Anger is a natural human emotion that each of us encounters in a variety of circumstances – from minor everyday situations, such as being stuck in traffic jams, to deep states related to childhood wounds. Anger usually ranges from irritation and fury, but at certain moments it can take forms that are harmful to our mental and physical health.
In order to stop your anger from becoming a destructive fury, you need to understand what the emotion is and learn at what stage it gets out of your control. The following tips and information will help you learn how to create your own strategy for more difficult moments, as well as understand the mechanisms that govern them.
Step 1 – your mind
The first, and possibly most crucial step is to identify and name the events, experiences, or situations that trigger your anger. It is best to write down what is their “spark”, “fuse” or “switch”.
Most often, these are situations such as: getting stuck in a traffic jam, being late for a meeting, other people being late, a mess at home, others not returning things to their place, partner’s habits that we cannot accept (e.g. leaving cups in different places). As you can see, it is a mixture of situations that we can prevent (us being late) and those that we have no influence on (traffic jams, public transport delays).
Step 2 – your body
Once you have a list of what’s happening in your head, it’s time to observe how your body behaves with these triggers. The bodily signals are some of the clearest and — perversely — most ignored “alarms” our body sets off when it feels under threat. Your body is a very valuable tool that allows you to spot a difficult emotion at an early stage. It is extremely important to react in a timely and effective manner to solve an emerging or growing problem.
The most common body reactions are chest tightness, a feeling of rising heat, sweating, teeth grinding (often unconscious), clenching the hands, tightening the muscles, increasing heart rate, and biting the nails or cuticles around them.
Step 3 – exercise on the scale
Once you know the most common things that make you angry and tense, as time goes on you will begin to notice the warning signs your body sends you before the “final blast”. This is the moment when you have to stop and look at the problem from above. It is a good idea to use the scale exercise, i.e. rationally (if possible) comparing how strong your negative emotions are in relation to the situation and the effects of the reaction.
When you see how disproportionate your frustration is, it’s easier to stop it from escalating. Eventually, you’ll notice that getting furious if someone doesn’t put the dishes back in their place doesn’t help at all but only exacerbates the negative consequences. The more rationalization in this process, the better.
Step 4 – a new dimension of relaxation
It is well known for a long time that rest is the best food for our brain and an opportunity for regeneration. A relaxed mind becomes more flexible and creative, which favours solutions rather than problems. That is why every day you should take care to spend at least 30 minutes relaxing, using this time just for yourself. Although everyone has their own ways to do it, we recommend that this rest be as effective as possible, so avoid watching TV, reading gossip websites, talking on the phone and scrolling social networks.
Use your half an hour to breathe with your eyes closed while listening to relaxing music, perform a bath ritual with incense and candles, meditate, create affirmations, stretch your body or lie under a sensory blanket. Focus all your attention on yourself, don’t get distracted and avoid too many stimuli, and after just two weeks of regular relaxation sessions, you’ll see a real difference!