Life Health

PROULX: The fight against rage

Anger from Inside Out did not follow Shaun Proulx's steps to chilled out bliss. PIXAR

Anger from Inside Out did not follow Shaun Proulx's steps to chilled out bliss. PIXAR

SHAUN PROULX/ 24 HOURS

"If the ocean can calm itself, so can you. We are both salt water, mixed with air." - Author Nayyirah Waheed

Anger management 101

My Achilles' heel was trouble. It has even murdered a few personal relationships.

My temper combined with the charming gift of spitting poisoned words when I attack can get ugly. And I'm not proud of it. We currently live in a world where fury and rage are out of control. Chemical warfare in Syria. Any Donald Trump tweet. Pot raids. Pipelines being plowed through sacred land. Globalization and the refugee crisis. Girls ending. There's a lot to contend with out there.

Out of all the emotional responses we can use to respond to the various and normal unfoldings of a given day, billions utilize anger as their go-to. Yes, it's understandable but it's also lazy.

Get cut off in traffic? Rage. Text someone about something important and not hear back from them instantly? Blood boil. Learn of Justin Trudeau not honouring his electoral promises? Ready to scream.

Various global studies reveal mad stats:

- 45% of us regularly lost our temper during working hours

- 1 in 20 have fought with a neighbour

- Some airlines report a 60% jump in air rage

- 71% of Internet users acknowledge having felt computer rage

- The blood pressure rose in 53% of consumers the moment they heard the words: "Your call is being held in priority sequence"

- 50% of shoppers fumed when they couldn't find parking

- 62% of people have screamed at their computer

- One in five people say they've ended relationships because of how their partner reacted when angry

- 32% of people felt they have a family member who has trouble controlling their anger.

Anger flows through us as a quick binary response from the brain - which labels things either good or bad - to tell our bodies fast that something bad has or is about to happen to us. When we are insulted, in danger, disregarded, abused, threatened, held back from a goal, embarrassed in front of others, treated unfairly or disappointed, this primal reaction causes even our pupils to dilate so that our eyes can take in more light to see better should combat occur.

Anger can cost you your job, your relationships and the respect of those around you. And if you are angry regularly - so much that you're often flooded with fight-or-flight hormones - serious health consequences like stroke, cancer, heart disease, lowered immune system response, ulcers or high blood pressure can manifest. But the good news is that anger can also be a positive emotion when we learn to express it properly. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: "If I wish to compose or write or pray or preach well, I must be angry. Then all the blood in my veins is stirred and my understanding is sharpened."

But, until you reach your "I Have A Dream" moment, these tools will help you to simply calm the eff down:

- Count to ten before speaking. .

- Once calm, express your anger. .

- Stick with "I" statements and how you "feel."

- Old school exercise and sex will help you release and resolve.

- Lay a foundation for a less-angry lifestyle by daily meditation and practising yoga.

- Start each day by placing a Post-it note on your bathroom mirror with your daily objective not to react to the day's events in a negative fashion.

- Breathe in through the mouth, out through the nose.

- No grudges because over means over.

- Use humour (except sarcasm) because nothing diffuses a red-hot moment better than laughter.

Shaun Proulx hosts The Shaun Proulx Show on SiriusXM Canada Talks channel 167. He is the publisher of TheGayGuideNetwork.com and leads a #ThoughtRevolution about busting through personal limits on ShaunProulx.com.