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Don’t blow your top

June 13, 2012

Here’s a great idea…

In his book, Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt challenges the old idea that anger is good for us. He observes that “letting off steam makes people angrier, not calmer.” (p. 148)

In other words…

When people tell you to get your feelings out or they’ll blow up, don’t believe them. Many irritations can be pushed into the background and will evaporate over time. In contrast, when we vent our emotions, they often grow to monstrous proportions. We turn a minor irritation into a world war. For example, when we’re tired we often feel compelled to spout some complaint which then grows and grows as we talk about it. If, instead, we set aside the irritation and wait until we’re peaceful enough to make a reasonable request, we’re more likely to have a productive discussion.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…

The next time you feel irritated, don’t dwell on it. Don’t pile on reasons to be mad. Set it aside. Find something more pleasant to think about. By letting go of negative emotions you will find it much easier to solve problems, forgive, and reconcile.

To find out more…

about personal well-being, check out The Personal Journey or Managing Stress programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You might also read Happiness Hypothesis.

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