Alex von Bidder was the managing partner of the iconic Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City—and is a certified yoga instructor. He operated a restaurant that sees more power personalities than even the White House, so how does he keep calm? On the yoga mat.
“Can you believe he took all the family silver?” Michelle asks her assistant, with fury in her eyes. “He will regret this. I will make sure. Just wait and see.”
It’s only Monday morning and already this manager is letting her anger at her soon-to-be ex-husband poison the new day for all within earshot. This has been going on for weeks. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but why are we the recipients of this fury? How is it possible to work in an atmosphere full of unwanted and inappropriate sharing?
For some, the home and family are a sanctuary, but for others, the workplace serves as the safe place to be. When the two become entangled and poisoned, relationships fray and sometimes explode.
Everyone gets angry sometimes. Even practicing Zen Buddhists are affected by this all-too-human emotion. It’s one of the three poisons (the other two being greed and ignorance). There is, however, a system for coping and helping you keep calm.
First, notice and admit that you are angry. This sounds simple, but some people don’t like to state the obvious for fear of the reaction. Second, check what triggered the anger. Your mind creates this emotion, usually as a method of self-defense. This self-evaluation may help you identify the trigger in time to choose a different approach. If you are still angry after identifying and acknowledging the source of your anger, what do you do?
Practice simple patience, which means not reacting or speaking. Sit with the heat and tension of your anger, and silence the internal chatter of blame on yourself or the other person. Go for a walking meditation down the hall, or take a time-out in your office. Anything that puts a little space between you and the situation will help.
Sometimes people confuse non-action with weakness, but letting anger hook you and jerk you around is true weakness. It takes strength to acknowledge and examine your anger. It takes discipline to then conquer it with non-anger.
Even if at first you do not succeed, keep practicing patience with yourself. Realize that letting yourself get all freaked out isn’t going to improve any situation; it will simply add to your unhappiness. All you need to do is be alert and patient while you wait for the inner witness to know and tell you what comes next.
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