Four Powerful Anger Management Techniques
Do you ever get angry and regret what you say and do? If so, the following anger management techniques will help you avoid losing your temper:
1.) Learn your “anger triggers.” What situations make you more prone to angry outbursts? Is it when your children’s dawdling causes you to be late? Is it when your teenager rolls her eyes and says, “Whatever?” Does it happen in the morning when you’re trying to get the kids ready for school? Does it occur at work, when you’re rushing to meet a deadline, and you are constantly getting interrupted by coworkers?
2.) Identify your “early warning signals.” When your car’s engine needs repair, its’ “early warning” system is activated. When the red light on your dashboard comes on, it is important that you do not ignore it, but instead take care of it immediately. Your anger “early warning signals” are just as important.
When you are about to lose your temper, do you clench your jaw? Do you start to feel nervous or short of breath? Do you begin clinching your fists? Do the muscles in your shoulders become tight? Do you start interrupting people or talking faster or louder? The sooner you can identify when you are becoming angry, the sooner you can regain control and prevent an angry outburst.
3.) Use insightful questions to change your perspective. During these moments, before you lose your temper, ask yourself the following questions:
A.) Am I assuming the worst about this situation? Is it “unbearable” or is just frustrating? It is more difficult to control your temper if you assume that the situation is catastrophic.
B.) Am I jumping to conclusions about what the person is thinking or about their motives? Since I lack the ability to read their mind, I need to slow down and ask them clarifying questions. Remember, your feelings of anger do not prove that you are being treated unfairly.
C.) Am I taking someone’s behavior too personally?
D.) According to Blaine Lee, author of The Power Principle, “Almost all conflict is the result of violated expectations.” Are my expectations realistic? Am I being reasonable? Am I expecting other people to perfectly follow my rigid rules of how to conduct themselves?
4.) Counteract your Stress Response. At the first moment of anger, begin taking slow deep breaths. Deep breathing is so effective because it will help counteract your bodies “fight or flight” stress response.
When you become angry, your heart rate and blood pressure increases, causing blood to flow more rapidly from your brain to your arms and legs. This enables your body to instantly engage in fight-or-flight. Slow, deep breathing will help reverse your body’s fight-or- flight response. When you take slow, deep breathes, you decrease the accumulation of carbon dioxide in your body, thereby increasing oxygen to your brain. This enables you to think more clearly and regain control of your thought processes.
It can also be helpful to relax your muscles. If your jaw is clinched, let it hang loose. If your brow is furrowed, relax your forehead and face. Let your hands relax. Let your arms hang loose. Let go of any tension in your shoulders or neck.
By regularly using these four techniques you will become more skilled at controlling your anger. They do take practice, but over time you will find that you are becoming much more calm and effective in dealing with frustrating people and situations.