Is your anger at risk of getting out of control?

Here are four tips that I've recently been focusing on with my clients.


They’re pretty general, but I think they really work.


1.) Identify Your Triggers.
So, what does that mean? It means paying attention to your body and emotions and feeling in your body to find where your anger starts. Then, take note of the kinds of things that make you mad. It can be one thing or a combination of things... Sometimes it’s everything happening at once and other times it can be during a transition (e.g., when something is starting or ending or you’re leaving or someone’s coming into your space). It may be that it’s a hectic time of the day (e.g., getting through breakfast time when you’re trying to get onto the computer to start work) or when people are asking you too many questions. So, get to know how your anger shows up and take note.

2.) Notice the Early Warning Signs.
They’re easy to miss. Do you clench your jaw?  Do you start to feel nervous or short of breath?  Do you begin clenching your fists? Do the muscles in your shoulders become tight?  Do you start interrupting people or talking faster or louder?  The sooner you can identify when you are becoming angry, the sooner you can regain control and prevent an angry outburst.

This is my favorite part of learning about anger (yes, I have a favorite part) — the work around changing your perspective.
3.) Change Your Perspective.
You can always ask yourself questions to get yourself to think rationally because what’s happening is that the mind is getting very emotional and the rational part of the mind is being hijacked. Questions such as: 
  • Am I just overly tired, hungry, or thirsty?
  • Am I frustrated about something else?
  • Am I assuming the worst?
  • Am I jumping to conclusions?
  • Am I taking someone’s behavior personally?
  • Are my expectations matching the other person’s expectations? (Probably not, because we’re probably going into different directions.)
4.) Interrupt the Anger Sensation.
I do the opposite breathing technique and move away to take some space. But it can take several forms, such as taking a shower, going for a run (if you can), listening to calming music, or just lying down for a minute to reset.
We have to work to get a handle on our big emotions — because, if we can’t control them... who else can?

If you’d like to hear me talk more about anger management, you can listen to my discussion with a well-known, anger management coach. I’ll be sending it out soon, or you can click here to receive it.

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