‘Anger Management Part 3’ by Ruane J. Lipke published in Great Health Guide (April 2017). In the first two parts of the ‘Anger Mangement’ series Ruane introduced us to identifying anger. Part 3 can be used as a resource to build strategies to help manage anger.
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MINDSET: Anger Management Part 3
written by Ruane J. Lipke
Anger is a very common emotion in this fast-moving society. In last month’s issue of Great Health GuideTM, I discussed the situations that make you angry and identified the body’s warning signs of anger. In this issue, we will investigate strategies to help you manage your anger.
LEARN TO SAY ’STOP’ TO YOURSELF.
1. CONTROL YOUR THINKING:
When you’re angry, your thinking can get exaggerated and irrational. You first need to ask yourself – where is the evidence. It may be your interpretation of something due to your feelings and there is no real evidence to support the negative thought.
Try replacing these kinds of thoughts with more useful, rational ones to influence the way you feel. Develop a list of things to say to yourself before, during and after situations that may make you angry. Focus on how you are managing the situation rather than what other people should be doing. Psychologists call this type of thinking ‘self-talk’.
Stop, stop, stop – breathe
‘I’ll be able to handle this. It could be
Stay calm, relax and breathe easy. Where’s the evidence?
‘I’m OK, she/he’s not attacking me personally.’
‘I can look and act calm.’
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Look to your right…
‘I managed that well. I can do this.’; ‘I’m getting better at this.’
‘I felt angry, but I didn’t lose my cool.’
AN IMPORTANT STRATEGY IN MANAGING ANGER, IS TO CONTROL YOUR THINKING.
2. TAKE TIME OUT:
If you feel that your anger getting out of control, take time out from a situation or an argument. Try stepping out of the room, or going for a walk. Before you go, remember to make a time to talk about the situation later when everyone involved has calmed down.
3. USE A DISTRACTION:
A strategy for managing anger is to distract your mind from the situation that is making you angry. Say STOP to yourself and even hold your hand up, count backwards from ten, or focus on a simple task. Do something that gives you pleasure like listening to music, phoning a friend, anything that you enjoy to stop your negative thoughts.
4. USE RELAXATION:
Relaxation strategies can reduce the feelings of tension and stress in your body. Practise strategies such as taking long deep breaths. Breathe in for five counts, hold for five and then exhale over five counts. Repeat these steps five times while focusing on your breathing, or progressively working around your body and relaxing your muscles as you go.
5. ASSERTIVENESS TRAINING:
Assertiveness skills can be learnt through a psychologist who can individualise this for you. These skills ensure that anger is channelled and expressed in clear and respectful ways. Being assertive means being clear with others about what your needs and wants are, feeling okay about asking for them, but respecting the other person’s needs and concerns as well and being prepared to negotiate. Practise saying things in an assertive way.
6. TRY TO ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT IS MAKING YOU ANGRY:
Acknowledge that an issue has made you angry by admitting it to yourself. Sometimes telling someone in a tactful way that you felt angry when they did or said something is more helpful than just acting out the anger.
Make sure you think about who you express your anger to and take care that you aren’t just dumping your anger on the people closest to you. Sometimes it can help to write things down. What is happening in your life? How do you feel about the things that are happening? Writing about these topics can sometimes help give you some distance and perspective and help you understand your feelings.
7. REHEARSING ANGER MANAGEMENT SKILLS:
Use your imagination to practise your anger management strategies. Imagine yourself in a situation that can set off your anger. Imagine how you could behave in that situation without getting angry. Try rehearsing some anger management strategies with a friend. Ask them to help you act out a situation where you get angry, so that you can practise other ways to think and behave.
Anger is a normal human emotion and everyone experiences it at some point. Acting upon feelings of anger can cause more problems than it solves. It is important to admit that you do get angry at times. Recognise what triggers your anger and put strategies in place to better manage your feeling of anger and frustration.
Author of this article:
Ruane J. Lipke is a registered Brisbane psychologist and a member of the Australian Psychological Society (MAPS). Ruane’s practice offers psychology and counselling advice including clinical, developmental, emotional, educational and relationship concerns. Visit ‘A Life Logic’ to schedule a consultation. To schedule a consultation and discuss your own journey to success, contact Ruane here.
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