Anger Management seems to be a popular subject these days. Anything from Charlie Sheen’s new television sitcom to court ordered anger management classes for celebrities, sports heroes and fans, and even politicians and your everyday Joe. No one seems to know, understand or use proper anger management and rage control techniques and skills as basic as ‘think before you speak’ or just walk away until you cool off. Unfortunately the lack of these skills can land you in legal hot water, jail or even in the hospital.
- Physical Cues (how your body responds; e.g., with an increased heart rate, tightness in the chest, feeling hot or flushed)
- Behavioral Cues (what you do; e.g., clench your fists, raise your voice, stare at others)
- Emotional Cues (other feelings that may occur along with anger; e.g., fear, hurt, jealousy, disrespect)
- Cognitive or thought Cues (what you think about in response to the event; e.g., hostile self-talk, images of aggression and revenge)
And second, use what are called “Anger Reducers” to deal with hot emotions before they trigger an aggressive response;
How to use: When you recognize your cues, tell yourself “Relax, stay cool or other words to signal the start or relaxation. Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Imagine that you are trying to keep a feather a float with your breath. Use deep breathing until your cues subside.
Anger Reducer #2: Backward counting from 20 to 1
How to use: As soon as you experience a cue, start counting backwards from 20 to 1 until your cues are lessened. Repeat if necessary.
Anger Reducer # 3: Switch Thinking to a Calm Scene or Distraction
How to use: As soon as you experience an anger cue, it becomes your signal to switch your thoughts to a calm scene or distraction until you feel calmer.
Anger Reducer #4: Time Out
How to use: As soon as you experience your cues or see the other person getting too angry to talk to take a personal T/O (excuse yourself) or suggest you come back to the discussion later. It takes a minimum of 20 minutes to an hour before your flight or fight system can calm down.