The arousal of anger is a normal to the human condition. Nevertheless, anger can be confusing and quite complex. Understanding the negative and positive attributes of anger can lead to effective control and expression of anger. If you are able to regulate your anger you can minimize negativity while maximizing the possibility of positive outcomes.
Being Honest with Yourself about Anger
The above comparison illustrates some of the complex and confounding characteristics of anger. Knowing healthy ways of reacting to stressful situations with constructive responses is the key to anger management. Frequent and highly intense angry outbursts is a signal that something is out of balance. Once you realize that you have difficulty controlling anger it is essential to consider some personal changes.
It is possible to commit to personal changes to reduce anger problems while improving coping and communication skills. The following are recommendations to make these changes:
1. If you experience reoccurring anger over daily experiences consider the situation carefully and examine a range of possible solutions. Select the solution which may minimize anger and still get the desired results. This approach requires careful consideration and some creativity. Weighing/exploring the pros and cons of each possible solution may help to determine your best plan of action. Writing down solutions and selecting the most effective solution can be quite helpful.
2. Seek advice from someone who has had similar situation, but remained cool and collected. Remember to ask this person both about internal (thoughts and feelings) and behaviors (how they reacted). Make an effort to use the same thoughts, feelings and behaviors when confronted with the provoking situation.
3 Use guided imagery. When you are settled and alone imagine yourself handling the situation in a calm effective fashion. This type of imagined behavioral rehearsal can help you respond more effectively when the anger arousing situation occurs.
4. Accept that aggravations are a real part of life. Unfortunately, life cannot always be fair. This acceptance will predispose you to provoking situations. By expecting aggravations you will increase your ability to respond calmly.
5. Monitor your stress level. When you identify you are at a higher than normal level of stress, when possible, avoid the situations which trigger your anger.
6. Consider an “attitude adjustment”. Generate positive thoughts about problems. View challenges as an opportunity to grow and learn new ways to resolve difficult situations. In addition, trade in sarcasm for a healthy sense of humor. Remember your attitude is how you view the outside world from the inside. Strive to maintain a healthy and positive attitude.
7. Be assertive when in a confrontation. Use “I” statements such as “I feel upset because”. Focus on the problem more than the other person. Being assertive means listening to the other party, showing understanding/empathy and communicates directly to the point. Pick your battles carefully. Know when to hold them and when to fold them. Sometimes the risks outweigh the benefits of entering into a particular conflict.
8. Stress reduction techniques such as regular exercise, mindful meditation and relaxation training will markedly increase your ability to respond effectively to conflicts.
9. Try expressing gratitude to others for simple day to day interactions. Also maintain a sense of gratitude for life’s small pleasures such as your abilities and minor positive experiences like nice weather or a calm moment. Gratitude has been proven to increase a sense of well-being and serenity.
10. If anger continues to cause personal problems realize that it may be time for professional help. The appropriate professional can guide you to make changes in a relatively short period of time. Surprisingly, learning anger management techniques will promote a dramatic transition form from frustration to effective coping.