Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Anger Management

While a lot of folks who know me can never guess it, I suffer from an acutely short fuse. When the stars align themselves just about right (which happens once a day), I get angry for every single thing. While age and a lot of public outbursts has taught me to bury the outward reaction to anger. What was not taught by the previous two factors was taught by a job wherein a lot of my time is spent in listening folks telling what is going wrong in their organization. And when you see there are folks who try to channel frustration to better themselves, you cannot help take a leaf and try to achieve that zen state when you can use your anger to make yourself better.

Talking about anger, I think the subject of my anger been, not very surprisingly, been my family. Any other mother or father would have completely disowned a son who in a spate of anger is prone to say anything that happens to be thought at that very instant. The only person in the family who perhaps should be fine with me is my anger is my sister, who has no fuse at all. In fact compared to her, I appear to be a shaanthaswaroopi! With most of the outsiders, when I know I'm angry, I just move away - knowing that all it takes is a couple of sentences to irrevocably break the rapport built over years. There have been occasions where I have snapped and have paid the price of burning bridges forever.

Recently there has been a lot of changes at work and unfortunately, there are people who have no clue about what their position entails with whom I have got to tango. Not exactly the ideal situation for a person like me. Last Friday perhaps was a day that could have ended up being really bad - the day was saved by a very good colleague/friend of mine who was on Lync chat with me who sent me the IMDB link to the movie above. It had a quick effect to get my ranting off - perhaps he was aiming at self preservation but seeing the link made me take a chill pill and perhaps get off the kool-aid train at the right time - I'm sure I would have fired off an email to someone which would have ended really, really badly. Already a couple of work folks inquired on Monday if everything was alright on Friday - they were unfortunate recipients of some of my emails that day! I know that there are folks who suffer from the same malaise as me - anger. I have, with experience, identified the following ways to control anger - sharing them here with the hope that I'm passing the wisdom :-)

  • Physical Exercise: I once read Bjorn Borg (my third favorite Tennis player after Sampras, Federer) had a resting heart rate of 32 bpm. I have over the last year, made it a habit to eat healthy and work out - not necessarily pump iron - but to swing the racquet (Racquetball or Tennis) whenever I get a chance, making it a compulsory habit to run at least 30 miles a week. And recently, I got a low cost boxing bag which has allowed me to let the atrophied muscles let it rip when it rains/when I wake up late etc. As a result these days my normal resting heartbeat rate is 45-50 bpm. I initially I was scared that it was bradycardia, the absence of any other weird symptoms convinced me I was on the right track. A subsequent good effect has been that I have lengthened the short fuse - It takes a lot to get me angry these days. There are still certain buttons, punched in the right order can make me snap like a crocodile.
  • Work & Allied Activity: I would (very loosely) classify myself as a technology enthusiast and spend a lot of my time reading (possibly useless) stuff on Engadget, CNet, Mashable, Techreview, Tech Republic, SmartPlanet and almost anything that talks about Cell Phones, Computers, Cloud Computing - thanks to this acquired interest for a guy who had no clue about what IMAP and POP meant 5 years ago, I was till recently considering setting up a home email server. Thankfully, Office 365 saved the day.
Hopefully I make progress on the new found Zen state of mind and not regress into an Adam Sandler mode!