugged.

Outside of school activities, it is important to encourage the interests the child expresses.  Finding a place to shine and a thing to do that is enjoyed for its own pleasure is a goal worth pursuing for the sake of contentment as well as personal achievement.  Having a natural refuge from some of the stresses of transition does much for the spirit.

Finally, we can do a great deal for our children’s hope by telling them that it really does get better as you get older.

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Too Much Instruction is a Dangerous Thing

Here she is, entering eleventh grade, and her father interrogates her weekly, “…so what do you want to major in and whereabouts are you thinking of college?”

We have moved ahead these last years.  She no longer requires a winter temperature of 70 degrees as a college selection criterion.  Her father has reduced his home lecture schedule on the importance of choosing a major by fifth grade and determining promising career paths after the year 2016.  Some progress, at least.

But what is there to tell a son or daughter about the future, based on our own experience?  Is any of that personal, bloody, often boring learning time relevant to the offspring?

Let’s see, what wisdom should I impart in my note in her lunch bag for the first day of college?

First of all, it is okay to admit that higher education is often drier education.  Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien are not retiring to deliver any monologues in the classes you’ll be taking.  There will be a few teachers who touch the soul, but many are on automatic pilot.  So find the professors by the student grapevine that knows what they are doing and like doing it.

Get the classes you need to qualify for what you are generally aiming for.  There is a great debate between education and vocational training, between learning to think and learning a skill.  Both are necessary.  Knowing how to type makes self-expression a whole lot easier.  Using a computer makes writing a lot less laborious.  At a more advanced level, keep checking to be sure you have the courses necessary to qualify for admission to the next level of study or the certificate and/or diploma required for practiced in the field of choice.

There is rarely enough said for steady persistence.  Expect that a few people or committees will decide you don’t have “the right stuff.”  Rejection hurts, but it doesn’t kill.  Learn what you can from the disappointment.  Even though your heart says no, share it with friends and family.  Remember, too, the length of this game is a lifetime and, if you’re going to play, it’s never too late to score.

Look at what works for you.  Find your groove – it may take 25 years.  There needs to be a match between what you do well (talent) and what you love to do (desire).  Once you own that connection, good things will happen.

Finally, take the above and mix it with your own experience.  Use what works and discard the rest.

Well, that is what I would put in the note for my daughter’s first day of college lunch bag; but what would you tell her?  If you drop me a note, tell me your age so I can see if wisdom alters over time.

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How Can You Tell if Someone is Suicidal?

My friend Steve and I talked about him the last time we met for breakfast.  The three of us had been college classmates but Steve and Rich were closer in those years.  A few years after graduating school, Rich shot himself to death.  Neither of us could remember any sign or warning of his despair.  He was there in our lives and then gone.

IS PATH WARM - Warning Signs of Suicide to Watch Out For

“IS PATH WARM?” is a mnemonic device developed by Lanny Berman, Ph.D. (Executive Director, American Association of Suicidology) to identify acute risk factors for suicide.  I share it with you for we all want to be on our toes for those we care about.

I Ideation - directly or indirectly disclosed thinking of ending one’s life.
S Substance Use - misuse of alcohol or drugs.

P Purposeless - finding no meaning or value in living.
A Anxiety - a regular sense of being on edge; sleep problems.
T
Trapped - thinking that there is no other solution.
H
Hopelessness - and it will always be like this.

W Withdrawal - increased isolation from family, friends, and usual activities.
A
Anger - rage at self or others.
R
Recklessness - making risky and dangerous choices.
M
Mood Change - endless despair or a sudden and unexplained release from it.

In the thirty years I have worked as a psychologist, I have gone to court one time to speak with a judge about detaining someone in a hospital because of imminent danger of suicide.  This list captures many of the signs I saw back then.

More information on these suicidal risk factors is available at www.suicidology.org.

On a minor note, I recommend two books to bolster our strength before we get to despair: Endurance by Caroline Alexander and Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand.  These true stories, one of hardship and the other of wartime cruelty, and are breathtaking descriptions of impossible conditions and human triumph.

