Control Your Anger Before it Controls You

Angry-Black-Woman

by Stephanie Linus Okereke

Control Your Anger Before It Controls You

We all know what anger is, and we’ve all felt it: whether as a fleeting annoyance or as a full-fledged rage. Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems—problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. And it can make you feel as though you’re at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion.

These are some ways you could handle that deadly feeling when it comes:

1) Give yourself a break. Make sure to schedule some personal time during especially stressful parts of the day. You might have a rule that the first 15 minutes after coming home from work will be quiet time, for example. With this brief respite, you’ll feel better prepared to handle demands from your kids without blowing up.

2) Better communication: Angry people tend to jump to conclusions, however far-fetched. If you are in a heated discussion, slow down. Listen carefully to what the other person is saying. And take your time before answering. Instead of saying the first thing that comes into your head, think carefully about what you want to say.

3) Relaxation: Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help soothe angry feelings.

4) Humor: Humor can help defuse rage in several ways. For one thing, it can help you get a more balanced perspective. When you find yourself thinking of a coworker as a single-cell life form, think what that would look like, picturing an amoeba sitting at a desk and talking on the phone. Or draw a picture. Doing so will take the edge off your fury or help defuse a tense situation. There are two cautions in using humor. First, don’t try to just “laugh off” your problems. Rather, use humor to help yourself face them more constructively. Second, don’t use harsh, sarcastic humor. Such humor is just another form of aggression.

5) Avoid what you can: If you get furious when you walk by your child’s messy room, shut the door. Don’t make yourself look at what infuriates you. And don’t tell yourself your child should clean up so you won’t have to be angry. That’s not the point: The point is to keep yourself calm.

 

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