Sunday, February 20, 2011

Top 10 Tips for Anger Management

Mismanaged anger can make you sick. It can also  lead to road rage, workplace violence, divorce and addictions.
Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. ... when you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of your energy hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. ... The instinctive, natural way to express anger is to respond aggressively. ... Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—manner is the healthiest way to express anger. ...

Anger can be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behavior. The danger in this type of response is that if it isn't allowed outward expression, your anger can turn inward—on yourself. Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression.

Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments haven't learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren't likely to have many successful relationships.

Finally, you can calm down inside. This means not just controlling your outward behavior, but also controlling your internal responses, taking steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down, and let the feelings subside.

As Dr. Spielberger notes, "when none of these three techniques work, that's when someone—or something—is going to get hurt."

... Sometimes, our anger and frustration are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives. Not all anger is misplaced, and often it's a healthy, natural response to these difficulties. -

Here are the Top 10 Tips for anger management that I've found most useful (beyond the Holy Trinity of Health: Exercise, Eat right and Get enough sleep!)

  1. Slow down and think carefully

  2. "Silly humor" can help defuse rage

  3. Change your environment, take a little walk.

  4. Feel the anger. Pay attention to what your body does when it is angry. Anger is natural justifiable when confronted with frustration, pain, loss and the unpredictable actions of others.

  5. Express it in a clear assertive and constructive way.

  6. Learn to meditate so you can learn to identify your own thoughts and not get carried away by them

  7. Recognize tiredness and stress. I most often get angry after working 9 hours straight, for example.

  8. Focus on the issue, not on the person.

  9. Take responsibility for your action.  See your part of the interaction.

  10. Take a playful attitude in developing the skill of staying emotionally centered and self-controlled in high conflict situations.

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