I recently received this Question: When I get angry, I blow up so fast that I don’t have time to stop and think or ask for God’s wisdom. I know all of these things would help, but by the time I think of it I’ve already done the damage. What can I do to help get control of my temper and the rage within?
A: Many of have felt this way. Anger is often a primary emotion which quickly triggers the emotional center of the brain within 1/20th of a second. We are often primed to get angry because we are experiencing== low self-worth, unmet goals, disappointments, abuse, expectations, fears, sin, selfishness , skill deficits, stress and other emotional or relationship problems.
So, what Happens? You encounter a rude family member or a co-worker who is pestering you to hurry up with your part of a project – and your anger immediately rears it’s head in less than a second– increasing your heart rate and breathing. All you want to do is loudly let him/her know how disrespectful they are. Instead, You might hold your anger inside and then, blow-up later on when you get home. Or you may decide to just ignore the person. Of course, that won’t solve the issue and your anger will keep brewing .
The question is: how can you prevent such an overpowering emotional response & how can you respond in a healthy way to these kinds of triggering events?
Take the following steps:
1. Write out and log recent times of anger. Explore what happened, what the issue was, how you felt and what resulted. Then write out times in the past when you were able to control your anger… maybe at work or school or at a community event… how did you control it? What did you do or say?
What did you tell yourself to calm down? Most people tend to be able to control their anger at times. thus proving that they can have control over it. Order the book What’s Good About Anger? and take the Anger Survey in the first chapter.
2. Learn to take a break (time-outs) immediately. You can walk away from situations/people who trigger your anger. Tell him/her that you will get back to them in an hour or two. Give yourself time to cool off: 20 min. Do some diaphragmatic breathing which will help calm you down. Take a walk, pray and…
Ask yourself: What is the real issue? What are my feelings underneath my anger? Is there a request I can make? How can I negotiate or compromise some conflict I am having?
What else is going on? You may be dealing with a lot of stress or loss. You might be experiencing hot self-talk such as: I know this person is out to get me! Stress and self-talk need to be decreased and challenged
Begin an exercise program so that you can work off some of the stress in your life physically.
3. Learn to communicate assertively as this is one of the most important tools for expressing your anger in a healthy way. Write out and then, share more openly & respectfully your needs, requests, boundaries and opinions with others. Apply the ASERT approach found in the What’s Good About Anger? book.
Identifying your triggers, learning to take a break and communicate assertively are 3 of the most effective methods for helping you control the rage and anger within.
Lynette Hoy is the President of the Anger Management Institute in Oak Brook, IL. Please visit www.goodanger.com for all of our resources, courses, workshops and services.
~ © copyright 2017 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V