Emerge Therapy

The Stoplight Exercise

General

Next time you get angry think of a traffic signal. Red light means ‘stop’ – calm down. Take a long, deep breath and, as you calm down a bit, tell yourself what the problem is and how you feel.

Next time you get angry think of a traffic signal.  Red light means ‘stop’ – calm down.  Take a long, deep breath and, as you calm down a bit, tell yourself what the problem is and how you feel.  The yellow light reminds you to slow down and think of several possible ways you might solve the problem, and choose which is best.  The green light signals for you to ‘go’, to try out that plan, and see how it works.  I offer a copy of the Problem-Solving Rap to remind attendees to apply the traffic light problem solving steps in their anger situations. 

You can try this exercise every time you are stopped at a traffic light, focusing on your own inner landscape.  Ask yourself: How am I doing?  Is there anything needing my attention right now?  As I focus on that, can I see options and alternatives?  Can I focus the attention of my thinking brain on those alternatives, and discern which one I want to try next?

You may not have time to go through the entire checklist as the traffic light turns to green, but you can use the image of the spotlight again and again as you go through your day, focusing your awareness on what’s happening, your reaction to what’s happening, noticing various options for addressing the situation, and choosing what to experiment with next, with openness and curiosity for the results.    

In the busyness of life, you may rarely have the luxury to pause as you go through the day.  The Stoplight Exercise is a tool that helps you step back and gives you the opportunity to manage your anger and identify your interactions with others so that you have an accurate picture of your own habits and patterns and how they are impacting on others.  Through building on your own self-awareness and self-management you will open the door to positive changes.

The Stoplight Exercise may be used as a tool to support you as you are about to enter those situations where you are most likely to show signs of anger; offering you a “pulse check” to give a feel for how you may react and what your feeling are at that moment.  

Your reflections can be kept personal or shared with your counsellor as you uncover what you want for your own development and what your hopes and dreams are for you in the future.

Here are two ways you can learn more about the 6 Steps to Beat Your Anger programs and other resources and materials related to anger counselling:

1) Contact me directly if you want to speak to me or make an appointment to talk about what it is you want from anger counselling on: tony@emergetherapy.co.uk or 07446612357.

2) For more information and to book tickets for the next group program on Thursday 27th April to Thursday 1st June, 2017  6.30 – 8.30 pm at Bingley – click link below:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/6-steps-to-beat-your-anger-bingley-tickets-30982445328?ref=ebtnebtckt


While this Blog does not replace counselling, you may find it interesting and useful, leaving you with the option of taking up counselling with me. 

I would, however, recommend that you contact a professional counsellor or psychotherapist if, for whatever reason, any of these materials raise any issues for you. 

Sources:

My description of the Spotlight Activity is excerpted from:

 Goleman, D (2013) Focus  (London: Bloomsbury)

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Next time you get angry think of a traffic signal. Red light means ‘stop’ – calm down. Take a long, deep breath and, as you calm down a bit, tell yourself what the problem is and how you feel.

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