Anger is intrinsic to our being. Just hours after birth, the hungry and frustrated baby is already experimenting with it. The monkey knows it too. Since the time of Aristotle (400 BC), it is related to the philosophers to a moral fault: the right and right man must be able to contain the passions of his soul. The Church sees it as a sin, an attack on asceticism that requires perfect mastery of one’s inner appetites. (source)
Anger management is not the denial, nor the attempt to suppress all the feelings that can arise from the emotion. Its management consists of learning to cope with it.
We have all experienced a wave of anger, to varying degrees, from time to time. When someone cuts us off in traffic, when a family member causes conflict … In these situations and many other scenarios, the temptation to use anger is very convincing. If a strong wave of anger occurs, it is best to accept his presence and control it.
1. PRACTICE RELAXATION
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “relaxation techniques” such as deep breathing and relaxing images can help calm feelings of anger. “
The APA offers some specific practices that can help:
- – Breathe deep from the diaphragm because “chest breathing” will not promote relaxation.
- – Repeat reassuring words, such as “relax,” “calm” and “I control” can help. It is recommended to practice deep breathing during this exercise.
- – Use images, visualize something that brings relaxation – either from experience or imagination.
- – Yoga exercises, meditation, tai chi can help relax muscles while promoting relaxation.
2. IDENTIFY A POSSIBLE SOLUTION
Instead of focusing on the thing that makes you angry, make a conscious effort to solve the problem. Does your child’s erratic behavior upset you? Look for something that will occupy it. Does your friend or family member do anything to push you to your limits? Calm down and have a constructive dialogue or set clear boundaries.
Stay aware that uncontrolled anger does not solve anything. In fact, the result is often much worse. Breathe deeply, keep a certain self-discipline, and think about a rational solution.
3. FORGIVE AND (POSSIBLY) FORGET
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful antidotes to resentment. Letting anger and other negative thoughts and feelings distort and disrupt everyday life only leads to bitterness, anger, and pessimism.
If you can forgive someone who has provoked feelings of anger, you will both learn a valuable lesson. For you, the ability to forgive shows that no one can control your state of mind. For the person who provoked your anger, the tolerance you have can be enough to remind him of the importance of keeping his promises.
If a person repeatedly betrays you, it is probably time to reconsider the relationship. Depending on the frequency of the offense and the nature of the offense, forgiving rather than forgetting may be the best (and healthiest) solution.
4. COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING
Angry people tend to swear, curse, or act erratically when confronted with a stressful situation or person.
Cognitive restructuring is only about changing the way we think. The reason this method is so effective in managing anger is that our thoughts are instantly dramatized and exaggerated when we are angry.
Instead of saying “it sucks”, “I’ll be late”, recognize the situation and say “I do not control this situation”, “I’ll stay calm, and they’ll find a solution”, etc.
When we make the conscious effort to rationalize our thoughts, there is much more chance of getting a favorable result.
5. ENHANCE YOUR LISTENING CAPACITY
When we improve our listening skills, we instantly improve communication between the other person and us. This builds confidence, and this confidence can help mitigate potentially hostile thoughts and emotions.
Showing to another person that you really are listening shows three things:
(1) it shows that you are serious,
(2) it shows that the thoughts and emotions of the other person matter, and
(3) it establishes or reinforces feelings of empathy.
Sometimes a person who gets upset simply needs to be understood. Active listening fulfills this need for understanding and more.
When we practice the methods described above, we invite peace and contentment, rather than anger and other negative states of mind.