For when you know you're way too peeved but can't seem to turn it off.
How good is the movie 'Inside Out'?
There’s the above character in it, Anger, whose head literally explodes every time he gets too worked up.
It’s a great visual, and it definitely doesn’t seem overly dramatic — we’ve all been there.
Cut off while you’re driving, kids have asked you the same bloody question a gazillion times, talked down to by your boss who is 12 years younger than you… you can probably feel the anger even now? For me, it’s a tightening in my guts.
But is blowing your top really the best way to express yourself?
I’m not saying you need to be a doormat, definitely not, always stick up for yourself.
I’m talking about the times when you’re really tired or your stressed, and you blow up, then regret it, knowing it wasn’t the best move.
So next time you feel the bubble of frustration, and you’re reaching boiling point, here are a few things you might like to try.
As always, it’s best to practice them when you are calm so that your sympathetic nervous system knows to put these in place automatically when you’re not thinking straight.
1. Identify other emotions that your anger may be concealing.
Your anger may be standing in for an emotion that makes you feel less powerful, such as fear, hurt, or embarrassment. Once the emotion is addressed, anger often takes a second place.
2. Is it worth it?
Ask yourself “Will this matter tomorrow, in 1 year, in 5 years. Is it worth getting angry about right now? Will it change anything for the positive?”
The second card in my stress management desk card series has a very simple breathing technique that can quickly take your brain out of a fight, flight, freeze response and into the present moment. This will help your brain react in an adult responsive, intelligent way, not an automatic emotional, thoughtless way.
It’s an easy breathing technique that can be done anywhere.
Take three deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Allow the out-breath to be longer than the in breathe. Continue for longer if needed.
4. Leave the room.
In her book Anger Management Essentials: A Workbook for People to Manage their Aggression, therapist Anita Avedian recommends “changing your scene” if you’re getting worked up. Leave the room, take a walk outside, just get yourself out of the situation that’s fueling your rage — and then try applying tips 2 and 3 from this list.
5. Ask yourself if the person you’re angry at is really trying to hurt you.
We’ve all taken a comment the wrong way, especially if we’re hungry, tired, or stressed. So taking a minute to think about the true intention of a seemingly hurtful remark can cool a situation down pretty quickly. I mentioned this in my second book – ‘Creating Mindful Moments for your Family’ – long story cut short, a nurse apologized for getting really angry with me a couple of years previously as she was suffering from debilitating migraines. Thankfully I didn’t take it to heart, but it was a great reminder.
How do you manage your anger?