Neil Warner

Neil Warner

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Common strategies for anger control

All of us have experienced different types of anger, and that is normal...what is worrisome is the uncontrolled expression of one's anger against others. There are a lot of suggestions to learn how to control the spontaneous anger reaction into a different response that could, in fact, improve our relationships.

Anger management strategies include a restructuring of the way one views and thinks about life situations - and more. Here are some widely-recommended anger management approaches -see links below for more details:

• Relaxation daily. One needs to control the physical response as well as the emotional. Meditation, prayer, relaxation techniques - all serve to lower the heart rate.
• Soothe yourself throughout the day: Say "Relax, you're OK, everything's going to be all right, take it easy."
• Replace cussing and high drama with non-intense words: "It's just a little frustrating but we'll fix it," or "It's not the end of the world."
• Learn good communication skills - you might be saying things that unwittingly cause some of your own frustrations. See, or look for "conflict resolution techniques" books and web sites.
• Replace emotion with logical observation: "The toaster broke. All things, sooner or later, break or stop functioning; it's normal. I need to put the repair on my list."
• Start using positive expressions: "We'll get there", "Inch by inch it's a cinch." "What can I accomplish with this extra time?"
• Don't demand, but ask and listen: "Would you have time to do such and such?"
• Say "I would like" instead of "I must have." "I would like" mentally gives you more time to get it, reducing frustration.
• Postpone problem-solving, you don't need to find a solution this minute. Be like Scarlett O'Hara. Say, "Oh well I'll think about that tomorrow."
• Postpone responses in conversations. Physically stop your tongue and breath. Especially in heated discussions. You don't need to say anything at all. Say, "I'm thinking about it" or "I need more time to digest that," or "Interesting, I'll have to think about that."
• Develop empathy. When someone criticizes you focus on them and their feelings and try to imagine how they are feeling. The ability to empathize with others quickly on the spot is the hallmark of emotional maturity.
• Make humor a priority. Read jokes, watch funny movies, try to incorporate laughing into your daily routine. This diffuses situations that used to make you tense and defensive.
• Eliminate sarcasm and sarcastic humor from your mind and your daily exposure.
• Give yourself a break - especially after work. Transition time alone will go a long way to help you remember all of the above.