Controlling anger isn’t something tigers have to think about. These are incredibly beautiful creatures. They represent concepts of pure wildness, untamed beauty, strength and power. Tigers have a reputation for being unpredictable and incredibly dangerous. Keeping a tiger as a pet is definitely inadvisable. It is their wildness that we admire most. A tiger doesn’t need to apologise for being a tiger.

Unlike tigers, we sometimes need to be able to control our anger. Anger is sometimes a perfectly natural response to a situation. Like all emotions it is a signal that something needs to change, and there is something new to learn.

However sometimes we experience inappropriate levels of anger. Then is time to consider ways to manage our emotions better.

As human beings we like to think of ourselves as more sophisticated – master of our emotions, civilised, and masters of ourselves. So what happens when we get angry? What happens when we lash out or lose our temper, maybe even go over the top and cause hurt and sadness in others we care about?

Controlling anger is a complex subject. The causes of inappropriate or chronic anger are many, and the solutions vary. At the same time there are a few small changes that we can make to make it easier to deal with angry outbursts in future.

1. What is the emotion?

When you first start feeling angry, if you can, try to notice what exactly you are feeling. Are you angry, or are you hurt? Could it even be sadness or fear?

Part of this is simply about awareness and paying attention to your feelings rather than suppressing them.

Anger is often a powerful mask for other emotions too. This isn’t about repressing the feelings, just understanding better what is going on. And yes, it could still be plain old anger!

2. Choose a better word

Having said that, the word ‘anger’ or ‘angry’ is quite a powerful one. Just saying or thinking that you are ‘angry’ is enough to increase the intensity and build yourself up for an outburst.

Having a better vocabulary for your emotions can give you more flexibility in your behaviour.

Here are a few alternative words on the spectrum of the emotion of anger:

Furious, seething, mad, fuming, enraged, cross, annoyed, irritated, bothered, peeved, exasperated, irked, piqued, displeased, ticked off, bothered, ratty.

Can you see how the choice of word could be important here? If you feel angry, are you fuming, or are you just a bit exasperated? Choosing the most accurate word, or even deliberately choosing a word slightly lower in intensity, can really help keep things in perspective.

3. Is there a pattern?

A favourite word in the anger management world is ‘trigger’. And yes, there can be specific things that set you off. Often specific situations may remind you of situations in the past where you felt angry, and ‘trigger’ a similar emotional response.

I am a little cautious about the language of ‘triggering’, because I think some people see a ‘trigger’ as an excuse to be angry. In that sense, being aware of a trigger may actually make you more likely to have an outburst. If there are set things that tend to make you see red, then maybe ask yourself what it is about that experience that makes you feel angry?

The trigger is an example of something more subtle that is going on. Ask yourself ‘why’ the trigger makes you angry and you uncover a belief about yourself or the world. Beliefs that constantly trigger excessive negative emotion are probably not serving us, and a belief can be changed.

Look for patterns in your behaviour. There may be practical things that you can pay attention to for controlling anger more effectively. It may be that you are worse when you are tired. Alcohol may tend to make you more negative and emotional. It could even be low blood sugar.

4. Don’t vent

There is a school of thought that expressing anger gets the emotion out and makes you feel better.

There may be an element of truth in this over a short period, but on the whole ranting about how angry something makes you is probably going to make you hold on to it more.

I am involved in facebook groups where anger is a theme, and many people vent on that group. Those who do so tend to remain in the group and continue to vent. It doesn’t seem to do them a lot of good and it certainly doesn’t benefit those reading it.

I strongly recommend that if you are on a Facebook group where people express their anger, you consider coming off it and find something more positive to help you.

5. Learn more

There is always more that we can learn about ourselves. When ever you find yourself lashing out, or getting unreasonably angry, learn from it. As I am fond of saying, there is no failure, only feedback. Every experience is a learning experience.

Sit down and write down what happened. Start from the point where you felt fine and tell the story of what happened. As I said, this is not about venting, it is about analysing the experience. This is where patterns may come to the fore. It is where you can more accurately describe the level and nature of the emotion you were feeling.

The other side of learning more is to find out more about controlling anger. Watch videos, read books and articles. Understanding what is going on is a big step towards overcoming the issue itself.

I doubt tigers are truly erratic. The reason tigers seem unpredictable in their behaviour is more likely to be a lack of our understanding of what makes them what they are.

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three men - see no evil hear no evil speak no evil

The murder of Sarah Everard, is still a raw and painful memory as I write this. Rightfully, the subject of women’s safety and male behaviour is an incredibly touchy one. I’ve joined in a few discussions on social media and quickly seen how emotive people naturally are on this subject. I know it might be safer to keep my head below the parapet, but one woman in just such a group pointed out that it is men who need to sort the problem out. So keeping quiet is not really an option.

