Ever felt that you let anger get the better of you? Shouted at the kids or blown your lid in the supermarket for no real reason? Or do you bite your tongue and let people get away with murder because you are afraid to speak up? These are common reactions to frustration for lots of people. We can't express our anger appropriately so often end up feeling resentful and unable to make any positive changes.
Gael Lindenfield in her book 'Managing Anger' takes these everyday situations and looks at how and why we behave as we do. She believes that anger can be a positive force for change in our lives if we have the strategies to work with it.
As she says, "while I am not suggesting that a change in the way in which we handle anger can be a cure all for the personal and social evils of the world, I do believe that it could dramatically improve very many peoples' ability to cope with them".
To help bring about this change Lindenfield has developed a model she calls Assertive Anger:
By following this model we can learn to deal with frustration and threat in a positive way. Making situations work for us and our communities.
Lindenfield begins by examining how we form our attitudes to anger. How our childhood, culture and environmental factors impact on us. We all have triggers for our emotions. By being able to identify our triggers, we can begin to work on the way we feel about the past allowing us to move on and develop new positive behaviour for the future.
As well as the theory, there are many excellent strategies for dealing with both your own and others' anger. The chapter on assertiveness is invaluable, as are the role-plays, which are clearly described and practical.
Changing the way we behave isn't easy and certainly doesn't happen overnight. It's a question of learning to stop and analyse our feelings and change our responses. Lindenfield doesn't suggest for one minute this is easy but the positive warm tone of the book will leave you with a quiet sense of optimism.
Whilst the content deserves nothing but praise the editor should have the exclamation mark key removed from her keyboard forthwith. I know it sounds like I'm being pedantic about semantics but exclamation marks should be used for -well exclamations. Carpet-bombing text with exclamation marks does not make it any more lively, perky or accessible. It detracts from the writing. This is not writing that deserves to be detracted from.