Do you lash out once in a while or you tend to be passive-aggressive? Perhaps you love sarcasm a little too much when you feel annoyed or you are holding yourself from hitting someone. Maybe you are even the quiet one, keeping it all inside or you might feel like you don’t know how to direct the anger so it turns to tears. Being angry can be a real challenge if you let it take over.
The first step to anything is realizing the feeling you are having and how you react to it. Are people around you avoiding to talk to you, in case you explode? Do you immediately start cursing out, start yelling or feel like your blood pressure goes sky high very fast once you start feeling anger? Do you feel like you need to punch walls to feel relief? There are so many ways to express anger once you feel it. If you have come the point where you feel like enough is enough and you need to deal with how you blow off your steam, then there are some ways where you can calm yourself without explosions or internal fires.
Anger does not mean you are a bad person and it does not mean respect
Let’s get something straight. Just because you have negative outbursts while you are angry, it does not make it a fact that you are a mean person or that you are a bad person. It just means that you need to find alternative ways to decompress, communicate and resolve the tension you are feeling in the moment.
However, by being loud, threatening or getting closer to someone’s face DOES NOT mean that you will force someone to respect you by intimidation. Trying to scare someone into listening to you will not work.
Ways to prevent or minimize the anger
Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.Ambrose Bierce
Like it was mentioned earlier, realizing that you struggle with your reactions towards your anger is the first step to moving forward. Knowing the issue can help in order to take action and to work slowly in resolving the problem. You have to be mindful and open to the reality that you are struggling with this. Every time you are in a situation that provokes you or just starts bringing the anger out, you must give yourself a chance to think. What is it in that moment that is triggering you? How are you feeling and how is it that you want to react? Is your reaction going to solve anything? Is it worth arguing? How are you making the other person feel by your response to the situation?
Once you have had your little inner conversation and you are having a thought process instead of an immediate negative reaction to a situation, then you can be more open to communication. Express how you feel in that moment, to the other person. You can also break down what is happening by describing what is making you angry, how you want to react and you would like the to resolve things. If you do not know how you want to resolve it or do not know what is bringing the anger out, express that too. If the other person you are in conflict with is a rational one, then they might even help explain things or see things from a different perspective. Being open, does not make you vulnerable. You have to take into consideration of course the situation you are in and the person you are speaking with, but nonetheless does not mean you should react in an aggressive manner every time you are angry. Don’t act. Talk.
Focus on your breathing. As soon as you feel angry and your able to think things through instead of react to them, breath. Count 5 seconds while breathing in and 5 seconds by breathing out. Close your eyes and picture a happy and calm place. If you can, block any negative thoughts. If you can’t, push the negative thoughts away by saying positive ones to yourself. Tell yourself how you can remain calm and you can do this. Focus on the good things about yourself and how you are proud of them. Do this for 10 minutes. Try to do this every day regardless of whether you are in an argument or not. You can wake up first thing in the morning or plan it right before you sleep.
When we hold onto anger, it will build up. The more it builds up, the more you will tend to explode, lose control and just not be able to have a handle on things. What do you need to do? Well, one step is to let it go. As difficult as it sounds, you have to forgive. It could be to forgive the person you are mad at or it could be also to forgive yourself. You might have a lot of regrets with how you have been coping with your anger, which in return may make you more angry. Forgive and try to move on.
When you are in a heated argument where emotions and negative behaviors are taking center-stage, then nothing will get resolved in that moment. If you can not have a relatively calm conversation with other person and instead you want to yell, scream and tell the other person off then nothing will come out of it other than hurt feelings. In that moment, where either of you or both of you are losing control the best reaction to the situation is to leave. Leave the room and go to another one or go take a walk. Tell the person that you can not do this right now and you will come back once you feel calm. This will “force” you to not continue a toxic way of handling your anger, you will be away from the person which will calm you down and you can come back once you feel better equipped to have a proper conversation.
Ask for help:
It is NEVER too late to ask for help and it is not something to be ashamed of. Recognizing that you have a difficulty dealing with situations does not make you weak, incapable or unwanted. It just means that you are one step closer to being able to work on it, improve it and eventually eliminate it through persistence, effort and guidance. If you feel you need the extra support and that you are not able to successfully work on your anger, then ask someone that is willing to listen to you and provide you with the proper tools to give you that extra hand.
If you are looking for support and you are located near Ottawa, ON don’t hesitate to contact me for more information and to set up an appointment. I provide counselling to couples, families and individuals and am located on 323 Chapel Street in Ottawa, Ontario. You can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 613-620-0660 or you can find more information on my website at https://willowrootstherapy.ca.