I believe that the idea of ‘controlling your anger’ is a misconception. It suggests that anger is negative. Anger is neither good nor bad. Think about it as a message from your body about how it thinks you should respond to a given situation. Problems arise when you struggle to express your response appropriately and proportionally. The consequences to your health/relationships/work because of this struggle can be serious.
I am going to ask you to learn to understand this ‘how to respond’ message that your body is sending you. Change your relationship to your anger.
How to respond
Your anger may be a defence against difficult feelings. You may have triggers which activate and stimulate your fight or flight response. Or you may have got into some unhelpful thinking habits so…
Thoughts + Emotions + Physical Sensations = Response
My tip is to not focus on the end product – your angry outburst. Instead, examine what happened just before your outburst – what thoughts ran through your head – which emotions and physical sensations did you feel. This gives you the chance to notice how your thoughts whip up your emotions, which in turn leads to a heightened, disproportionate response.
The most common unhelpful thinking habits are catastrophising, being self-critical and making judgements. Once you notice which thinking habit you’re using you can start to understand how that contributes to your response. Then, you can choose to think differently. This takes practice but is hugely beneficial.
If you would like help and support in dealing with anger – I have created a new programme: Rage, Shame and Rejection – How to Break the Cycle, which will be coming soon – sign up to my fortnightly newsletter to find out more: https://www.emotionalsupportforyou.com/
If you get angry and impatient with yourself, using harsh words towards yourself that you wouldn’t say to a good friend, it’s time to start improving your relationship with you.
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