Wouldn’t it be great if anger management were a required module in public school and in the workplace, as part of a course or seminar about how to be a digital citizen? There’s an obvious need for it, as evidenced by the daily outbursts on social networking sites, forums and blogs.
The Mayo Clinic defines anger management as “a process of learning to recognize signs that you’re becoming angry, and taking action to calm down and deal with the situation in a positive way. Anger management doesn’t try to keep you from feeling anger or holding it in. Anger is a healthy, normal emotion when you know how to express it appropriately [emphasis added]. Anger management is about learning how to do this.”
Managing anger is a learning process that continuous throughout life, with some people in greater control of themselves and their emotions – thus making wiser and more mature decisions – and others struggling despite having gone through treatment.
So what are some practical tips for managing your anger or frustration online and not letting it get the better of you? CiviliNation asked a random group of people to share what works for them. Here are the answers, in their own words.
- I take deep breaths and pray. Then I respond rather than react.
- Stay offline when drunk. And, even if you’re not drunk, save your comment as an email, and, see if you feel the same way 24 hours later.
- It takes a while to recognize when you’ve been *activated* but once you know that feeling, wait til you don’t feel it anymore before responding.
- Do not add the e-mail address until you’ve finished writing the email. And if you have “that feeling,” don’t send the e-mail until you’ve walked away and come back.
- Knowing that whatever I say online will forever be there is usually sufficient to keep me in check. I may state stuff strongly but I don’t bash people (intentionally–I’ve been known to piss people off when blogging…)
- Stop caring. That’s what I’ve done. The best part, especially in a professional setting, when somebody sends you a ridiculous note that they had to know would provoke you, prior to sending, is to just reply with “Sure” or some permutation o…f the one-word answer. Nothing says “I’m fucking pissed” then one word. I do this all the time, because the result is you never gave the person what they wanted (you losing your shit to justify their shit). It eventually eats away at them, thus a forced back down without you having to do another thing. The silent treatment is the best strategy. Then on those special days when I’m still enraged I play [a special song] at such uncontrollable volumes, tap my inner angst ridden teen from the George Bush Rd1 Era, and just unload all of the crap inside of me. 🙂
- I simply assume that most people are stupid – then rather than get angry, I feel sorry for them 🙂 If that doesn’t work, I crank up Styx’s “Mr. Roboto” on my headphones…
- I play ‘Ms Interwebz” On Women Grow Business. A column on webiquette. I say, step back and write, and then wait a few to see if you still have the same thing to say. Not easy but always a great strategy.
I let myself feel angry. It’s okay to feel angry. If I need to, I call a trusted friend and rant a bit. That usually calms me down, or helps me rediscover the rational side (pass the react place). Then I free flow write what I want. I read it through and think, “Would I respect myself if I sent this out?” “What do I want to happen, what do you I want to come from this interaction and response? can I achieve that? What can I control, what can’t I?” And then, then I act. I either refine my words, send out what I have, or toss it in the trash and move on.
- I would say what’s even tougher is when your anger is justified because someone has crossed a boundary. In my life, the toughest thing to do is to set or reaffirm boundaries- because those things can make you emotional, but it would be more wrong to let people walk all over you. Speaking fairly and effectively without letting anger control you at those times – strikes me as kinda like surfing, though I am not a surfer.
- Lots of private channels to steam off before pulling anything public. I like being above the fray- publicly anyway.
- Anytime you put yourself out there publicly you open yourself up to criticism. Everyone likes to be a critic and it’s so darn easy to do online. Two pieces of advice. 1. Let go and let things roll off your back because people are naturally opinionated. 2. When u get riled up – hey it happens – talk it out with friend first to blow off steam and get some perspective first. In other words don’t be a hot head.