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Thoughts on Obsessive Thoughts

Thoughts on Obsessive Thoughts: Nothing is as Important as You Think it is, While You're Thinking About It

I still remember their names to this day: classmates of mine from seventh and eighth grade. I envied their athletic prowess and basketball self-confidence playing on the asphalt behind St. Rita Grammar School.  I'll bet I thought about them and their talent nearly every day and probably wished as often I could be just like them.  There have been many times in my life that I have been so caught up as well by an idea (marketing employee assistance programs in 1985) or an event (not getting into DePaul University in fall 1973).  This kind of thinking has often struck me as merely and stubbornly obsessive.  I came across another explanation recently that I find more compelling and freeing.

Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist at Princeton University, describes this cognitive distortion as a Focusing Illusion, namely “Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it.”  I invite you to recall two or three times in your life where you may have been so lasered in with concentration on something and test out whether it still matters to you today with the same importance.

In treating depression and anxiety issues, I have found this kind of sticky preoccupied thinking present.  Using Kahneman’s observation both respects the thinker and dislodges the thought.  I have not found successful ways to argue myself or others out of strongly held viewpoints.  I think intentionally remembering that whatever we obsess about as “true and forever” will be so until we think about something else.

On a minor note, if you have not heard The Moth storytelling radio show on NPR, I’d recommend it.  The show presents true stories told live.  I know when I hear it, it gives me something else to think about.

Till the next line…

David

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Your Guide to a Peaceful Household

Let's face it. Conflicts are inevitable.

Kids have different ideas, different solutions, and different ways to approach problems. Because of this, resolving conflicts peacefully is a key skill that kids need to succeed (1). It’s also one of the 40 Developmental Assets (2). As kids grow up, it’s important that they learn how to resolve conflicts peacefully, without giving in, and how to get along well with others.

Did You Know?

  • The number one way young people resolve conflicts is by fighting (3). Most kids say that if someone hit or pushed them for no reason, they’d hit or push right back (4).
  • Teenage guys are twice as likely as teenage girls to say they would try to hurt someone worse than that person had hurt them (5).
  • Kids who bully others tend to have difficulties in their relationships with parents and friends (6).
  • Younger teens (those in sixth grade) are almost four times as likely as twelfth graders to talk to a teacher or another adult if they’re having trouble resolving a conflict (7).
  • High-school seniors are almost twice as likely as seventh graders to talk to the person they’re in conflict with and try to work out their differences (8).

Conflict resolution skills are gained by experience and practice—so help your child start building these crucial abilities by engaging in peaceful conflict resolution at home. If your child is able to work through problems well at home, she will have an advantage when it comes to conflicts at school and beyond.


References

  1. Peter Benson, All Kids Are Our Kids: What Communities Must Do to Raise Caring and Responsible Children and Adolescents (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006), 55.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Search Institute, Developmental Assets: A Profile of Your Youth, Executive Summary, (Minneapolis: Search Institute, 2005), unpublished report, Appendix A-18.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. ScienceDaily, “Children Who Bully Also Have Problems with Other Relationships,” ScienceDaily, March 26, 2008.
  7. Search Institute, ibid.
  8. Ibid.
Anger

It’s Just Not Fair: Anger and Anger Management

It's Just Not Fair: Anger & Anger Management

Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. Like other emotions, it is accompanied by physiological and biological changes; when you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of your energy hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.

Expressing Anger: Is There a Right Way to Express Anger?

The instinctive, natural way to express anger is to respond aggressively. Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats; it inspires powerful, often aggressive, feelings and behaviors, which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to our survival.

On the other hand, we can't physically lash out at every person or object that irritates or annoys us; laws, social norms, and common sense place limits on how far our anger can take us.

People use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings. The three main approaches are expressing, suppressing, and calming. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive — not aggressive — manner is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others. Being assertive doesn't mean being pushy or demanding; it means being respectful of yourself and others.

Anger can be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behavior. The danger in this type of response is that if it isn't allowed outward expression, your anger can turn inward—on yourself. Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression.

Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments haven't learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren't likely to have many successful relationships.

The Goals of Anger Management

The goal of anger management is to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. You can't get rid of, or avoid the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reactions.

Are You Too Angry?

There are psychological tests that measure the intensity of angry feelings, how prone to anger you are, and how well you handle it. But chances are good that if you do have a problem with anger, you already know it. If you find yourself acting in ways that seem out of control and frightening, you might need help finding better ways to deal with this emotion.

Why Are Some People More Angry Than Others?

Some people really are more "hotheaded" than others are; they get angry more easily and more intensely than the average person does. There are also those who don't show their anger in loud spectacular ways but are chronically irritable and grumpy. Easily angered people don't always curse and throw things; sometimes they withdraw socially, sulk, or get physically ill.

