Friday, May 29, 2009

Back to Cranky Analysis

Following a recap of my de-crank strategies, I came to the conclusion that communicating and thinking (before I responded crankily) were the top two strategies I could use to cut back on my crankiness. Employing these approaches has met with limited success. I am often still reacting too quickly and going straight to cranky rather than stopping to think and react in a more productive way.

I thought a review of what's available on the web around "anger management" would be worthwhile. Not surprisingly, I found a lot of attempts to sell me solutions, such as seminars. I also found a whole new arena of "Wiki" things ... wikihow. Wikihow is subtitled as "the how-to manual that you can edit." The Anger Management category has 34 articles that range from silly to good. Primarily, they contain a laundry list of techniques to use to control anger. A lot of the content had merit, but I didn't find it any one article that really felt "sticky" for me. There were good ideas, but mostly just lists of tips without much meat. Then, I found a webpage that really resonated with me. It's a page from the American Psychological Association's site, called Controlling Anger Before it Controls You. It discusses strategies for keeping anger at bay. They are:
  • Relaxation
  • Cognitive Restructuring
  • Problem Solving
  • Better Communication
  • Using Humor
  • Changing Your Environment

I thought I'd look at each in their usefulness for me and my particular situation. I'll look at each in a future postings.

Before I get to that, though, one paragraph in particular caught my attention:

People who are easily angered generally have what some psychologists call a low tolerance for frustration, meaning simply that they feel that they should not have to be subjected to frustration, inconvenience, or annoyance. They can't take things in stride, and they're particularly infuriated if the situation seems somehow unjust: for example, being corrected for a minor mistake.

I have often thought about my cranky reactions in the present day compared to my temperament in the past. I am definitely more prone to react angrily today than I was, say, 10 years ago. I think my life situation, very demanding and stressful that it is on so many fronts, has taken away much of my resilience and flexibility, making it harder to "go with the flow" when I am subjected to a "frustration, inconvenience, or annoyance." One thing that can make for a bad cranky cycle is that I get angry with myself for being so quick to react crankily. This just amplifies the bad feelings.

Maybe I should cut myself some slack. Skip and I are doing a great job dealing with the hand we've been dealt. It's a situation tailor-made to include frustration, inconvenience and annoyance. Give yourself a break, Cranky!


Anonymous said...

RE: Last Paragraph

3 cheers for Cranky! So good to hear/see you say that!


Cranky said...

L - thanks! It's hard to admit you're not superwoman. :-)

Taxingwoman said...

Hi! Cranky Thanks for stopping by my blog I'm posting a link to your blog and look forward to reading more.
I'm cranky and easily angered, but get over it quickly

Cranky said...

Carole - thanks for the note. I have added you to my blog roll as well.