Getting Control of Your Anger

For many of us, learning to control our tempers is one of the hardest things in the world to do. Our societies have become places where people now feel comfortable to say, do or act towards you in any way they please, and whether right or wrong, your reaction to this can be devastating if you just let your anger fly.
Homicide and assault rates are up, and the prisons are full of people who just in the blink of anger reacted in a way to some offense that changed their life and someone else's forever. How can one hold their composure in the face of extreme adversity without completely losing it and possibly killing someone?
People do seem to try you more and more often these days. Even though they may be wrong, you have to be the one that stays firmly in control. Saying it is far easier than doing it in real life, though! As humans it is natural for us to react defensively or go into an extreme offensive mode when we feel threatened or attacked. Those of you with a hair trigger temper have it the worst. The smallest offense, word or look can make you go off the deep end. to get a hold on those destructive emotions that can get us into an even worse situation? Some anger managment techniques are definitely in order!

I'm no anger management expert, trust me, and I do have a quick to react temper at times. However, as I'm gaining some wisdom along with my years, I'm realizing that some of those sayings regarding this issue are definitely worth practising:

"Pick your battles". "Take the path of least resistance". "Be the bigger person". And my favorite "Ya gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run". (thanks, Kenny Rogers!)

One technique that I use a lot of the time when someone pisses me off is to

A) take a deep breath

B) walk away

and then

C) start counting backwards from 10.

Then I remind myself of how good my life is, how much I have to offer the world, how blessed I am and how easy it would be for me to lose it all by going to jail.

I then tell myself that this person who is offending me by being overtly rude is an idiot and maybe has some deep problems. Also, their life must be pretty miserable to be out in public like they are, trying make other people as miserable as they are by being mean and nasty. Their life must suck! This makes me feel much, much better! ;)

Sometimes walking away is really hard, but you have to think like Ghandi in these moments! My hardest task is backing off when someone gets physical. After all, one does have to defend oneself. However, upon looking back, and unless you're dealing with a total psycho, you can usually see where in that situation there was an opportunity to de-escalate it before it even got to that point.

I am noticing that people are hyper aggressive nowadays, and if I reacted and responded to all of them the way I really want to, I'd just be out here fighting all damn day. Well, there's no time for that!
I have a life! ;)

Got a quick temper? Well, now is a good time to begin working on that. It IS something that you can change, but it will take hard work and also the use of a few techniques. Remember, you can't control what other people do; you can only control the way you decide to react to it.

Here are some cool anger management techniques I found on the Mayo Clinic's website:

Anger management tips: 10 ways to tame your temper

10 tips to help get your anger under control

1. Take a 'timeout.' Although it may seem cliche, counting to 10 before reacting really can defuse your temper.

2. Get some space. Take a break from the person you're angry with until your frustrations subside a bit.

3. Once you're calm, express your anger. It's healthy to express your frustration in a non confrontational way. Stewing about it can make the situation worse.

4. Get some exercise. Physical activity can provide an outlet for your emotions, especially if you're about to erupt. Go for a brisk walk or a run, swim, lift weights or shoot baskets.

5. Think carefully before you say anything. Otherwise, you're likely to say something you'll regret. It can be helpful to write down what you want to say so that you can stick to the issues. When you're angry, it's easy to get sidetracked.

6. Identify solutions to the situation. Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work with the person who angered you to resolve the issue at hand.

7. Use 'I' statements when describing the problem. This will help you to avoid criticizing or placing blame, which can make the other person angry or resentful — and increase tension. For instance, say, "I'm upset you didn't help with the housework this evening," instead of, "You should have helped with the housework."

8. Don't hold a grudge. If you can forgive the other person, it will help you both. It's unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want.

9. Use humor to release tensions. Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Don't use sarcasm, though — it's can hurt feelings and make things worse.

10. Practice relaxation skills. Learning skills to relax and de-stress can also help control your temper when it may flare up. Practice deep-breathing exercises, visualize a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase to yourself, such as "Take it easy." Other proven ways to ease anger include listening to music, writing in a journal and doing yoga.

Try a few of them out! If one doesn't work, move on to the next! You, your family and your life are definitely worth it!


Steve Borgman on December 26, 2009 at 4:54 PM said...

