John left the meeting frustrated, angry and ready to quit. He returned to his office and fired off an angry email. For the moment, he felt better, he got his anger off his chest. But did this behavior really help?
Sarah returned from a friend’s wedding. She felt ignored and upset by a number of things that happened. She got on her Twitter account and started to rant. Next she posted an unflattering picture of the bride on Instagram. For the moment, Sarah felt she vented that anger.
In the world of social media, an angry rant, nasty comments and put downs are tempting because of the ease and anonymity people have. For some, the temptation seems hard to resist. But the more you rant in an anonymous voice, the angrier you become. And we often forget that once we hit SEND or POST, our comments are forever in cyberspace.
Decades ago, we encouraged people to get that anger out, but research has since proven this is a bad strategy. Venting only makes you more angry and the consequences are not usually favorable.
You may think you feel better sending/poster in anger—this is inaccurate. Studies show you are actually revving yourself up, not calming down. And purging your angry emotions can damage your relationships.
John lost his promotion. His boss felt his angry response made him an unstable candidate for the job. Sarah’s friends hit SHARE and the rant cost Sarah a number of relationships. The bride refused to talk to her.
1) Press pause before you hit send or post.
2) Save your rant as a draft and give yourself time to calm down.
3) Calm yourself down through distraction or self-soothing. Prayer works –talk it out with God.
4) Reread your e-vent after time has passed. Do you really want to send/post now?
5) Don’t post or send. Instead, think of ways to problem-solve and deal with negative feelings that won’t hurt you or your relationships. Talk it out with someone in person if you need to process.
6) Exercise grace. Life isn’t fair, anger happens but like Scripture says, be angry but don’t sin. In this case, be angry but don’t send!
For more help and anger strategies, Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgivness by Dr. Linda Mintlen