I have many tools in my toolkit for coping with the minutia of everyday life.  I discovered this tool during the Amplifyng Your Effectiveness (AYE) conference in 2003 that I would like to share. It is a little finger-puppet of a monster-dragon.

Sometimes during meetings I feel emotions like frustration, powerlessness, anger, impatience, ... I want to shout, or scream, or worst of all sometimes I want to ignore or deny the emotions and let the feelings pass by altogether. The tiny puppet reminds me that perhaps for the moment it may seem like I am turning into a monster, but in fact I am a human, and it will probably serve me to take the time to look for the message within the emotion. Slipping the monster puppet on my finger is a metaphor for slipping on a shadow mask. I can always choose to remove the mask or the puppet, when and if it makes sense in the context that led me to wear it.

Another benefit of the puppet is its effect on others. Most of the time, my colleagues become curious as they watch me slip on the puppet. When I explain its purpose, they appreciate the playfullness and are ready and prepared to hear the message behind the emotion.