Anger is a common human emotion, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a victim of its negative effects. As adults, we have an obligation to society and ourselves to avoid allowing our emotions from getting the best of us. As victims and survivors of domestic abuse, even the smallest thing can set you off — after surviving the traumas that we did. We have to work to NOT react similarly to our abusers!
There are many responses you can choose when faced with a situation that makes your blood pressure rise to an epic level. A responsible person finds a way to cool down their anger and find a way to bring peace and calm.
Learn to manage your anger (and arrive at a peaceful solution) with these strategies:
- Consider the negative consequences of anger. It’s tempting to run with your anger in the short term but giving in to anger can cause even more challenges. Before lashing out or taking what you consider to be appropriate steps, think about how things will be when the dust settles.
- Give yourself a timeout. Timeouts aren’t just for little kids. Adults need timeouts, too. Give yourself a few minutes to allow a level of reason to return to your brain. You’ll be in a better position to make appropriate decisions. Slow, deep breathing in through my nose, and blowing it out just as slowly through your mouth, works WONDERS!
- Let others be wrong. You don’t have to prove that someone is wrong. Just let them be wrong. If you have a strong desire to prove to them that they’re wrong, that’s just your ego barking. Especially if they are on the side of the ex, who is busy with their “smear campaign.” Take the high road and say nothing. Abraham Lincoln couldn’t have said it any better when he said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” Less is more.
- Decide if happiness or being right is more important. Many arguments are the result of wanting to be right. If you choose happiness over winning every argument, you can enjoy your life much more. Which is more important to you?
- Take a minute to notice your anger. Instead of mindlessly reacting to your anger, take a moment to examine it. Pretend you’re a third party witnessing your anger. What does it feel like to you? Is the feeling in your stomach, chest, or head? Is your heart beating faster? Are your hands shaking? By disengaging from your anger, you can gain a different perspective and de-energize your emotions.
- Ask yourself why you’re upset. Did someone physically harm you? Did they let you down? Violate one of your values? Figure out why you’re upset, and you’ll be halfway to finding a solution.
- Focus on the big picture. Imagine that you knew the world would come to an end next Friday. Would you really be upset if someone stole your parking space? Of course not. Will it matter next week? Next month? Next year??? Probably not.
- Look for solutions, rather than making yourself feel better. Acting in anger is about making yourself feel better. Rather than seeking to even the score, work on finding a solution. The outcome is much better when you don’t make rash decisions when your emotions are high with anger or sadness.
- Be sure you understand the situation. Why get angry before you know the facts? Ensure the issue isn’t actually a miscommunication or misunderstanding. Start a conversation, later, of course, to ensure your understanding was clear and your emotion/reaction valid.
- Learn relaxation techniques. The calmer and more relaxed you are regularly, the less likely you are to become angry. Relaxation techniques can also be helpful after the fact. Learn how to relax yourself. It’s a skill that can be learned. Talking a walk, listening to music, yoga, controlled breathing, meditation, tapping, havening — all of these work, just focus on what works best for you
- See your anger as a practice opportunity to find peace. Each time you feel upset, view the situation as a chance to practice your anger-management skills. It’s a blessing in disguise. Commit yourself to handle this bout of anger better than you did the last time.
Avoid letting anger get the best of you. As a thoughtful human being, you have options available to you. Seek to find solutions and peace rather than giving in to your immediate impulses. Make the smart choice!
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