The best way to deal with anger (discussed in Part 1) is to learn how to effectively SPEAK OUT your anger without shouting, cursing, complaining, hiding, punching, seething, or running.

Here’s how: S-P-E-A-K; it’s an acrostic for the appropriate expression of anger.

In every tension-filled encounter, someone needs to be the grown-up, let that person be you. Take control of your emotions, your body, and your tongue.

Anger does need to be expressed but in non-threatening ways that do not result in injury to yourself, the person with whom you are angry, or someone’s property. Therefore, it is up to you to suppress (different than repress) your anger until you have control of yourself and the situation.

You do this by acknowledging the feelings you have and declaring to yourself and others involved that the situation will be dealt with appropriately.

Supervise yourself first. Begin by calming yourself down: talk to yourself, take three or four deep breaths, or remove yourself from the situation long enough to gain personal control. This tells yourself and others that your anger is OK, your self-esteem is strong, and you are an adult who can express your anger appropriately.

Anger always is usually the second event in any anger-producing incident. The spilled milk comes first, then the angry reaction. The millisecond between the spilled milk and the reaction holds the key to the appropriateness of the response. At that moment, you decide what you will say and how you will say it. And what you do at that time will determine whether you make the situation better or worse.

Remember, no one “makes” you angry. You choose the feelings you have, and you determine how those feelings will be dealt with; they will either harm or heal, accept or reject, alleviate or aggravate. So, don’t blame the other person for your nasty words and unseemly behavior. What you say and do are the choices you make, and you must accept the consequences of your actions and reactions.

Explaining how you feel is far different than screaming a stream of epithets, or insulting everyone within earshot, or brooding for three days, or getting revenge on someone who hurt you.

To explain how you feel involves the use of the shortest word in the English language: I. To declare your heart-felt feelings or your personal needs, employ “I” statements or “I” messages.

“I am angry” can be declared as quietly and forcefully as “I am tired.” “I feel slighted,” or “I feel hurt by your words,” or “I need some help.” When you use “I” messages, you utilize non-threatening language to explain how you feel.

By the way, you might want to expand your emotional vocabulary. What you first think is anger may be loneliness, disappointment, shame, exhaustion, annoyance, or a hundred or so other feelings. Someone said there are over 3,000 words in the English language that could complete the sentence, “I feel…”

Want to know how to find out why people make you angry? Stop lecturing them and start listening to them. When you APPLY LISTENING SKILLS you work to understand the other person’s point of view.

The following are four quick tips on how to become a better listener so you can discover why people make you angry.

First of all, concentrate. When someone else speaks, focus on what they say. Look them in the eye and let them know you are fully present in the moment.

Second, empathize. Author Stephen Covey wrote, “When you show deep empathy towards others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems.”

Third, reflect. Mirror back what the other person says; summarize the various points they have made. This demonstrates you are not only listening but that you are empathizing!

Fourth, inquire. Ask questions. Find out the meaning behind the words and ideas by gentle, respectful inquiry. Why, when, where, how are all great words to have active in your listening vocabulary.

The better you are at explaining how you feel, and the more skilled you become at listening to the other person’s point of view, the better you will become at knowing how far to go and when to stop. As you express anger in the right way and with the right goals in mind, with a clear understanding of the other person’s perspective, you establish an atmosphere where future flare-ups can be interrupted.

There is a world of difference between the misuse and appropriate use of anger. It is the difference between love and fear, peace and war, harmony and conflict, pain and pleasure, pleasantness, and belligerence. When you express anger appropriately, it communicates love and respect.

Remember the story in Part 1—the story about my neighbor who dashed across the street and on to my lawn with fists clenched, eyes blazing, and voice yelling? He so scared my wife she called the police who were able to quiet the man down, then walked him back to his house and handed him a citation for disturbing the peace.

A few weeks later, I was called to court to testify against him. When he arrived for court, his left arm was bandaged. The judge asked him what happened to his arm, thinking it had something to do with our altercation.

“My dog bit me,” he said quietly. The judge grinned, mumbled something about unusual but suitable justice, then slammed down his gavel and fined him $50.

Everyone is angry from time to time. It is OK to be angry, but it is not OK to be out of control; it is not OK to abuse those around you with spiteful words or reprehensible behavior or physical violence. And, from the other side of the anger, it is not OK to let others abuse you either verbally, emotionally, or physically.

Start today to add to your words a gentle touch, a calm spirit, and a sense that you still respect the people around you. When anger is recognized and expressed appropriately, it enhances growth, heightens respect, and restores intimacy.

Learn the appropriate use of anger, and the peace and joy of your everyday life will improve tenfold, the lives of those you live and work with will improve a hundredfold and you, my friend, will not get arrested!

Author's Bio: 

Author, speaker, and poet, Ron Ross, is also the co-founder of Powerful Seniors. For more about Dr Ross, visit He lives in Loveland, Colorado