Anger is a natural human emotion that we all experience at one point of our lives. Just like any emotion, anger can be felt or experienced within a range or spectrum of intensity. We sometimes feel a little anger and sometimes we can even lose control of our behaviors in response to feeling ager. And just like other emotions we are usually not taught how to “manage” them or learn how to self soothe. When we are little we are a) either punished for intense negative emotions or b) soothed by outside factors or individuals. The case point is that we CAN learn to “manage” emotions, anger being one of them.
When talking about emotions it is important to not use the word “control” since many are natural responses, instinctual, survival-based, learned, and other which we can’t truly control. When we give up the idea of “control” we learn to accept and “manage”. Let’s start with the word “manage”. When looking at this word you find meaning but looking at words or statements like: be in charge, regulate, influence, administer, run. As mentioned, there is a natural part of feeling anger, but there is also a way to influence it to make either intensify or lower its intensity. Lets look at some techniques:
Therese J. Borchard editor from PsychCentral listed six ways to manage anger being:
- STOP: actually stop talking, moving, thinking and all reactions and behaviors. To put a “physical brake on your emotions”. This can help give perspective and not stay in the negative emotion.
- GIVE YOURSELF SPACE: anger creates tunnel vision and without space we are unable to separate and help ourselves or the situation. Once you separate and calm self (next step) then you can try to resolve it.
- BREATHE DEEPLY: this is one of many techniques. Breathing helps because when we experience anger usually breathing is affected, it turns shallow, heart pumping, muscle tensing, etc. All natural responses to stress or “threats” in life (stress response). Borchard recommends: “Take a number of slow, even, deep breaths. Put your hand on your stomach and carry the air down until you feel your stomach rise. Try counting or repeating a calming word or phrase, such as “This too shall pass.””. There are alos practices like mindfulness, mediation or cognitive challenging techniques.
- ANALYZE: After you breathe “normally” your vision changes and you can go back and analyze the situation again in a calm maybe clearer way
- DEFINE THE PROBLEM: “See if you can come up with a description of the problem in one or two sentences. Put it in clear, plain words that exactly state the real issue that sparked your anger” (Borchard)
- SOLVE: See different ways to resolve or brainstorm ideas on solving the problem, and if not solvable (because there are unsolvable problems in the world), “ACCEPT” and move forward.
Get help when needed. Call us if you or someone you know needs help, even trying other techniques. . Don’t spend unnecessary energy in things that are not fulfilling in your life.