Getting the Bull back in the Pen… or better yet, send him out to pasture.

During his monthly seminar, a wise man and ever wiser teacher told those of us in the audience a very important statement. The statement had to do with how and when to respond to a perceived hurt. He recommended very strongly that we need to ask ourselves three questions, BEFORE we respond in any way, to the comment or act that hurt us.  I am paraphrasing his statement below, and adding the action of “doing” to his comment, as well as “saying”. The three adapted questions are:

  1. Does something need to be said or done?

My thought: Is a response needed at all? Would it be better to just “let it go” or as someone once said, ”Turn the other cheek.” Would discretion truly be the better part of valor right now, given the situation.

  1. Does something need to be said or done now?

My thought: Should someone respond in some fashion right now, or would it be better to wait for cooler heads to prevail, in the hope of resolving the situation, rather than waving a red flag to the Bull and escalating the situation.

  1. Does something need to be said or done now by me?

My thought: Would it be better to let someone else step in and handle the situation? Perhaps a neutral third party would be better able to deescalate the incident.  It takes a very strong person to walk away from a potential confrontation. Anyone can explode in response or throw the second punch (metaphorically speaking). That takes no strength of will at all and rarely solves anything.

That being said, here are some great tips to help you turn the bull out to pasture and let him rest and smell the flowers, rather than waving the red cape at him for no good reason other than wanting to  be  “right”.

angry bull

Anger management: 10 tips to tame your temper from the mayo Clinic

Keeping your temper in check can be challenging. Use simple anger management tips — from taking a timeout to using “I” statements — to stay in control.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Do you fume when someone cuts you off in traffic? Does your blood pressure rocket when your child refuses to cooperate? Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion — but it’s important to deal with it in a positive way. Uncontrolled anger can take a toll on both your health and your relationships.

Ready to get your anger under control? Start by considering these 10 anger management tips.

  1. Think before you speak

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.

  1. Once you’re calm, express your anger

As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but non-confrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.

  1. Get some exercise

Physical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.

  1. Take a timeout

Timeouts aren’t just for kids. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful. A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what’s ahead without getting irritated or angry.

  1. Identify possible solutions

Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child’s messy room drive you crazy? Close the door. Is your partner late for dinner every night? Schedule meals later in the evening — or agree to eat on your own a few times a week. Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything and might only make it worse.

6. Stick with ‘I’ statements

To avoid criticizing or placing blame — which might only increase tension — use “I” statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, “I’m upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes,” instead of, “You never do any housework.”

7. Don’t hold a grudge

Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want at all times.

8. Use humor to release tension

Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Use humor to help you face what’s making you angry and, possibly, any unrealistic expectations you have for how things should go. Avoid sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.

9. Practice relaxation skills

When your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as, “Take it easy.” You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.

10. Know when to seek help

Learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Consider seeking help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, getting the best of you, causing you to do things you regret by hurting those around you.


Thanks for reading this and Thank you to the Mayo Clinic for the great tips.

If you or someone you love has a problem with anger, or anger is beginning to get the best of you, find someone to talk to and get professional help before a downward spiral begins..

If you live in the Tidewater area, give me a call. I’d be glad to speak with you.


Next : some reasons why people seem to over react in surprising ways.



Anger: Grabbing the Bull by the Horns

We have all allowed ourselves to become angry at one time or another. Anyone who feels they have never gotten angry needs to look at themselves long and hard! It is an emotion than can serve us well, when managed properly. Why do we feel the emotion of anger and what makes us exhibit it to others in the ways that we do?

Most of the ways we display anger are learned, culturally through the environment we have been surrounded.  At times in our life, we may have not had much control over our environment. One very important thing I want to say right up front is this:

There is nothing wrong with getting angry! Let me repeat that. “THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH GETTING ANGRY.” It is almost always the WAY in which we display our anger that’s causes an issue for ourselves or others. I will get back to that in a minute.

Anger is NOT a primary emotion, but a SECONDARY emotion. It usually bubbles up in us when we are afraid. Fear is a PRIMARY emotion. “FEAR”; that other four letter word…. The one few people want to admit having, especially we males.   When we are afraid or frightened, surprised by something that has scared us, or embarrassed us, all the flavors of fear well up in us and instead of admitting we were scared, we mask it by getting angry. It is an emotion we all understand, and although we don’t want to admit it; anger is an emotion more readily accepted in society than is fear.

We think of solders in combat who have exhibited great courage and bravery in saving the lives of friends and others in harms’ way. While what they did may have indeed saved lives and was a brave act, most likely the situation they found themselves in was frightening. The fear turned to anger at the situation, and they did whatever they could to stop the situation, to stop the fear… not to be thought of as brave. The fear, turned into anger, providing the fuel they needed to find a way to end the fear.

Let’s get back to how we display anger. Let me also add that fear is not the only primary emotion that can turn to anger, embarrassment works just as well.  I’m going to use a far-fetched example to make my point.

Let’s say a friend and I meet for lunch and I am wearing my favorite shirt. My friend greets me and as we say hi, I notice he is staring at my shirt. When I ask him if something is wrong, he responds,”Richard, I can’t believe you wore that silly looking shirt out in public. It is the dumbest looking shirt I have even seen in my life, especially on a grown man.”

Well needless to say, when I heard my friends’ comments about my wonderful, beautiful shirt a shirt that I picked out to wear especially for this important occasion, I was crushed. I was surprised and hurt to the point of being offended as well as embarrassed.

Before I responded to his comments, I processed his words and my feelings regarding them, all in the blink of an eye and I decided to respond. I decided to respond through the filter of anger. One reason I may have gotten angry is that my friends comment, brought me all the way back to being six years old, when I dressed to go out to play and my father saw my shirt.  He yelled and threatened me with being grounded if I did not go back to my room and change my shirt. He was not going to let me go outside in a shirt he thought would bring embarrassment to the family. (Luckily, that never really happened.) My friend’s comment stirred up a sad, scary, and embarrassing memory, which brought up the feeling of fear, which I tried to mask with anger.

To respond to any situation with anger is a choice. To respond in a specific way because we are angry is yet another choice.  In the shirt scenario, I could just look at my friend and shrugged his comment off.  I could think of it as his way of making a joke, or him having a bad day. However if my feelings of anger go unchecked and I decide to act in anger, all in a few nano-seconds, the results could go sour very quickly. I could get up and leave, make a disgusted face, make a comment about how much weight he has gained or how his hair is thinning or pour my ice tea in his lap or over his head.

Or,  I could have wondered to myself,”What is it about what he just said, that hit me in such a way that I decided to get angry about it as a result? I then have to decide which would be the most productive way to respond, if at all, all in a blink of an eye.

Anger is a useful emotion, if handled maturely and with everyone’s best interest at heart. It can be a signal to us that we need to look at something with-in ourselves that may need further work. It may be a sign to us, if anger continues to be the first emotion we seem to act on, that we need to change our view of the world. We can do this by looking at or environment with new eyes or change it to a more peaceful one that is more congruent to our values, beliefs and serves our highest good rather than our ego.

We will discuss some tips for better exhibiting our feelings when angry at another time. Until then… Be safe and be well!