Computers Getting Lost and Other Frustrations

Hooks such as computer problems and getting lost can also be good tests of our anger management mastery. We know someone who is usually fairly placid—except when he gets lost or his computer inexplicably loses its formatting. Both hooks reflect a loss of control that is exacerbated by an overly tight schedule that is somewhat imbal-anced. He'll report with some embarrassment, "I have this conversation with my computer, as though there is a little man inside who is deliberately causing me many hours of extra work." Quite humorously, the anger management strategy that seemed to work the best was forgiving that "little man." "Since my screaming didn't seem to resolve the program's design flaw, I decided to just accept the glitch until I can afford to replace the software." Other steps, which are really a summary of some of the skill's we've previously explored, include thinking:

• "Calm down. It isn't worth losing my peace and going crazy over this."

• "I'll think much more rationally if I stay calm."

• "It's okay if I don't always get what I want."

• "Sometimes things like this just happen. That's part of life."

• "I can really handle this. It will pass, and it probably won't be such a big deal in a few days or weeks."

• "If nothing seems to be helping, perhaps the best thing to do is take a break and do something else."

• "Maybe this experience can somehow benefit others."

• "Take two easy, deep breaths and connect with my image of core worth or constructive power."

• "Maybe there's a source of help I've overlooked."

• "This loss of control is temporary and limited. It won't spill over into other areas of my life."

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