Anger is destructive, damaging and exhausting. It’s the quickest emotion to show and the hardest to control. Especially in times of challenge there can be lots of reasons to feel the overwhelm of frustrations, restrictions and family stress.
If you or your child are quick to overreact and susceptible to angry outbursts, then follow these 3 simple steps to manage the negative and dangerous emotion.
AWARENESS: How to tune into your emotions, recognise what’s happening and get in front of the emotion before it takes hold.
ACCEPTANCE: How to be relinquish the internal battle, quieten the rising emotion, accept it for what it is and gain perspective over it.
ACTION: How to safely dissipate the negative energy, to bring in a calmness to help you find better responsive and safer choices to manage the situation you’re in. A simple and effective technique for all the family.
Let’s talk about ANGER!
When I was preparing for this topic I was chatting with my husband and business partner Ian Fox and he said… if you put a D before the word Anger, what do you get?
This is so true, anger is destructive and detrimental to our own health as well as the relationships with the people around us, causing a negative environment which serves no-one and affects everyone.
There are so many reminders in life, but only when we look for them AND be receptive to the lessons they can teach us.
Many people may be feeling short-tempered, impatient, frustrated and worried right now, you’re likely feeling it too.
We’re living in very emotionally charged times full or anxiety for loved ones, jobs and finances. Fear of the unknown, annoyances, stress of children and their home-schooling, boredom or just the fed-up-ness of it all can build into full blown, raging anger.
None of this is an excuse to behave and say whatever we like because we’re feeling the pressure of things right now. It’s simply an explanation of what can and does happen when those emotions bubble over into torrential fury!
Many parents and young people I help with emotions coaching say… “I’m not normally an angry person”. Which for the most part is true, but they’ve likely not experienced this prolonged level of pressure, uncertainty and fear before.
Circumstances change people. And it’s not until we’re tested that it truly tests our character and reveals who we really are.
To quote the late, great author, speaker and spiritual leader Wayne Dyer…
“When you squeeze an orange, what comes out?”
And many people’s answer (including mine when I first learnt this many years ago in my studies in self-improvement and well-being)… ‘Orange Juice’.
But the true answer is…
It takes a moment (or more so ponder on it!) to really grasp how profound and true that is.
In times of challenge, change and uncertainty, when we’re squeezed what comes out?
Our true character of course.
Even though people describe themselves as normally calm or tolerant, they’re now becoming tense, uptight, snappy, impatient, rude and irritated, quickly filled with anger and rage.
The last 20 years or so has seen technology advance quicker than at any other time, consumer choice on just about anything is at the click of a mouse or tap of a device and in less than 24 hours delivered to our door.
We have more than ever before and there in lies the rub!
The younger generations have not had to struggle, save, go without, or been significantly challenged to the point of building resilience and shaping character to manage this pandemic (or any other crisis).
They’ve been shielded by society, family and not been exposed to any such global disruption where the normal and comfortable life they knew has massively changed.
That’s when the true person is revealed!
Here are 3 ways to manage anger, build character and calm the internal raging storm.
Just like the eye of a storm, the angry outbursts need time to dissipate and calm. Awareness is about getting in front of the emotion before it takes hold to manage it better. This is not about NOT feeling it, it’s the recognition to stop it’s ferocity.
Let’s be clear you’re still going to feel the mix of emotions but as you become more aware you have better and safer options to handle it.
Anger is a choice, but subconsciously it’s the reactive trap many fall into and only realise when it’s too late.
Just as life has many lessons to teach us, emotions have triggers when we’re conscious of them.
And usually these are physical symptoms or warning signs we can train ourselves into recognising earlier on in the process to make better and healthier choices.
Think about the last time (may have been today! 😊) you got frustrated, impatient, annoyed, and angry…
Did your breathing change (heavier, faster, choppier)?
Did you get hot or cold?
Did your body start to feel tense?
Did you suddenly get a headache or some other physical sign?
Bringing awareness to what’s beginning to happen physiologically is the first step to getting in front of the emotion before it builds to the uncontrollable.
For me, I frown and get a bit sharper and heavier with my movements (as a teen I was that stomp up the stairs, door slammer type!).
As soon as this begins to happen, I immediately stop what I’m doing, take a few deep breaths and allow the emotion to settle, or get up and do something different for a short while.
This can be trickier for many, there’s a misconception that accepting something is giving in, failing or giving up. Firstly, it’s none of these things, and that’s just the ego trying to rationalise the need to hold on.
Accepting the situation or emotion allows you to gain composure, perspective and a certain level of peace with it.
It doesn’t have a hold over you, it’s not controlling your behaviour, you choose to accept how you’re feeling towards the situation or circumstance you’re in.
It was the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung that stated…
“what you resist not only persists but will grow in size.”
Think about it, how many times have you resisted and battled against something, holding on for goodness knows why, only to feel worse and the situation increase?
And even as you’re beginning the process of accepting, there’ll be an internal battle of resistance about accepting it.
If so, do this… if you can’t accept the situation or emotion, accept the fact that you can’t accept it! This takes a little time to grasp, but when you do is a powerful strategy to handle any negative emotion or challenge outside our control.
Whether you emotional explode or implode, anger has a lot of energy that first must be appropriately managed. Left to fester or bubble under the surface you’re setting yourself (and perhaps your family) on a harmful path to destruction.
Whenever you feel the physical signs (see point 1 Awareness), grab something soft such as a cushion or pillow.
Take a deep breath and squeeze it tight.
Then breathe out as you relax.
Repeat as many times as you feel to get rid of the initial build up of negative energy and safely disperse the internal rage.
If you have children who struggle with angry outbursts they can choose a soft toy and you can do this as a family to create healthy management of emotions.
Bring awareness to this squeezing and letting go process.
How are you beginning to feel?
What physical signs are you noticing now?
Is your mind starting to slow and become quieter?
What options or strategy are you going to choose to manage the situation more appropriately in this new calmer state?
With renewed perspective perhaps the situation that originally caused the emotion is not really what you first thought.
Stay calm, Be Strong and Keep Healthy.
Author: Annette Du Bois
Note: Please see the video below.
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