What do you think of when you think of anger management? Someone who has a problem with his or her temper and needs to manage it – for other people?
That’s accurate, but it’s not the whole story. If you’ve got a problem with anger, you have to learn how to manage it for your own benefit.
Anger can be a Positive Emotion in the Short Term
Not all anger is bad. It can be a healthy if temporary response to perceived wrongdoing by someone else, and a catalyst for change. But if not managed properly, it can threaten your physical and emotional well-being.
Do you Truly “manage” Your Anger?
You might think you‘ve got a handle on your anger if you rarely lose your temper. That’s not true, though, if you’ve got resentment bubbling as an undercurrent all the time. This can be harmful to other people, of course, but it’s also harmful to you.
How Self-Care can Lead to True Anger Management
To truly manage anger, you can’t just control it. You must learn self-care skills that will soothe and ultimately heal it.
It’s normal to want to have somebody “fix” our problems, including those we may have with anger. This isn’t realistic or healthy, though. Instead, you must cultivate anger management skills through self-care.
Self-Care Techniques That Heal Anger
- Learn to be kind to yourself
“What?” you may say. “I thought anger management was about being kind to other people.” Not quite. You can’t truly be kind to other people until you learn to be kind to yourself.
Listen to your self-talk. Is it full of criticism, judgment, despair, and yes, anger? If so, you need to begin to cultivate a kinder attitude toward yourself.
Start by countering those statements as if you were soothing a friend. You don’t even have to believe what you say, at first. Continue; you’ll see that your feelings will begin to change and that as long as your actions have followed suit – and they will – you’ll begin to believe what you tell yourself.
- Spend some time every day simply “being”
It’s key to anger management that you spend just a little time every day to simply be present and to sit silent.
One of the easiest ways to simply “be” is to concentrate on your breath. Sit somewhere quiet and still. Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold it, and breathe out. If you wish, use a mantra as you do so, for example, “Peace.”
- Do something fun – every day
What did you do for fun when you were a kid? Even something simple, like bouncing on a mini-trampoline, can put you back in touch with joy (and it’s also great exercise, by the way, another anger-buster).
- Be aware of and plan for triggers
As you focus on healing your anger, you may still have triggers that set you off. That’s okay. Put a plan in place to deal with them. What will you say or do when anger arises? Plan ahead and you can thwart anger before it takes hold. Continue to practice self-care as you do so. Eat well, exercise, spend time alone and with people you love, focusing on the positive.
- Let go
A lot of anger may come from old past hurts that may not even have anything to do with life today.
Letting go is all about setting yourself free. If you can’t “forgive” old wrongs, it’s okay. “Let go” of them instead (and if necessary, the people involved in them). When you let go, you’re free, and you set your anger free, too.
Do you or a family member need help with anger management? Contact us for a free 30 minute consultation today.
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