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Cooling Stress Tips: How To Cope With Your Inner Rage

By Judi Light Hopson Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Judi Light Hopson, author of the stress management book, "Cooling Stress Tips" shares her best advice on how to dial it down in these difficult times.

Tribune

Are you upset over a lover who betrayed you? Furious about someone who lied about you to co-workers? Angry about money you got cheated out of in a business deal?

Most of us know the feeling of rage. It's the result of having our dignity dismantled. It's the anger and hurt pressing on us that we know we didn't deserve.

There are all kinds of ways to deal with rage. We push it down. We cope. We relax a little. But, the problem is, it's hard to keep it from coming back.

"Watching the news can trigger my lifelong rage," says a mother we'll call Donna. "I grew up in a mixed racial family, and I get so mad thinking, 'Why can't we all get along?! Why can't we respect each other?!'"

Donna was adopted by a couple from India when she was five. The couple, who were very wealthy in India, moved to the U.S. to open businesses and build a large family through adoption.

"People voiced racial slurs to my siblings and me," Donna explains. "But, they hated us more because we had more money than most people."

The good news about rage is this: We each have the power to manage our rage. We can decide exactly how we'll control our anger.

These ideas will offer tools for empowerment:

-You can act out your rage in fantasy. This will diffuse a lot of the anger for good. For example, pretend you're in a room with your ex-husband's mistress. Rant and rave at her until you fully speak your mind, however ugly it gets. Or, write her a letter that you do not mail.

-Don't talk about your anger on a daily basis. Psychologists say that discussing a horrible event frequently will give it too much power. Learn to turn the bad thoughts off.

-Forgive the perpetrator. This doesn't mean what this person did was OK. It means you're freeing them to move out of your life. They will occupy no emotional space in your brain. Remember: you can always call a lawyer if they try to hurt you again.

"If you dwell on those who hurt you too much, they might as well live in your house," says a psychologist we'll call Raymond. Raymond was once physically injured in a protest movement many years ago. He reports that some who opposed him back then have since apologized.

"Remember that rage is caused by ignorant people or circumstances affected by ignorance," says Raymond. "Knowledge is the only power that can open the light. For example, that man who stole your wife will find out soon enough that he is not living in paradise. That person who lied about you will eventually be found out. The truth is always revealed at some point."

The antidote for rage is to believe that you can channel good toward mankind. Don't let anyone contaminate you with their poison for too long. Vow to become the best individual you can become. There is no revenge stronger or more beautiful than that.

"I work as a prison counselor," says a psychologist we'll call Bradley. "Reaching into the rage, pain and bad luck of these individuals is something I love to do. I'm on a rescue mission every day.

"I despise that pain, abuse, neglect and poverty stole who they are. But, the worse their backgrounds, the more I love sitting down with these individuals. The human heart is the only weapon, tool, or instrument that can overcome these obstacles." ___ (Judi Light Hopson is author of the stress management book, "Cooling Stress Tips." She is also executive director of USA Wellness Cafe at www.usawellnesscafe.org) ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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