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10 Anger Management Tips

anger

Have you noticed that more and more people are getting angry?  Why do you think that is?  We are all under so much stress and at one extreme anger is suppressed so that it explodes inconveniently and usually at the wrong person (or object).  And, at the other extreme, there is no filter and even the smallest irritant can have an effect.  As Aristotle said the art is to “be angry with the right person … to the right degree … at the right time … for the right purpose, and in the right way”.

Anger in itself isn’t bad.  It’s how you express it.  But first we need to understand what it is.  Anger is an emotion which signifies a degree of irritation.  It can be mild (miffed) to strong (rage) and, of course, anywhere in between.

Suppressing anger (pushing it down) or repressing it (being unaware that you have feelings of anger at all) are just as unhealthy as having an explosive temper.  The difference is that repressing anger has a negative impact on your health.  

All emotions are good in that they are signals to you that something needs your attention.  It is as though your unconscious mind is waving a flag saying “hold on a minute, something isn’t right and you need to deal with it”.  What is your anger telling you?  Common causes are that you have been mistreated, a value has been violated or a boundary crossed.

What does anger want?  If you think of feelings as a want which needs to be met, it really helps you to manage your emotions more easily.  Anger is ‘asking’ for fairness or that a wrong be put right.  When you listen to your emotions and respond appropriately, you will find that you are angry much less often and that you are angry in an appropriate way.

Here are 10 tips for dealing with anger:

  1. Realise that anger in itself is not bad.  It is how you express it which could be bad.  If you think it’s bad you are likely to suppress it and it will just come up at the most inappropriate moment.
  2. Recognise that sometimes being angry is absolutely the right thing to do – it sets clear boundaries with people who may be taking advantage.  It is all in how you express your anger, not the anger itself.  Being respectfully assertive is the best way of communicating – you need to be clear yet courteous.
  3. Map out your ‘anger process’.  It will involve a series of thoughts, feelings and/or pictures.  What happens first?  Do you get a voice which says ‘hold on a minute’?  Or a twisted feeling in your gut?  Or perhaps you see red mist?  Plot what happens and put them in order.  This puts you in touch with your early warning signs that you are about to have an anger outburst and you can take preventative action – without ignoring it.
  4. Take in some nice deep breaths (in to the count of four, hold to the count of four and out to the count of eight).  Allow the tension to leave your body on the outbreath.  This pause gives you breathing space so you can take the next steps more easily.
  5. Ask yourself what you are angry about.  You may need to spend a little time on this and be really honest with yourself.  Sometimes, when we get in touch with what’s really going on, it doesn’t sound as reasonable as we would like it to be.  But that’s OK, it is probably linked to the next point.
  6. Then ask yourself whether your anger is really only about that or if it is a series of events that have built up.  Interestingly, when I work with people 1:1, I have found that it is often a series of events, not always involving the same person, and frequently the series of events start with something tiny.  But, because it wasn’t dealt with, and subsequent events weren’t dealt with, the small things became the big things and that’s when people explode. When you are clear whether your anger is really about the past or present, mentally separate them and decide that you are only going to deal with this event, not everything that has passed before.
  7. Learn EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to help you manage the emotion in a constructive way.  This is why understanding your ‘anger process’ is really important.  Dealing with your anger when you are at the final stages is much harder than dealing with it as soon as you notice the first signs.  EFT takes practice.  If you prefer to learn 1:1 give me a call and I can teach you.  It is well worth it and the benefits are huge.
  8. Work out a suitable way to respond to the situation.  Inappropriate anger is a reaction to a situation rather than a response to it.  The steps I am outlining here help you to be more responsive.  A suitable response often involves a conversation with the person involved but you may have to wait until you have calmed down first so you are back in control and the conversation can be constructive.
  9. Positive anger management requires good problem solving skills.  It’s hard to do that when you are in the throes of an ‘anger hijack’.  But, when you feel resourceful, think about a situation that made you really angry and look at it from all angles.  What are you seeing that the other person isn’t?  What are they seeing in the situation that you aren’t?  How would an impartial observer view the situation?  Then, consider what you both want and how this can be achieved.  Sometimes other people behave in the way they do because they too are frustrated, or they don’t know that they have pressed a hot button of yours.  By looking at a solution which meets both needs, even if this means compromise, you are building excellent problem solving skills and reducing your anger response in a way which is respectful to yourself and others.
  10. Learn self-hypnosis which not only helps you to deal with stress (a common cause of anger) but will also help to reprogram your mind.  An Inside Job is a book which teaches you self-hypnosis and includes a CD to guide you.  Regular practice will make you calmer and more resourceful

The biggest mistake people make is to blame someone else for their anger.  In reality, you are responsible for your anger and you have a choice in how you respond.  That may sound simplistic right now, especially if you have been very reactive and explosive.  But this is about learning new skills and new responses.  Your patience and diligence in practicing these techniques will be repaid to you many times over.

If you feel that your issues with anger are more complex or you would like some support , why not call and find out about 1:1 coaching – having a professional to support and guide you can make all the difference.  I’m Tricia Woolfrey and I can be reached on 0345 130 0854.

In the meantime, there are plenty of resources within these pages to support you, specifically:

Control Your Anger hypnotherapy CD or MP3
21 Ways and 21 Days to the Life you Want workbook
Think Positive and Feel Good workbook
An Inside Job book and CD to learn self-hypnosis

© Tricia Woolfrey 2015