One of the tools I use when I feel myself getting aggravated, frustrated, upset or when someone that is close to me is giving off negativity is to asses my state. Am I hungry? (or thirsty!), angry, lonely, tired? All of these states can conspire to make the less desirable part of me rise up and react to whatever happens to be triggering me at the moment.
I have to give credit to my husband James for this tool, which originated in our early parenting years when we were learning how to manage our 5 kids. Discovered early on that most of the upsets between them happened when they were hungry or tired. It was key to keep them well rested and to have healthy meals and snacks available for them at all times. It took thinking ahead and a lot of teamwork to give our kids the attention, love and care they needed to be happy, healthy individuals.
James and I have figured out that we do best when we are together. Loneliness can creep in even though we live, work, sleep and eat together, unless we make dedicated time to really be present for each other. This usually translates into an overnight getaway every couple of months, with smatterings of coffee on the porch and deep conversations in the garage sprinkled in to reconnect, check in, and really hear the other person.
Anger is not a place I go to frequently, but when I do, it for sure has gotten triggered because I have let something fester and not communicated with someone about what is going on. Checking in frequently with myself and my state (How am I feeling right now?) is my method for staying in touch with myself.
Try this next time you are feeling at odds with someone or something in your life take a moment to asses your state, take a big drink of H2O, and ask yourself if you are hungry angry lonely tired.