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To Self: The Beginner's Guide To Managing Emotion and Thought"
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Top 12 Tools For
Top Notch Anger Management
By John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
1. Breathe. Take a deep breath in through
your nose for 6 seconds. Hold your breath for 2 seconds. Breathe out for 8
seconds. Breathe into your abdomen or belly. As you breathe in, your belly
should inflate like a balloon. As you exhale, your abdomen should collapse or be
pulled in toward your spine. Focus on breathing out all the old stale air in
your lungs. Repeat 5 times. Anger locks you into a certain way of viewing and
reacting to the world. Your breath is one of your most powerful tools to break
the hold of anger.
2. Get out in nature.
Take a leisurely stroll outside. Gaze at the trees, the clouds, the plants and
the birds. Studies have shown that a mere 20 minutes spent in a natural
environment has a restorative effect on the mind. Remember to breathe deeply
during your stroll. In June of 2010, a study came out in the Journal of
Environmental Psychology showing the vast mental health benefits of spending
20 minutes per day in nature. Twenty minutes surrounded by trees, birds, plants
and fresh air decreases anger, increases vitality, energy, mood and happiness.
One of the best ways to get feeling better is to reconnect with nature. Numerous
studies have linked increased energy and well-being to exposure to nature. A
simple wilderness excursion leads to increased feelings of happiness, less
anger, and better immune system functioning.
3. Get up and stretch. Anger creates
muscle tension. Anger locks your muscles as well as your mind in place.
Stretching is another key to unlocking the angry mind. It relaxes tightened
muscles. It improves oxygen flow to the brain which enables you to think more
Studies show that individuals who exercise more than 20 minutes per day, sleep
at least 7 hours per night, and eat healthy foods that are naturally colorful
have reduced feelings of anger and irritation, higher levels of happiness and
well-being. Have you worked out today? If not, take a brisk walk for 15-20
minutes (outside in nature of course!) to decrease anger, increase your level of
happiness and satisfaction with life.
5. Give yourself a pep talk! Say to
yourself, 'Hey, this is going to be okay!' Ask yourself, 'Is this going to
matter 10 years from now?' In most cases, the answer is likely 'No, it won't.'
Talking to yourself in an understanding, calming manner is another key anger
management tool. Train your brain so that in annoying situations, you tell
yourself, 'I'm supposed to learn something from this situation. I may not
know what that is right now, and that's okay. The calmer I stay, the more likely
I can continue making good decisions. I am a good person and I have
nothing to be ashamed of.'
Express your irritation early.
With awareness, let
anger out using words to express why you are angry. First you must work on
self-awareness so you know in the moment when you are becoming angry.
Address the anger before you escalate into a rage. Instead, be conscious of your
anger. It’s the only way to figure out exactly what is making you angry.
This step involves learning appropriate assertiveness where you can identify
what you need and share that need with others in a nonthreatening way. This
approach is far better than either sitting on your anger and stuffing it down.
It's also been shown to be more constructive than exploding in a rage which
often spirals out of control.
Pull out a piece of paper and write down your frustrations, irritations and
annoyances. What is making you mad? Why is it making you mad? There's no
need to hold back here. There's no need to worry about other people's feelings.
No need to be nice here. The goal of this tool is dump the anger out onto
the paper; to release it from your mind. Continue writing until you feel
the anger releasing it's hold on your mind.
Now let's turn to a few ways you can shift from a
negative (anger) to a positive feeling state (happiness, gratitude, relaxation).
grateful. Jot down 5 things for which you are
grateful in life. Write down 5 things which you do well. Note three things
that have gone well today and why they went well. For more on this topic, check
out a great book,
Guide To Self: The Beginner's Guide to Managing Emotion
and Thought. You can pick up a
free copy of this award-winning book just
for sharing your email address! This two-part exercise where you write down what
you are angry about followed by what you are grateful for is a powerful tool
unlocking the angry mind.
If you are a religious or spiritual person, it's frequently helpful to pray to
God for assistance and patience during this difficult time. Another approach is
to focus on what you are thankful for when you pray. Rather than ask God for
more courage, more patience, more of anything, come at the issue as if
you already have enough of what you need. For instance, 'Dear Lord, thank you
for giving me the patience and calm necessary to deal with these tough times.
Thank you for the ability which you have given me to learn and even thrive in
these touch economic times.'
perspective. Put yourself in the shoes of the
person with whom you are angry. See the world from their vantage point.
Sometimes we don't know enough about the person to judge them as good or bad.
Sometimes the situation is complicated and a correct decision or action is
difficult, if not impossible. This is the strength of empathy. Look at what
happened from their viewpoint. The more you practice empathy, the less intense
your anger will become. With practice you will come to understand that it is
nearly impossible to know enough about another person to judge them, as you
haven't walked every step of their life in their shoes. So we rarely are in a
position to judge. Think about how you come across to other people? How would
you like to come across? Make a conscious decision today in terms of who
you want to be and how you want to behave. Then act as if you are that
self-esteem has to do with how you feel about yourself generally,
self-compassion involves how you treats yourself when things go badly. The goal
is to treat yourself with the same type of kindness and compassion that most
people extend to loved ones when they fail. When someone else makes a mistake,
most people will react with some degree of kindness and understanding.
Self-compassion seems to turn down the volume on anger typically associated with
huge mistakes while still maintaining your sense of personal responsibility. A
2007 study at Duke University found that 'inducing self-compassion may decouple
the relationship between taking responsibility and experiencing negative
affect.' The way in which you do this is to speak to yourself as if you were a
three-year-old child. This allows for mistakes (which is a major path for
learning), screw ups, and errors. Self-compassion seems to be related to greater
resiliency (the ability to bounce back from difficulty).
12. Act boldly!
Make a conscious decision right now that you are going to muster the courage to
face and conquer your anger. Check out the free eBook at the top left of this
page. Sign up for the anger management skills training course at this site.
Learn all the essential skills to turn down the volume on anger AND to turn up
the volume on a happier, more fulfilling life.
It's amazing what some simple skills training can do to
turn down the volume on your anger and annoyance
turn up the volume on happiness
increase your chances of success
improve your relationships
Anger management includes the following powerful core concepts:
Education around the big three negative emotions
(anger, sadness and fear)
The infusion of positive emotion, meaning and
purpose in your life
Check out the myriad of ways in which John Schinnerer, Ph.D., the anger
management expert, can help you. Feel free to sign up for some
free online anger management classes. You
can learn from them in the comfort of your own home. All we need is your name
and email address for access to tons of free content. By the way, sign up now
and receive a
free award-winning 216 page eBook on emotional
Guide To Self
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