At the same time, I’m not going to be able to change the world in a blog. This blog is aimed directly at men only. I would like to suggest a few small shifts of thinking and attitude that, if every man were to make them, might help improve the situation.

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I have published this interview on International Women’s Day 2021 because it has particular relevance to the theme of the event, which is #choosetochallenge.

In our interview, Sian Edwards talks about the lack of women at the highest level of orchestral conducting and why that may be. She also tells of the work she and others are doing to redress the balance.

In addition, Sian tells us how she achieved her own success and talks about her passions and pet projects, as well as talking about how to conduct an orchestra in a pandemic.

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Man in a supermarket

Shopping in a supermarket is one of those apparently simple things that can take the most energy and cause us the most stress. Life is full of big problems, and sometimes part of solving those is to make a bit more space for them by making the small problems easier.

Having to sometimes shop for multiple people has caused me to try to hack the process. I can’t say I love shopping, so there is an imperative for me to get the job done as efficiently and thoroughly as possible in one go.

That principle conveniently co-incides with the latest government advice too, so I thought I’d share of my tips for an efficient shop.

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In this video I interview Professor Alyssa Westring, Vincent de Paul Associate Professor of Management and Entrpeneurship at DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business. We talk about how to create more successful lives as parents.

Juggling work, home, well-being and community life can make life incredibly challenging – even more so during Covid-19. Alyssa’s book ‘Parents Who Lead’ gives a practical framework for creating greater synergy within our lives.  She talks about her focus on Values and the Four-Way view used in her work with families and she explains her research into the impact of Coronavirus.

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In this video interview, I talk to actress, performance coach and author, Sarah Thurstan. We discuss story-telling, authenticity and disclosure as the keys to effective presentation. Sarah shares a range of techniques and approaches to speaking out, whether on a platform, via video or within meetings. We also explore some of the changes that are being brought about by the current pandemic.

Book - Personal Presence, By Sarah Thurstan

Sarah Thurstan is author of ‘Personal Presence – How Speakers Authentically Engage”, published by Novaro Publishing.

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Arnie Wilson, Vivianne Naeslund, and HestonBlumenthal
Arnie Wilson with wife Vivianne Naeslund and Heston Blumenthal

Guest post by Arnie Wilson, Ski, Travel & showbiz writer,editor and broadcaster. Guinness World Record Holder.

Today I continue my occasional series of guest blogs from successful people in all walks of life. In this piece Arnie Wilson tells the story of how he got to interview thousands of celebrities, write for the Financial Times and break a Guinness World Record skiing.

I referred to Arnie as a maverick, and he was somewhat surprised, but I think he embodies the kind of person who is resourceful and avoids the need to fit into one box.

The lessons? You don’t have to have a plan. Have a good mentor. Seize the opportunities because you never know where they might lead.

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Man about to set out on his heros journey

Guest post by Ewan Mochrie, author of ‘It’s Time’.

In 1949 Joseph Campbell published The Hero with a Thousand Faces. By doing so Campbell brought into sharper focus the underlying structure of myths and storytelling. This structure is known as the Hero’s Journey. It is an innate human archetype; we instinctively recognise and utilise this pattern, despite having little or no conscious awareness of it. When you read a good novel or watch a good play or film you unconsciously identify the pattern and match the events you are observing to this structure. One of the reasons that you might think a film or novel isn’t good is that the author hasn’t followed the ‘right’ structure. More than this though the Hero’s Journey is playing out in your own life too.

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Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant

I grew up with Hugh Grant. Not literally of course. To be fair he only really came to my attention in my early twenties, as Clive in the Film ‘Maurice‘. His role in the E.M. Forster classic was very different from his roles in most films. The film was ahead of it’s time and I remember finding it quite challenging when I first saw it.

These days if you think about Hugh Grant, you are far more likely to think of him in his blockbusting comedy successes such as ‘About a Boy’, ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, ‘Notting Hill’, ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ and, well, ‘Love Actually’, actually. I don’t know how Hugh Grant feels about that, but I’m fine with it. I love, Love Actually, actually.

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woman with a question mark instead of face

Self-esteem is defined on Wikipedia as ‘an individual’s subjective evaluation of their own worth’. Valuing yourself, knowing your core identity and believing in who you are is a key issue that underpins many problems in life. I have written on this subject before.

There are many ways in which we can work on our self-esteem. There are habits we can cultivate. We can change our self-talk – the way we tend to talk about ourselves to others and in our own minds. There are journaling exercises, and many Neurolinguistic Programming inventions. We can see a hypnotherapist or a Timeline Therapist and we can get some coaching.

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