Is It Good To "Let it All Hang Out?"

Psychologists now say that this is a dangerous myth. Some people use this theory as a license to hurt others. Research has found that "letting it rip" with anger actually escalates anger and aggression and does nothing to help you (or the person you're angry with) resolve the situation.  It's best to find out what it is that triggers your anger, and then to develop strategies to keep those triggers from tipping you over the edge.

Strategies To Keep Anger At Bay

Relaxation

Practice the following techniques daily, and learn to use them automatically when you're in a tense situation.

  • Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm; breathing from your chest won't relax you. Picture your breath coming up from your "gut."
  • Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "relax," "take it easy." Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply.
  • Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from either your memory or your imagination.
  • Nonstrenuous, slow yoga-like exercises can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer.

Cognitive Restructuring

Simply put, this means changing the way you think. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colorful terms that reflect their inner thoughts. When you're angry, your thinking can get very exaggerated and overly dramatic. Try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones. For instance, instead of telling yourself, "Oh, it's awful, it's terrible, everything's ruined," tell yourself, "It's frustrating, and it's understandable that I'm upset about it, but it's not the end of the world and getting angry is not going to fix it anyhow."

Problem Solving

Sometimes, our anger and frustration are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives. Not all anger is misplaced, and often it's a healthy, natural response to these difficulties. There is also a cultural belief that every problem has a solution, and it adds to our frustration to find out that this isn't always the case. The best attitude to bring to such a situation, then, is not to focus on finding the solution, but rather on how you handle and face the problem.

Better Communication

Angry people tend to jump to—and act on—conclusions, and some of those conclusions can be very inaccurate. The first thing to do if you're in a heated discussion is slow down and think through your responses. Don't say the first thing that comes into your head, but slow down and think carefully about what you want to say. At the same time, listen carefully to what the other person is saying and take your time before answering.

Using Humor

"Silly humor" can help defuse rage in a number of ways. For one thing, it can help you get a more balanced perspective.

The underlying message of highly angry people is "things oughta go my way!" Angry people tend to feel that they are morally right, that any blocking or changing of their plans is an unbearable indignity and that they should NOT have to suffer this way. Maybe other people do, but not them!

Do not take yourself too seriously. Anger is a serious emotion, but it's often accompanied by ideas that, if examined, can make you laugh.

Changing Your Environment

Sometimes it's our immediate surroundings that give us cause for irritation and fury. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you and make you feel angry at the "trap" you seem to have fallen into and all the people and things that form that trap.

Give yourself a break. Make sure you have some "personal time" scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful. One example is the working mother who has a standing rule that when she comes home from work, for the first 15 minutes "nobody talks to Mom unless the house is on fire." After this brief quiet time, she feels better prepared to handle demands from her kids without blowing up at them.

Some Other Tips for Easing Up on Yourself

Timing: If you and your spouse tend to fight when you discuss things at night—perhaps you're tired, or distracted, or maybe it's just habit—try changing the times when you talk about important matters so these talks don't turn into arguments.

Avoidance: If your child's chaotic room makes you furious every time you walk by it, shut the door. Don't make yourself look at what infuriates you. Don't say, "well, my child should clean up the room so I won't have to be angry!" That's not the point. The point is to keep yourself calm.

Finding alternatives: If your daily commute through traffic leaves you in a state of rage and frustration, give yourself a project—learn or map out a different route, one that's less congested or more scenic. Or find another alternative, such as a bus or commuter train.

Do You Need Anger Management Counseling?

If you feel that your anger is really out of control, if it is having an impact on your relationships and on important parts of your life, you might consider counseling to learn how to handle it better. We can work with you in developing a range of techniques for changing your thinking and your behavior.

Our course of action is not designed to "put you in touch with your feelings and express them"—as that may be precisely what your problem is. With counseling, we say, a highly angry person can move closer to a middle range of anger in about 8 to 10 weeks, depending on the circumstances and the techniques used.

Remember, you can't eliminate anger—and it wouldn't be a good idea if you could. In spite of all your efforts, things will happen that will cause you anger; and sometimes it will be justifiable anger. Life will be filled with frustration, pain, loss, and the unpredictable actions of others. You can't change that; but you can change the way you let such events affect you. Controlling your angry responses can keep them from making you even more unhappy in the long run.

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