Is your anger hurting your relationship or affecting your ability to do your job? Are You Controlling Your Anger Or Is Anger Controlling You? Anger is a useful emotion; it helps you to push past fear when something is unfair or not right. But when anger is chronic or results in explosive behavior, it can damage your health and your relationships. Discovering the reasons behind your anger and learning and practicing anger management skills can help you establish an inner core of calm and side-step the emotional flooding set off by triggers. Anger management is about learning to see your anger coming and doing something before you hit the point of no return or raging.
What is underneath your anger?
Anger is called a secondary emotion. Most of the time, even though it may happen in a split second, you have experienced another emotion before you felt angry. You may have felt shamed, hurt, confused, worried, afraid, vulnerable or insecure. You may be using anger to cover these other uncomfortable feelings. It is possible that you learned as a child to express anger in an explosive way. Improving your emotional awareness and emotional intelligence will help you manage your anger.
Identify Your Triggers
Pay attention to what is happing prior to each angry outburst. What are the thoughts that you are thinking? What are others doing or saying? Where do you feel the anger start to build in your body? It is important to identify triggers, so that you can choose to cool off or remove yourself from a situation before the explosion erupts.
Give Yourself a Chance to Cool Off
The theory used to be that anger should be released rather than stuffed away. It is true that we should not ignore or stuff our feelings. It also turns out that screaming, punching a pillow or venting to get rid of the anger will simply pumps up your anger.
Knowing your triggers can help you interrupt the pattern of exploding. There are many useful techniques to help you side-step the flooding of anger and feel more in control.
- BREATHE – choosing to breathe deeply is one of quickest ways to reduce tension and give your brain the message that you are okay.
- Count to ten – count backwards from 10 down to one and breath each time you count.
- Move – go for a walk, clean the house, go to the gym. Do something to burn off the adrenalin that has been release in your body.
- Ground yourself – pay attention to your senses. Listen to some calming music, choose a smell or an image that reminds you of relaxation or take a warm bath.
- Stretch – reach high, touch your toes, stretch your neck and arms. This can help release the built up tension.
- Accept your anger – accept that it is okay to feel angry and be compassionate toward yourself. Accepting your feelings can help reduce the intensity of those feelings.
- Reframe – try switching your focus. How might a calm person, you respect, behave in this situation? How can you give others the benefit of the doubt?
- Question – ask is this worth fighting about? How much will this matter a year from now? 10 years? Is it possible that I am over-reacting?
- Find the humor – if you can find the humor in the situation, it can go a long way to defusing the tension.
- Remove yourself from the situation – if you are unable to hang onto yourself using the above techniques, take a time out until you have calmed down.
Although anger may give you a feeling of power and you may have found that you can get what you want by loudly expressing your anger. Fear does not equal true power and will never get you the type of respect that assertive communication will. Developing a healthy awareness of your feelings and learning to be more assertive will help you express your anger in constructive rather than destructive ways.
Signs you may benefit from counselling:
If you consistently feel angry and are not sure why, counselling may help you discover the reasons behind your anger. If your anger feels out of control or has caused problems in your relationships or at work, you may benefit from therapy.