Manage your anger

So how do you go about changing a life-long anger problem? ‘Use anger management — that’s any technique that helps you deal with your anger more effectively. It can work wonders,’ says Dr Fox. Most approaches involve identifying what triggers your anger, looking at the way you think when irritated and why, and learning strategies to help you calm down (see ‘Instant calmers’ above). It’s about channeling your anger more constructively rather than stopping seeing red altogether.


`Eliminating your anger would be virtually impossible, not to mention unnecessary,’ says Dr Fox. Life will always have its annoyances, so you need to learn to deal with them. Plus, when dealt with efficiently, anger can even spur you into action. `Ultimately you should feel less angry, less often, and respond to anger more appropriately,’ says Dr Fox. Try practising the strategies below. This may be enough to help you cope, but if your anger stops you from living a normal life, it’s essential to seek professional help.


Anti-anger herbs and vitamins


Lavender is a famous natural calmer of the savage breast. Sprinkle a few drops of essential oil in a warm bath, or inhale the concentrated fragrance, to feel more serene. Camomile is another time-honoured soother – drink it as a tea when you’re riled. Coconut oil has similar calming effect- rub it into hair and body. Rhodiola is used the world over to help combat stress, fatigue and depression, and apparently works by improving the transfer of serotonin through the blood-brain barrier. And taking a vitamin B complex will support your nervous system – vital when you feel under stress.


‘If you deny it, you can’t do anything about it,’ says Weston.


  • Identify the problem ‘Look at situations that trigger your anger,’ says Fox, ‘and list possible scenarios that could set you off in the future.’
  • Relax According to Weston, learning to relax is often all that’s needed. ‘You’ll be more comfortable with who you are. You’ll also be better equipped to deal with things.’ She recommends t’ai chi or yoga, to help engage the mind and body.
  • Change how you think If you’re frequently angry, it’s likely you also think negatively and irrationally. `For example, if someone queuejumps, you assume it’s because they disrespect you, not because they’re in a rush,’ says Dr Fox. Learn not to take things personally, remind yourself anger is unlikely to help, and try to be more rational.Look at situations that trigger your anger
  • Be assertive… so says the American Psychological Association: ‘Look at anger as a scale — at one end people express themselves too passively, and at the other, too aggressively. Be assertive — the middle of the scale.’
  • Clear it up To let someone know you’re angry without offending or hurting them, BAAM suggests you practise and perfect its ‘clearing process’. This involves confronting the person in a calm and controlled way. Make sure you tell the person you want them to listen, let them give feedback, and don’t expect any particular outcome. Begin sentences with: ‘I feel…/ Because…/ What I want is…/ What I am willing to admit about my behaviour is…’
  • Keep a diary BAAM says that diaries are a powerful way to prevent you from internalising your anger. Simply record how you feel. It will help you see the situation more clearly, possibly helping to identify your anger triggers.


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No more of that

They came, and a dozen years later most were gone. There are those here, late to the movement, who continue to play at non­conformity, but they are like children feint­ing shots at the hoop after the basketball game is over. “There are no more panhan­dlers, no more people sleeping in the parks,” said city manager William Sisneros. Those who are left draw money from home, and if they are all like the girl I met who said her name was Grace, they pass the day sitting in a field near a chaparral of chamiso blazing yellow in the sun, read­ing Isaac Asimov.

MOST CITIES are trying to create a pleasant atmosphere,” Sisneros said. “We’re trying to preserve what we have.” The task is not an easy one. In addition to the fake adobe that brings distress to Orlando Romero and many others, there is an ever thickening stand of motels, quick-food outlets, and ser­vice stations on the outskirts of the central city. It is pressing inward, advancing on the plaza like a tide of fried-chicken smells and bug-spattered neon.

“Despite that, I believe we have a good grip on land use,” Sisneros told me. “Of greater concern is economic development. We have to get employment for our young people.” He cited other major concerns, such as water supplies and tax revenues, both troublesomely low in Santa Fe. And with too little money, city services suffer.

“In a way, living here is as close as you can get in the United States to living in a Third World country,” I was told by a woman who gave up her career as a news photographer to move here and train her camera on the visual feast of the land. “But Santa Fe is an extraordinary place, and when people move here they make a real statement about their values and the quality of their lives.”

It can be said that Peter Gould made such a statement when he moved here in 1970. He came from Athens, Texas, where he made a considerable amount of money selling insur­ance. It seemed he was destined for tycoon status, a man to build shopping centers and gain control of banks. But the boredom that weighed on his life was too heavy. He had been to Santa Fe once before and, having liked it, decided to return, this time to stay.

The Peter Gould who was president of the Rotary Club in Athens became a user of peyote for a time. He meditated and chanted his mantra. His marriage broke up, and it took him five years to get his life on a course that would bring him happiness. Now re­married, Gould has turned to woodwork­ing, a longtime interest, and his pieces of finely crafted furniture have started to sell.

The Goulds live on a ranch they pur­chased in the town of Galisteo, south of San­ta Fe. Their circle of friends is wide. “Once,” Peter Gould told me, smiling devilishly, “I introduced John Ehrlichman to Allen Gins­berg, the poet.” It was the irony of the meeting that amused him, I suspect, togeth­er with the knowledge that had he remained in Athens with his actuarial tables, such a moment could not have come to pass.

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