“The more people get to laugh, the better”, said my client. So, with her permission, I’m sharing her story, glorious morning chaos turned into gold both by her 6-year-old and her loving mom.
This morning we were a bit of a tight schedule, as I had to bring my daughter Madeleine for her ballet practice. I had to ask her 6 times to put her shoes on, brush her hair… you know, the morning routine. But once we got to the last item – the jacket, I just lost my cool. We were running late, so I told her, “if you don’t put your jacket on, I will smack your bum”. I was not proud of that, but she did right away. On the way to her ballet class, I am talking to her calmly, explaining that I really don’t want to be screaming and scaring her by telling her I would be smacking her bum. So I ask her: Why did you push me on every request I asked you all morning? And Madeleine says: Well, you are going to the anger management school, so I am testing you.
When humour is present, our brain can transform a trigger into pleasure. Allowing ourselves to defy expectations through humour awakens our prefrontal cortex and calms our most immediate response to stress. We cannot control morning chaos, but we can evoke a healthier response when things get out of control. Anger and control are close friends. Accepting the absurd, and practicing irreverence towards ourselves in the presence of strangers and the ones we love can be an effective antidote for having a joyful day, in spite of a busy agenda.
Many clients report consciously working on their relationship with anger and then bam! finding themselves in the most humorous situations. Very different than laughing out of cynicism or despair, this kind of irreverence towards ourselves (not others) is healthy and encouraged. So go ahead! Befriend humour and turn on your feel-good neurotransmitters. Laugh, get lighter and let control go. Welcome joy into the space inhabited by that – soon not able to be contained – tension of piled up expectations.
*Healing Anger is a 12-hour program, where women study their relationship with anger. We start groups every 7 weeks approximately. Women can join us in person or live through video conference.