Do you struggle to keep calm in everyday situations? Do you find yourself feeling irrationally angry at the slightest thing? The stresses of life can impact on your mental health and affect your behaviour, causing you to fly off the handle when dealing with people and situations.
The first step is to accept that anger is a natural emotion and can be a positive expression, helping you to overcome problems at home or at work. A good way to establish whether you have an anger issue or are experiencing a natural reaction is by asking yourself if your reaction matches the situation. If it is, then your reaction Is natural, and if your emotional response is too intense or non-existent there may be an issue. Another way to gauge this is to ask yourself if your friend was in this situation would you expect the same reaction, again if the answer is yes, the emotional response is natural.
There are many forms of anger one of which is, aggression. Aggressive behaviours caused by feelings of anger can escalate into outbursts, altercations, and unnecessary confrontations.
Thankfully, there are many simple methods and techniques to help control anger and the negative behaviours it can lead to in all of us. In time, by practising a few or all these exercises, you will develop mechanisms that will allow you to rationalise your thoughts before they turn into aggressive, negative actions. These methods only work if your anger does not match the situation. If you are experiencing a natural response to the problem, there is no issue with your reaction.
Techniques for Controlling Anger
The first step with any emotion is the take a deep breath, unconsciously we hold our breaths which makes it more difficult to process the feeling. This will result in a higher heart rate and make your blood pressure rise. Much like at times of fear or anxiety, your breathing becomes faster and shallower as your anger levels increase.
A simple technique to combat this is to consciously breathe deeply and slowly for one minute. By focusing on your breath as opposed to whatever has triggered your anger response, your physical and mental stress levels can better return to normal before you behave negatively or irrationally in the situation.
Once you are feeling calmer, take a few moments to think on your feelings and the core reason you are feeling angry or upset. Anger is typically a reaction to feeling hurt, feeling unheard or disrespected, or a result of taking things personally, when left unresolved these emotions build up over time leading to negative, aggressive outbursts resulting from an inability to express yourself.
You may find that once you have taken time to think before you react (this takes time, self-awareness and practice), that your own actions in the situation could have contributed to the situation. Equally, you are empowered to help resolve things which could be internally within yourself or externally with someone else, this can result in you having a more balanced and calmer approach to situations where you don’t suffer as a consequence of your anger.
Now we have our thoughts in some sort of order, even if we’re still feeling angered or upset, it’s time to talk about it. Dealing with your anger in the moment when you experience it is key, if you need to take time out before expressing this, do this.
If you need to speak to someone to rant at, do this (let the person know you’re about to rant), the more you deal with your emotions in the moment, the less build up which occurs leading to less angry outbursts.
Of course, we don’t always feel ready or able to talk about our feelings, or perhaps the other person/people are continuing to be aggressive with you despite your best efforts to resolve things calmly.
There’s no shame in walking away sometimes, taking a timeout and continuing with the previous steps. Be aware that distracting yourself from emotions will not help you deal with them, it will cause them to build up. Being self-aware of your thoughts, and learning to give yourself the emotional comfort you require is key.
Most of the time people are not aware of why they feel angry and speaking to a trained professional can help you identify why you feel the way you do.
Controlling and Managing Anger - Make it a Habit
We all get into bad habits over the course of our lives, whether we are conscious of them or not. By practicing these five techniques whenever you begin to feel angry, you can develop positive habits that will help you avoid negative situations that can result from angry feelings.
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