As a therapist, this is one of the areas I specialize in, particularly with men. And believe me, I have to practice this myself! One of the best things we can practice daily is some form of meditation (not necessarily religious, but rather mindfulness, although if you are religious this is fine too). When we are in the habit of being mindful, in touch with ourselves, our needs, our emotions, we are going to be much less likely to go off on others. I have found that, for myself, it's when things build up and I am 'unconscious' of what is going on inside me, that I am most prone to lose it.

Monica on December 29, 2009 at 6:57 AM said...

Hi! I hope you had a great Christmas and have an amazing new year to come :)

Benjamin Auffarth on December 29, 2009 at 2:05 PM said...

Thanks for this great post. I think controlling your anger is a very important topic.

I am still reading a book by Paul Ekman about basic emotions and another one by Goldman about emotional intelligence to get a better grip of my feelings. I think it is very important to get to know oneself, to learn about one's feelings, and to read the feelings of other people.

I used to study cognitive psychology and read about empathy that it is an innate capability to read people's emotion. I think this is not true. I think reading emotions and knowing about one's feelings can be learned and it is a process that is not easy, which is why I can read both books only from time to time.

It is very enriching to know better about your feelings and that of other people. Among the principal emotions is anger and you can learn to see it coming, learn to correct it if it's not justified, and sometimes to be able to hold it down. I hope one day I'll be able to channel it and use it to become stronger.

Chemist on December 30, 2009 at 2:22 AM said...

i am short tempered and not able to handle my anger sometimes and then creating a big mess in front of people surrounding but when i am calm from my anger i feel like laughing on it, lol

Good tips, will try to follow while am in anger but lets see about control on it :p

The Fitness Diva on December 30, 2009 at 6:42 AM said...

Steve, thanks for stopping by.
You know, I think that we women are evolving into beings with a little more testosterone to deal more aggressively with our environments. That's why you'll find women out in public fighting almost as much as men these days. I don't think females were so quick to jump in the past, but now they are. Just my theory...
But, yes, meditation and any methods you can use to calm and control yourself are definitely beneficial to all. You should also teach your children how to do the same if you have them.
One less violent, out of control person on the planet is a big plus! ;)

The Fitness Diva on December 30, 2009 at 6:45 AM said...

Thanks for stopping by, Monica! All the same to you! ;)

Benjamin, I also have those books on emotional intelligence by Gold. Quite an interesting, informative read. If you harness it and nurture it, your emotional intelligence really can improve both your life and your status.
It's something I struggle with myself, anger is, and I know that relearning how I deal with and respond to threats and slights, real or imagined will only help me to be a happier person. It's really a hard one for many of us.
Thanks for dropping in! ;)

The Fitness Diva on December 30, 2009 at 6:47 AM said...

Hi, Chemist, and thanks for stopping by.

Yes, getting control of it is the thing! It's hard, though, isn't it sometimes?

Just gotta keep working at it!

Thanks for stopping by!

BK on December 30, 2009 at 8:52 PM said...

It is when we are angry that we say the thing we do not really mean it. It is truly best to just keep our mouths shut and walk away for a while to cool down. Yet this is a big challenge for most people. Most people when antagonize, they just want to retaliate and do not want to appear weak by walking away. We have to understand that walking away is not necessary the sign of weakness. It takes greater courage and strength to walk away and be in control of our emotions.

kumowai on December 30, 2009 at 11:33 PM said...

Happy New Year and best wishes.

quick ways to lose weight on December 31, 2009 at 12:55 AM said...

Anger is never healthy, natural or useful. Stop worrying, doubting, replaying the past, blaming the self or others and criticizing. Allow them to pass and you will find yourself becoming calm. Peace will come to you.

Akira on January 1, 2010 at 2:17 AM said...

Yes, shall this be one of the resolution for the new year, but not that I'm someone with short temper though.

Happy New Year to you, Fitness Diva!

Dr.Alex on January 1, 2010 at 8:56 AM said...

Panic attacks, agoraphobia, irritability, and many other symptoms are a similar cry for help from your nervous system. It is saying, “Do not abuse me; I have had enough.” It is often hard to convince someone who is experiencing panic attacks that they are not the onset of some terrible disease.

Grace on January 2, 2010 at 5:09 PM said...

Hi. I am a short tempered person. Number one in my NYR is to control/manage this.
Thanks for this post. It will definitely be of help.
Happy New Year!

New Zealand Tours on January 3, 2010 at 1:51 AM said...

Take a few deep breaths whenever you feel angry. That's my technique!

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