Anger control is about recognising that you have a choice on whether you react or respond. Use this 6 rules to control anger and make a difference in your life.
Tip 1: Step back if a discussion is becoming heated and your anger is rising. Everyone has their perspective on what they believe is the truth of the situation. There are three truths, his, hers and the reality.
Taking a physical step back lowers your stress immediately. It is so easy to jump to the wrong conclusion. Talk or delay the conversation until you are both in a better frame of mind.
You are giving yourself time to evaluate the situation, to determine the correct course of action to take.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- How am I feeling? Threatened, guilty, in fear.
- How do I think the other person is feeling? Threatened, guilty, in fear.
- What are your needs?
- What are the other person’s needs?
- What choices are available to me?
- What is the other person trying to tell me?
- Do we need a neutral person or can we work it out?
- Am I calmer?
Tip 2: Take a breath. When challenged, our breathing becomes shallow. We have to kick off the “its okay response” by breathing again and slowing down the heart beat.
- Check your heart beat. If it is still racing, slow it down.
- Relax your shoulders. It sends a signal to come off high alert.
- Unclench your fists.
- Recall a happy memory (if with the other person, remind them of the thought).
- Be mindful of the other person.
- Start your statements with “I feel/think/”.
- No blaming language.
- Practice empathy.
Tip 3: Letting go of perfectionism and past hurts.
From my own experience and in my clinic practice, anger aligns itself with high sense of justice. Someone has broken our “rules” but consider that everyone is different and what’s important to me is not important to someone else. Our opinions are rigid with a tendency to be inflexible. This perfectionistic quality is our downfall.
The world would be very boring if we all thought the same thing.
New self talk could include:
It’s okay to not be perfect, as long as I try my best.
- I don’t have defend myself.
- I don’t have correct anyone that disagrees with me.
- People are entitled to their opinion.
- I can express myself without antagonizing anyone else.
Tip 4: Listening without feeling threatened. When anger rears its ugly head, you are not listening properly. If all you hear is what you did wrong, how things are always your fault. This is not listening.
In a calmer state, you can learn how to:
- Be attentive to the other person, what has upset them?
- What is their body language telling me? Communication is 93% non-verbal. Look for the cues!
- Show your understanding by rephrasing and saying:
- I understand that you feel etc.
Control your inner state. This is emphatic listening. There is no need for you to fix or control the situation. Nodding and paraphrasing demonstrates you are listening.
Resist the impulse to interrupt and defend yourself.
Tip 5: Keep a journal of your feelings.
Most triggers consist of peoples, places or situations. Your mind is conditioned to react but by knowing your triggers, you can begin to plan new approaches.
If you lost your temper despite your best efforts, what did you learn? Experience is about learning, adapting and moving on.
Until you analyze what goes on, you really do not know what triggers your anger.
Questions to ask yourself?
- What happened before my anger outburst?
- Did I wake in a bad mood so this was just waiting to happen?
- Was I in a good mood, what happened to interrupt this good feeling?
- Did I eat enough today?
Tip 6: Don’t take it personally? Yes, it is meant to be personal but only can decide if there is any truth in it. By reacting you are showing a little (or big) part of you is afraid it is true. Remember, what is said in anger is usually a projection of how the person feels about themselves.
We all have self doubt and it usually is based on whether we feel we belong, are good enough and measure up in our peer group.
Negative self talk will do its best to stay in control of you but it only harms you and you must a way to dismiss the thought when it appears.
Work on your self esteem. Let go of the past and you win.
Does this mean you will never feel angry again?
No. Anger is a valid emotion. The difference is that you can now interrupt it. You stop rising to being goaded and you can definitely let go of any anger that develops.
You can begin to feel sorry for those you used to annoy and irritate you. Your home life improves, your self esteem improves and you have in control of you.
If you are having problems controlling your anger, please contact me for help.