- So, here is my modern Stoic guide to anger management, inspired by Seneca’s advice:
- Engage in preemptive meditation: think about what situations trigger your anger, and decide ahead of time how to deal with them.
- Check anger as soon as you feel its symptoms. Don’t wait, or it will get out of control.
- Associate with serene people, as much as possible; avoid irritable or angry ones. Moods are infective.
- Play a musical instrument, or purposefully engage in whatever activity relaxes your mind. A relaxed mind does not get angry.
- Seek environments with pleasing, not irritating, colours. Manipulating external circumstances actually has an eﬀect on our moods.
- Don’t engage in discussions when you are tired, you will be more prone to irritation, which can then escalate into anger.
- Don’t start discussions when you are thirsty or hungry, for the same reason.
- Deploy self-deprecating humour, our main weapon against the unpredictability of the Universe, and the predictable nastiness of some of our fellow human beings.
- Practise cognitive distancing – what Seneca calls ‘delaying’ your response – by going for a walk, or retire to the bathroom, anything that will allow you a breather from a tense situation.
- Change your body to change your mind: deliberately slow down your steps, lower the tone of your voice, impose on your body the demeanour of a calm person.
- Above all, be charitable toward others as a path to good living. Seneca’s advice on anger has stood the test of time, and we would all do well to heed it.
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