Three Steps to Better Anger Management

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by Nathan Chua

It could get uncomfortable and uncontrollable. It feels like a tsunami of thoughts that come in and get you amped up to the point of no return. The world feels like it is falling apart and no one is listening. If you are like me, I know you struggle every day when you are confronted with stuff not happening your way. We who have anger management problems, often come from a history of anger outbursts and violence experienced in our early years. Something in the circuitry of our brains, just keeps us from letting our more complex brain functioning, hold us from blurting out the first epithet that comes to mind.

I am quite sure we are all interested in how it is that psychology can help us, or stop us from that next angry episode that we soon regret. Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) has produced certain techniques that could alleviate some of that struggle.

Here are three steps from Dr. Janet Wolfe, who uses REBT to treat clients with anger problems:

Take one long deep breath. If we do a quick search, we will find that relaxation is started with some breathing exercises. Doing this when there is a stimulus that makes us mad, can help slow the flush of emotions.

We have a choice. This is right out of the existentialist playbook. Much of our thoughts can become automatic. When we find ourselves on the verge of exploding in anger, we need to remind ourselves that we may not have a choice on what other people or the environment is doing to us, but we do have a choice on how we react.

Learn to say TS. Third but definitely not the easiest task, is to admit our own impotence. There are certainly more situations that we cannot avoid than those we can. TS stands for “tough s@#%.” We should understand that our humanity limits our capacity to do everything perfectly all the time. Recognizing this about ourselves and others will give us a more forgiving heart. TS anyone?

To end this post, just remember that there is a difference between a lapse and a relapse. Having anger management problems is a lifelong struggle. Count your blessings if you find yourself losing control less often than you have before. Consider that as an improvement and continue to love yourself, warts and all.

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