Are you constantly finding yourself frustrated to the point of debilitation? So angry you can’t think straight or keep yourself from reacting? In my late teens and early twenties I was always on the very edge of completely losing it if someone said the wrong thing.
The best method for dealing with anger is to avoid it in the first place. If you know a certain person or situation gets you fired up, try to work around it. If you know political conversations at the dinner table get you going, request that your family members not bring up the topic.
That being said, it is impossible to avoid ever getting angry. Anger is a regular emotion, and like any other emotion, there are healthy and unhealthy ways for dealing with it. Below are the strategies I use or have used to center myself before I go into a fit:
Definitely do these three:
- Acknowledge the fact that you are angry. If you are trying to cover up anger it will come out in subtle, passive forms like jabs and insults disguised as jokes. Eventually though, the dam will break and that anger will explode out.
- Figure out what exactly is making you angry. Is it the fact that your husband didn’t do the dishes or are you angry because you feel like the household chores aren’t being shared equally? Make sure you address the bigger issue at hand.
- Think through the situation. Is it something worth a response? Does this person matter to your life? Will a reaction make things better?
Try any combination of these:
- Remove yourself from the situation. There is never an appropriate time to go into a fit of rage. Walk away before you do something you regret. Going for a walk or sitting in isolation helps.
- Breathe slowly. When you are angry your breathing speeds up. This is part of a fight or flight response. Take long, deep breaths to the count of eight.
- Stretch and do light mobility excersises. Another physical symptom of anger is increased muscle tension. Release tension by stretching, rolling your shoulders, and rolling your head clockwise and counter clockwise.
- Name out loud three things you can see, three things you can touch and three things you can hear. This is an exercise typically used to calm anxiety, but I think if works great for focusing when your anger doesn’t allow you to.
- Scream. Preferably somewhere others won’t hear. Into a pillow always works. Just scream.
- Channel your anger into a workout. Walk away, throw on your sneakers, and fling some weight around.
- Use calming mental imagery. Imagine yourself walking down a path in a quiet forest. Imagine the leaves and sticks on the ground. The rustling of the leaves. The sound of the birds. The wind hitting your face.
If nothing helps:
Seek professional help. A counselor can help you work through your anger and teach you anger management strategies that work for you specifically. They can also help you pinpoint the source of your emotions, which may not be what you think it is.
Do not do these:
- There are certain friends I don’t vent to when I’m currently sitting in my anger. They will get me riled up and encourage a response from me.
- Listen to intense music. When you a sizzling with anger is not the best time to listen to Screamo or Heavy Metal. You want to calm your physical responses. This can increase them.
Anger usually doesn’t strike within the comfort of your nice, quiet home. I wouldn’t recommend breaking into yoga poses after Karen from the office pushes the wrong button. There are many strategies for coping with anger, but these are my go-to methods that you can do in almost any situation.
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