When working on controlling anger , it is important to understand the difference between Reacting and Responding. Although them seem very similar they actually are quite different,and understanding that difference is a major step in not only being able to control anger, but to help improve just about any relationship you have.
The late Zig Ziglar, one of my favorite teachers and mentors spoke about this concept on an old tape I heard, and when I first heard it , it had a profound effect on me. He was discussing how winners respond to situations instead of reacting to them. He told a story about a woman named Mary Crowley who was the top salesperson in her company, but she was fired by the male leaders because she did not approve of drinking at company metings etc. They fired her and actually brought her desk to her home and placed it on her porch. She had every reason to react in anger, but she did not. Instead she responded by realizing that she knew the business, and her customers knew and trusted her, so she decided to start her own business called Home Interiors, which at the time of her death was worth $500 million. She responded instead of reacting.
Another illustration of reacting vs responding would be let’s say you went to the doctor and he gave you some medicine, and the next day, when you went back he took some tests and said “ Oh, it looks like your body is reacting to the medication” that would not be good, but if he said It looks like your body is responding to the medication” that is a much better statement.
Webster defines Reacting as a negative term, like responding with hostility..also have you ever hear of a nuclear response? No, it is described as a reaction, and it is hostile to say the least.
Responding on the other hand is defined as a reply or an answer and as a positive reaction to stimuli.
So how does this apply to anger ?
When I react to a situation in anger I allow myself to be controlled by the situation and I will act in a hostile way, whereas if I respond , then I am in control and am able to listen , think , and give a more lucid, calm response.
Anger Coaching can help us develop the skills and tools to respond instead of react.