Anger is a natural emotion that we all experience. In fact, knowing when to show aggression is critical to your emotional survival. But has the wear and tear of the daily grind caused you to lash out at people lately? If your anger has been getting the best of you, try these tips to gain control:
Calm yourself. Most of us can feel when an “anger attack” is coming on – your heart beats faster, your skin gets hot and irrational phrases flood your thoughts. When you feel these triggers, breathe deeply from your diaphragm until you feel your body begin to relax. You may want to physically remove yourself from the situation before you say anything you will later regret. Give yourself some space and, when you feel less volatile, return to the situation with fresh eyes.
Identify the source. Write down what triggered your anger. For example, did you get mad because a colleague disrespected you? Next, try to uncover why you feel vulnerable in these situations. Do you have a hard time valuing yourself, forcing you to seek approval from others? If you can uncover the beliefs you have about yourself and your abilities, you can begin to shed insecurities and unnecessary aggression.
Uncover old history. Does the person or event that set you off remind you of someone or something from your past? Sometimes the emotional response is greater than what is warranted because of unresolved feelings. If you are hysterical, it can be historical. When the intensity of your emotions hit, check out what you’re feeling and where it comes from.
Communicate. Small problems are amplified when we jump to conclusions before we know all of the facts. When something angers you, slow down, note your reaction and listen to what others around you are saying. It might not be as bad as what you are projecting – don’t fill in the blanks on your own.
Use compassion. Some people have a low tolerance for frustration. They expect things to go according to plan and, when they don’t, can feel annoyed – not only with others, but with themselves. The next time you’re upset with yourself, try responding with compassion: “This is uncomfortable, but I will get through it. It’s really not that bad.”
Be creative. Sometimes you can avoid what sets you off. Do you find yourself seething in morning traffic? Maybe it’s time to find a more scenic route, even if it means it will take you 10 more minutes to get to the office. Can’t stand a gossiping coworker? Find a new path to the restroom so you don’t have to pass her desk. Eliminate stressors when you can.
Venting your anger will have a calming effect. Unleashing your anger verbally or physically may cause the situation to escalate.
If you ignore how you feel, it will go away. A resentment that is not expressed is here to stay. Learn how to communicate your feelings to prevent anger overload.
Anger isn’t something you can control. While you can’t always control the situation, you can control how you react. Choose to step back and process the upset.
Showing anger is a way to gain respect. You can be assertive without being aggressive to get others on your side and accomplish the task at hand.