Lately I have been losing control of my temper, and it's ugly. I have tremendous energy and a loud, deep voice to begin with, so losing my temper becomes scary to all who witness the explosion (including myself). This hasn't happened to me in a long time, and I'm feeling scared and ashamed. I started a new job earlier this year that I'm not happy in, and I recently took on a project working with a group of people who are inflexible and difficult. I'm sure this is the trigger. What can I do? Please help.
Since you are aware of the triggers to your temper, that means you are self-aware enough to begin addressing this issue productively.
Here’s a formula you can use over and over again to override that instinctive reaction to lose your temper. It uses the acronym, stop, S.T.O.P.
S. Stands for stop, just stop, hold on, wait a minute.
T. Stands for take three deep breath and then smile.
O. Stands for observe what’s happening inside of you. It probably doesn’t feel very good. But you have to observe it to know that.
P. Stands for proceed with awareness and kindness.
Begin by noticing when you start to judge your colleagues as inflexible and difficult. See if you begin feeling frustrated, upset, Watch yourself going into old patterns instead of seeing the situation afresh. Here is where you simple recognize what you are doing and make a decision to stop. and take a deep breath. Cut off the reaction and go back on the self. Just stopping the old reaction is a step forward. Next take a few deep relaxing breaths and permit yourself the possibility that there is something about this situation that is valuable and useful right now. That is what you can smile inside about and be at peace with. Allow a new way of responding to come up. It’s okay if it doesn’t, just being receptive instead of combative is helpful.
Observing what is happening in your mind, heart and body at this moment will help you become more conscious in your actions in the future instead of acting unconsciously and losing your temper. Observing is not judging, so just notice what is going on without criticism. Finally, in that state of fuller, more balanced awareness, proceed in your action with greater consideration and respect for others. You don’t have to be a perfect example of compassion right away for this technique to work, just keep at it and it will shift your old reactive behavior to calmer and kinder over time.