The analogy of traffic lights and anger is a very useful example to understand, control or reduce anger.
The traffic lights analogy is great for people of all ages including men, women and children.
You are on the road and you seed red traffic lights. What do you do? Obviously stop! Any rational person will answer this question by suggestion that you need be prepared to stop.
Remember the word rational here.
What should you be called if your answer is to carry on while the lights are red?
Silly? Or maybe even more than that!
Yes, of course.
Ok, what happens if you do not stop?
Accident! This could result in death, injuries, financial loss and so on.
Remember danger and loss.
So, you have three important words here: Irrational, stupid and danger (loss).
Exactly the same thing happens in case of anger. Anger is a red light. Once you see the red light i.e. when know that you are angry, you must stop. You must control your response. If you do not stop, you are surely going to harm yourself as well as those around you. Just like driving ahead at the red light is irrational and stupid, not stopping at your first sign of anger is empty of wisdom.
The effect of not seeing the red light (anger) is both short and long terms. The long term effects are far more dangerous than the short ones. To avoid any possible harm, you must stop at the very first signal.
Amber or Yellow Lights
What do they do? They give you enough time to judge either to cross or stop. You must take the right choice; otherwise you either run the risk of a crash at front, sides or being hit at the back by the driver behind.
Remember the phrase, right judgment.
Once you stop, you have time to process your anger. Remember processing anger is the healthiest way to manage it. Suppressing anger has its own dangerous effects. As at the red lights you do not stop by applying your brakes harshly, similarly you do not suppress your anger.
You apply the brakes and put the engine in the right gear or may be pulling on the hand brake. Similarly, stopping at the first sign is to think what you need to do. This is processing anger. Once the anger is processed it does not lay buried in the unconscious mind and has no possible repercussions in the future.
Ok, it is obvious. Green means…Go! Everything is ok. What if it is green and you are still stopping. You run the risk of being hit from behind. Or, at least, other drivers will blow their horns.
So you have no other choice but to keep going.
Once your car is in the right gear, the next step is driving ahead. Any unnecessary delay or over stopping will only enrage other drivers and road users.
Similarly once you have processed your anger, let it go. Do not overthink. You have already processed it and now the time is to move on. If you linger on or brood over it, you run the risks (calling negative thoughts in to play).
Next time you are angry, think of the traffic lights. Say
Red – Stop – Stop being angry and start thinking
Yellow – Think – Process anger
Green – Move – All is ok