Dharma explained to me that anger is quickly becoming our go-to response. We get upset by the slightest comment made by anyone...even people we don't know, like those we may see on TV talk shows. When we respond quickly to things that trouble us, we usually respond in anger. Sometimes, it's best just to wait; not indefinitely, but for a few moments at least. The longer you can hold your temper the better response will be THINK before you speak and ask yourself these questions.
T -Is it truthful? Is what I'm about to say the truth about how I feel? Not just in the heat of the moment, but is it what I really feel or believe.
H - Is it helpful, or will saying it cause harm to the other person?
I - Is it inspirational? Does build someone up or tear them down?
N -Is it necessary to say? If it's not necessary to say, then why am I saying it? And, finally
K - Is it kind? If it isn't, then it probably shouldn't be said.
I was beginning to understand better why it's so important not to rush to judgment and not to speak when we're "hot under the collar."
But this wasn't the end of my lesson. According to Dharma, there a few things we should never do when we're angry. I know I've done most of them, but I will try and refrain from now on. They are:
1. Never sleep on it. While it's good to hold your temper for a little while, it's never good to "sleep on it." Anger and resentment can build. "Going to sleep may reinforce or 'preserve' negative emotions, suggests a study in the Journal of Neuroscience, which found that sleep enhances memories, particularly emotional ones."
2. You shouldn't drive. Operating a motor vehicle can be dangerous anytime, but it's especially problematic when we're angry. "When you’re angry, you’re primed for attack, so it’s not a good time to jump in a vehicle,” says David Narang, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist in Santa Monica, California." If you must drive when you're angry, open your eyes wide and purposefully look all around to help avoid tunnel vision.
3. You shouldn't vent. Getting anger off your chest sounds like a good idea, but it may actually make matters worse. In fact, people who simply spent five minutes reading another person’s online rants became angrier and less happy in a study published in the journal.
4. You shouldn't eat. When we're angry, we tend to make unhealthy food choices. When someone's angry, they don't reach for broccoli!
5. Don't post your "beef" on Facebook, Twitter or other social media. Posting something publicly on social media means it's out there for the world to see. It makes it difficult to take back when everybody knows about it. And don't sit down to write emails, either. Your anger will affect the tone and message you send out.
6. Don't ignore your blood pressure. "The risk of a heart attack and stroke increases in the two hours following angry outbursts, especially among former heart attack patients, according to a study from the European Heart Journal. Heart attack risk increased nearly five times and stroke risk rose by three times.“
By the time my lesson was finished, I'd calmed down quite a bit. I gave Dharma a hug and apologized for yelling at him. He forgave me, as he always does. "Irwin, my boy, you try hard and you're a good student. We all make mistakes and it's easy to let our anger get the better of us. I hope you'll THINK next time before you speak." "I will, Sir. I promise." "Good. I know you will, " he said warmly. And with that, Dharma hopped away until next week.
I hope my lesson today will be of benefit to you. So, until tomorrow, I wish you