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Road Rage Management Naming your Anger

Have you heard of the term emotional granularity? In essence, it's a term that describes a person's ability to differentiate their emotions with a great degree of specificity as well as being to label those degrees with a variety of descriptive words. A person with emotional granularity can differentiate between sorrow from loss vs. disappointment for example.

In a recent episode of Morning Edition on NPR, Michaeleen Doucleff describes how the process of naming her anger helped her to actually manage it. She discovered through a conversation with Psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett from Northeastern University that different cultures have specific terms for various types of anger.

"Germans have a word that roughly means "a face in need of a slap,"or backpfeifengesicht. "It's like you're so furious with someone that you look at their face, and it's as if their face is urging you to punch them," Feldman Barrett says. "It's a great emotion."

"Mandarin Chinese has a specific word for anger directed toward yourself, 悔恨 or huǐhèn. It's literally a combination of regret and hate, says linguist Yao Yao at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. "You regret something you did so much, that you're angry at yourself," she says."

As Doucleff continued to research emotional granularity, she came up with her own labels for the types of anger she frequently experiences. Among those was Hurry-up Anger.

"Hurry-up anger: This is the anger I feel when someone else is not doing something fast enough - yes, I'm talking about the driver of the gray Prius at the stoplight this morning or the 3-year-old who will not put her shoes on fast enough. Once I labeled it, I realized that cars, people and toddlers eventually move. Huffing and puffing doesn't make it faster."

Whether you want to call it Hurry-up Anger or Get Out of My Way, I'm Late for Work Anger, try labeling what you are feeling when driving. By giving it a name, you are defining what you are feeling but you are also taking a step back and separating yourself from your feelings. This simple step can be the difference between getting safely to your destination or being involved in a road rage incident.

If you happen to be the victim of someone else's Get Out of My Way Anger and are in an accident, we can help. Contact our office for a free consultation.

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