I do a lot of driving for work and last week I started thinking about the idea of street sadness.
I was in Dunoon again, working with the students from the xpand Life College. The topic for this month has been resilience and, as a part of that, we have been looking at emotional health. It’s such a huge issue for young (and not so young) people these days.
We had already talked about emotional intelligence in the previous module on teams and social competence but we were revisiting emotions as part of being strong into the future.
Last week we were focussing on the appropriateness of our reactions and how it affects our ability to cope. I particularly like the work of Vivian Dittmar on this, because she explains things in a straightforward manner, and her model is simple to get your head around. Her view, that an emotion is simply a feeling that has not been properly dealt with, rings true for a lot of people, especially once they look at what feelings are suitable in certain situations.
We spent some time talking about how we get angry because things are wrong, but that we need an outlet for that by putting things right, with the passion and drive that anger provides. If we have no ability, opportunity or power to make the required changes, then anger eats away at us. Instead, we need to feel sad, because things are unfortunate.
Sadness because we can’t change a bad situation can lead to an acceptance of what is. It helps us deal with the queue of traffic on the M8 as we struggle to make the ferry on time. It gives us a peace about the temporary-permanent lights on the Rest and Be Thankful and the build up of a new set of slow vehicles that we’ve reached and want to zip past.
I used to be quite an impatient driver and was easily angered by bad driving, hold ups and general travelling nonsense. I still am sometimes, but I’m learning that anger simply isn’t appropriate and doesn’t help me, or my fellow travellers.
Street sadness is becoming the new road rage for me.