March 26, 2008
Turning Anger into Action
Have you ever felt angry or frustrated that your day wasn't turning out like
That was me one day last week.
The weather was forcasted to be unusually warm (in the high 60's for wintertime),
and sunny that day. I had visions of spending a day off hiking – a day
enjoying nature and getting in some physical activity, but in the back of my
mind I kept thinking about how much I wanted to tackle the mess in the garage.
For weeks, I'd been waiting for a warm day to organize and clear out the garage,
and that day had come. I thought to myself, go hiking – the garage can wait,
there will be another warm day soon. I made the choice to clean out the garage,
but felt annoyed at my decision.
As I began working, I was angry at myself for not getting this project done sooner.
I also was angry at the people in the cars driving fast in front of my house. The
speed limit is 25 MPH, but most people drive 45. I was annoyed that so many
people disregard the posted speed limit in a residential neighborhood. I thought
to myself, would they want people driving that fast in front of their house?
With every item I moved, I decided to turn my anger into action. It became
clear to me that clearing out the garage and taking a stand against the traffic
was important to me. The fast traffic had been bugging me for awhile, and today
it was especially annoying because I was working and not out enjoying
this beautiful day!
I became more determined than ever to finish the task at hand and address the
traffic too. I found some poster board and made-up a sign that said:
Slow Down on one side and 25, a smiley face and Thanks! on the other.
After finishing the project, I positioned myself at the street waving, smiling
and showing the sign to the people in the cars.
By turning my anger into action, I felt good about the choices I'd made that day.
I realized that I could have made some other choices too. I could have chosen to
clean out part of the garage and also gone for a hike – avoiding the traffic
issue altogether. Or I could have just saved the garage project for another
time and just enjoyed the day. Or I could have just stayed angry.
At the end of that particular day, I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment for
cleaning out the garage and waving the sign! I changed my attitude, my behavior
and took action about a situation that stirred up some emotion.
What do you do when you are frustrated or angry?
Do you chose to be angry? And for how long?
What about choosing to turn your anger into action, and feeling good about your choice?
The next time you're frustrated, annoyed or angry, take a moment to assess the
source of your anger and take the necessary steps to turn your anger into action
– you choose the direction of your emotions, your actions, your day and
To taking action,
Belen Carmichael, NLC
P.S. Since I started writing this article, I've contacted Boulder's Neighborhood
Traffic Mitigation Program to voice my concerns, and also plan to attend the next
Transportation Advisory Board meeting to address the traffic issue further.
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