Ask Auntie Artichoke

Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Ask Auntie Artichoke - Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Why We Get Mad – How Anger Stops Stress

Hello From Beautiful Montana:

“I am furious at you! ” “You make me so mad.” “I am so angry I could scream.”  These are all  angry responses to stress in life.  While it may relieve some of the pressure of the moment, anger takes a price.  It can cost you relationships, employment,respect by others, and love of family.  A major cost is personal for angry people; health related and perhaps even your life. Road rage is an example of allowing the stress and annoyance of being stuck in traffic to escalate into a tragedy.

Benefits of Anger

Stress is a physical experience.  All strong emotions such as anger, fear, excitement trigger powerful hormones which enables a threatened person to run faster, climb higher, shout louder, hit harder and do what must be done in order to survive a perceived attack.   It is anger that is the catalyst of most great organizations that do good in the world.  A mother’s anger that her child has been killed by a drunk driver channels that anger into Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. It is the anger against injustice to schooling young girls in third world countries that motivates Greg Mortensen to write  “Three Cups of Tea” and to build schools that will educate them.

Disadvantages of Anger

Angry people are seen as dangerous and others like to steer clear of them.  They are handled like a loaded gun; others are aware that you could go off at any time and they are frightened to be around you. Those whom you need to have a fulfilling life

Anger management can be learned.

Anger management can be learned.

start to avoid you or if they cannot physically leave, tend to guard their words and actions so as not to offend or start a argument.

Not only will angry people find more problems on the job with co-workers and bosses, but will terminated more readily. Those who work with angry individuals tend to avoid situations which may result in an angry outburst and so are reluctant to suggest new ideas or methods of doing procedures, for fear of an emotional outburst.

Physical Changes in Body and Mind

Occasional anger creates no lasting harm to your body and emotions.  However; chronic, sustained and ever present anger keeps the body in a constant state of emergency and relationships in a constant state of fear.  This has an effect on regular body functions such as digestion, high blood pressure, auto-immune diseases, infections,headaches and many more that keep you and those around you from enjoying life to the fullest.

Questions For You

  • What are your triggers to anger?
  • Can you think of other ways to vent your emotions without getting so mad?
  • Are there people in your life that you avoid because they tend to handle stress with anger?
  • Has anger ever motivated you to do good?
  • What do you think is the best reaction when a driver is clearly angry and experiencing road rage?

Thank you so much for being part of this community of kind and thoughtful people who want respect for all.  You will want to claim your free ebook on encouraging words at

Your friend,

Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker

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Every Relationship is Different

Hello from beautiful Montana:

This is a time of family togetherness and a lot of different personalities to contend with. If you have been disappointed by strained relationships with members of your family or you anticipate difficult conversations, you may actually create your reality.

Every relationship is different, don’t allow tension or difficulty with one person undermine your intentions.  You have the ability to be a good friend, kind neighbor and loving family member.

Recognize That Your Perceptions Color the Issue

Most relationships come from two different perceptions and basis of knowledge.  We bring into every meeting, not only our current self, but our former experiences and judgments. Each conversation and interaction will be influenced by our behavioral style, self esteem, prejudices, likes, dislikes and information gathered by inference or by talking to others.

Black or White?

As you know, I am a parent educator and a tool I use is a sheet of paper that is black on one side and white on the other.  When I show the black side I ask the audience what color the paper is, they answer loudly “Black.”  Then I turn the paper over and ask what color the paper is and they answer, hesitantly “White.”

It really depends on where you are and what you see when you make a judgement.  The paper is actually both black and white.  It is only a perception and a point of view. If you are looking at one side it is black, the other side is white and can quickly be changed by looking at it from another viewpoint.

Recognize that each relationship is different and that each person is an individual with unique qualities and personality traits.  You don’t have to love or even like someone, but you do need to respect them, if you want to have a working relationship.

In gratitude,

Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker

Encourage Without Unrealistic Praise

Everyone likes to be praised, right? Actually,  too much praise can have a boomerang effect if the recipient of the compliment  believes it is untrue or unrealistic. It can also cause distrust or discouragement of other members of the team or family.

While praise may be of value, if the child or employee maintains a low opinion of himself or becomes dependent on the outside world to give him an external reward, he is constantly looking for external approval. Our goal as employers, parents, teachers and coaches is to encourage positive progress without unrealistic praise and assist in building inward confidence.

Recently a grandmother asked me on Facebook how to encourage without giving unrealistic and too much praise.

“Have you suggestions between praise and “too much” praise – i.e. “You really worked hard on that project” vs. “You are WONDERFUL” – which is easy to spout but really pretty meaningless. Today’s young workforce expects to be praised for everything vs. deserved praise or encouragement.”

My answer was:

Hi Jo Ann- You have raised such an important point. “You really worked hard on that project” is encouragement and it is praising the process rather than the task.  It is transferable to other tasks and attempts.  You are saying “Keep going, you are on the right path.”

When kids get praised for every little thing they come to expect it and feel they deserve it.  The world of work is not going to give them constant approval. They are in for a big shock when no one is going to applaud their every effort.  If the child has come to look for praise and external evaluation which must constantly be earned, he may be unsure when he will get it again. This causes some to fail or to sabotage efforts of others on the team in order to receive the coveted “praiseworthy” award.

This next generation of children coming up must be able to trust their own judgment and intuition.  They must be able to follow their own inner compass rather than waiting for outside approval.

Difference Between Praise and Encouragement

Praise is like a reward for something well done, and implies a spirit of competition.  The unspoken message is clear; “winner takes all.”  When members of a workplace, family or class are singled out for unrealistic praise, the others become discouraged and also lose faith with the authority figure.

In contrast, encouragement may be given for any effort or for slight improvement.  Encouragement is not concerned with superior-inferior relationships but focuses on making the child or employee understand they are a valued part of the team.

Self esteem comes from an inward knowing that you are a capable problem solver. The effects of encouragement and cooperation that builds respect for self and others have long range and lasting results.

I encourage you to claim your free ebook at:


Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and speaker