How To Combat Digital Rage

Unsolicited advice of the day: don't send that angry email, text, or social media post.

I say this because it’s a rule I implemented in my life a few years ago but I almost violated it earlier this week.

Like you, I despise injustice so, when one is placed before me (especially on directed toward me personally), I feel the need to respond immediately. Sure, it's therapeutic and feels like an appropriate reaction when faced with the stupidity of others, but the web permits us the power to overreact. As time passes, I notice that my anger generally subsidizes. But when I tweet or email immediately, there's a digital record of me flying off the handle. Even if I’m justified, it’s not a good look.

Since explosive anger is one of my worst traits, I've been trying in recent years to become more levelheaded when facing ridiculousness. By no means have I arrived, but I’m at least gaining momentum. So while I write this advice for the benefit of others, I’m reminding myself more than anything.

Now, when I’m about to use technology as a tool of my anger, I still use words. But instead of hurrying to react, I open up an email, type out a response, and let it sit for twelve hours. That's ample time for me to figure out if the issue is as critical as I initially thought it was. Many times I go back and either delete the message or, if it’s still something that needs to be addressed, I edit the anger out of it. I’ve discovered that this discipline still allows me to get something off my chest while being more measured in how I respond. Whenever possible, I actually try to wait until I can see someone face-to-face to have the confrontation. Of course, it’s more awkward than a text or email, but it’s ultimately healthier.

Anger escalates. Patience can be productive. Take a break before hitting “send.”

*One more thing: never fill the “TO” line when composing your rage email. A couple of times I sent those anger emails by accident and there’s no turning back (unless you use Gmail).