We all get angry from time to time, it’s part of being human. But, it can sometimes seem like our anger controls us instead of us controlling it. This doesn’t have to be the case though. Here at the Oasis Center, we are working with individuals to help them learn to control their anger to move forward in life. With just a few steps you can start training yourself to control your anger before it controls you. It may take a little bit of practice, but you will quickly see an improvement if you follow these steps.
Acknowledge Your Anger
The first thing you need to do to get a handle on your anger is to acknowledge it. Learn to recognize the anger building and realize when you are angry. This will separate you from your anger just a little bit and allow you to get it under control. With time and practice, you may even begin to recognize it building and put an end to it before you ever get angry. Recognize the physical signs, an increased heart rate, clenched fists, shaking, and holding your breath. When you become aware of your anger, you are ready to move on to the next step.
Ask Yourself if You Can Fix the Problem
In the moment ask yourself, is this a problem you can fix? Some things that we get angry about are completely beyond our control, like getting stuck in traffic. Will getting angry about it solve anything? The answer is of course no. If your anger is caused because your child is misbehaving in the grocery store, that is something you can fix. Is your child doing it because they are bored? Hungry? Fix the cause of the misbehavior and stop the anger in its tracks.
Take 10 Deep Breaths
Taking the example of the child misbehaving…sometimes, that is beyond your control. Sometimes you’re stuck with no toys, no food, and you just have to keep going. When it’s a problem you can’t fix, or even when it is one you can fix, take 10 deep breathes to calm down. Your heart rate will slow, giving you the opportunity to unwind. If that doesn’t work, do 10 more, this time counting down from 10.
Finally, there are times when your anger has already come so close to the surface or it has even burst free that none of the previous techniques will work. It is ok if this happens. The important thing to do is to recognize when it happens and give yourself the grace of walking away. This is a great time to go stand at the end of your yard with your back to the house or go scream into a pillow if you need to let off steam. Remember that this is not a failure. You’ve still recognized your anger and removed yourself from the situation rather than yelling at someone. Don’t beat yourself up about it, just take the time you need to calm down. After you’ve calmed down you should evaluate the situation. See where things went wrong and what you can do to prevent it from happening again in the future.