Why 7 quick and easy tips to control your anger?
Chances are, if you’re anything like me, you’ve felt a volcanic anger raging around silently inside when you’re stuck behind the slowest driver – ever, when you’re already running late to make that appointment you’ve been waiting a year for. These quick and easy tips will help to control your anger.
Remember that time you get to the shortest queue in the store, and the only lady in front of you holds up the queue while her elderly husband shuffles away to pick up four more tins of special-price baked beans? Did you grit your teeth, and smile weakly, thinking — ‘Aaarrghhh?’ Hold on – these quick and easy tips to control your anger might help. Let’s take a look.
If you sense your control slipping. Just STOP. Take a few calming breaths – whether you believe it or not, it’s scientifically proven that there is a right way and a wrong way to breathe. Therefore, it’s essential that you learn about correct breathing, understand how and why it works and practice.
Being able to use the correct breathing techniques will help your body to relax more quickly. And remember, your body cannot be both relaxed and tense at the same time. You might want to read this post here, Tips for anxiety and panic attacks, which create the same arousal as anger.
Think before you speak
When you’re calmer, having stopped to breathe, think about what you want the other person to hear. What message do you want to get across. What is it you want to tell them. How can you say what you want to say – in a calmer, more effective way so that you feel heard.
You could try telling the other person (s) “I feel sad when you don’t ………” or “it makes me feel lonely when you’re out without me.”
Sometimes it feels as though the whole world is against us but try not to blame others for your anger as nobody can make you feel the way you feel – that’s your job; the feelings department. For instance, when a problematic event occurs, it’s the way we deal with it that determines the current emotions and behavior i.e.
A – Mark goes out with his friends on Friday nights
B– My belief/thought about this i.e. he shouldn’t leave me every Friday night
C – I’m upset, sad, lonely, I feel abandoned
We don’t go from A-C directly, we stop at B and it’s there – our thought/belief that leads to C our feeling bad, angry or lonely. So Mark didn’t make me feel angry. It was my thought that he shouldn’t leave me that makes me sad. So I guess what I’m trying to say is own those feelings. They are yours and yours alone.
You have a choice
A really important point to understand in anger management is responsibility and choice. Nobody ever tells you to scream and shout, use bad language, throw cups or plates around, punch walls or doors, shove someone or hit them.
Remember, it’s always you who chooses to carry out these behaviours … and they all constitute abuse. Therefore, there is no justification in making excuses such as he made me ‘punch him’ or ‘she made me throw the damn cup’. And while you might think throwing a cup is better than hitting her, it amounts to the same thing — abuse!
You’ve still frightened that person, you’ve still displayed excessive anger and it’s still abuse. Nobody ever deserves to be abused by another person. We all have a basic human right, “to be safe and not be abused by anyone”.
Self-awareness is important in order to identify the true reason for your anger. After an incident where you’ve felt anger, later using a pen and paper write down what was said, why you felt angry, how you were feeling (physically i.e. shaking, sweating, anxious) and what you did or said. Were you able to refrain from your usual angry behaviours (i.e. shouting and screaming), and what helped (or didn’t). What were you feeling afterwards. Do you need to work on your anger, can you do it alone or do you need help?
Monitor your anger
It’s natural to get defensive if you’re criticized, but don’t get angry or fight back. Instead, try to listen to what’s underlying the spoken words: might the other person be feeling sad, disappointed or frustrated?
Sometimes you just have to be patient and ask questions about what it is they’re really trying to say. What message are they trying to get across. It’s not easy when you’re feeling hurt and angry so give yourselves some space, otherwise you’ll find the argument spiralling out of control — more angry words are spoken and it’s difficult to stop.
Monitor every single episode of anger and for each one, note down the facts of what happened (teenage neighbour’s ball still landing in your newly planted flower beds, despite asking him to stop ); rate the intensity of your anger 0-10 (where 0 = no anger, and 10 = maximum rage); write down any thoughts or images you were aware of (bursting the damn ball, letting air out of his bike tyres, screaming at his parents, etc.); note any other feelings you were have experiencing at the time (dread, anxiety, shaking,); and what you actually did i.e. (ranting at your mate sitting laughing).
Practicing this for a while might be all you need in order to gain a bit of perspective. Don’t “uh uh” or “duh” it until you try it.
Know that Anger can be a problem
Anger is a normal, usually healthy, human emotion but it becomes a problem when you can’t control it. Anger can lead to physical illness such as heart-attack, high blood pressure and headaches, together with changes in mood, anxiety and depression.
Let’s turn that around – physical and mental illness can also lead to anger – angry that you’re physically ill, as I was when I was medically retired too young.
Your anger may stem from mental illness, where perhaps you get angry because you can’t express your ‘real’ feelings like sadness, loneliness abandonment or even being unable to ask for help. You might want to read this article here, A guide to understanding emotions and feelings.
If you’re unable to control your anger, this will eventually become a problem and start to affect your relationships with loved one, family, friends or in the workplace.
Anger and children
Try not to be angry in front of or at children. Of course they’ll do things you told them not to and they’ll make noise so loud your eardrums are at bursting point and you’re meant to be working from home!
If they’re small children, get down to their eye level and tell them that you’re angry because…….. without screaming blue murder while towering above them. That’s a whole other post. But just remember, you look so big and threatening to little ones — imagine for a second, someone three times taller than you is raging, screaming, banging doors and thundering around!
Why are we all so angry all the time?
In today’s modern, fast-paced world, we’re dashing around furiously, in a race to our imaginary finish line. We’re left exhausted, stressed, time-limited and overwhelmed.We feel increasingly like a pressure cooker about to go bang!
So — we become angry at — umm, everything, such as someone in front of you is you is walking so slowly and you can’t get past. Or the person next to you on the bus is – breathing. If this is you, slow down, and read over this article again.
If you come across an angry person, stop and stay as calm as you possibly can and breathe. Stand back or move away if you feel threatened. Listen to the person and say “I can see you’re angry and I’m listening.” If you’re scared, tell them this and that you’re listening. Knowing you’re willing to listen might calm them down enough to lose the aggression.
If the anger escalates and you think your safety may be at risk, remove yourself from the situation and get help. It’s never okay for someone to be violent or abusive towards you.
If you’re always angry and have thoughts of hitting out at someone or thoughts of self-harm, you must reach out for help. Call a mental health helpline, your GP or counsellor. You can read my list of Useful Mental Health contacts here.
Do you have any quick and easy tips to control anger for someone or someone they know who’s angry all the time? Perhaps you’ve got more tips on how to stay safe if they’re experiencing anger or violence from others. I look forward to reading any comments and answering any questions.