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Five Ways To Stop Being So ANGRY
 
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29-May-2016  
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Do you get angry? I don’t mean from time to time (everyone does – it’s normal). But really cross, and a lot? If so, you’re not alone. In a recent NHS survey, more than one in ten people polled claimed that they had trouble controlling their own temper.

Managing these feelings is important, as apart from making you unpleasant to be around, anger has a raft of health dangers from elevating blood pressure and risk of heart attacks to depression and anxiety.

I’m an NHS clinical psychologist who ran an anger management service for more than ten years and I’d like to share the programme that my colleagues and I delivered – with fantastic results.

1 WHEN DO YOU GET ANGRY?

Anger is often confused with what it can lead to: violence and threats. But on its own it’s a vital resource as it represents energy – like electricity – mobilising the body for action. But we need to be able to control this energy.

Monitor your anger by keeping a diary of what made you angry, what response you noticed in your body and how you reacted. Try to write one line each day. It’s important that you notice and write down even small things getting under your skin, as well as any major bust-ups. Look back at your anger diary. Do you see any patterns?

2 WHAT MAKES YOU MORE LIKELY TO LOSE IT?

Now jot down a list of the sorts of situations where you lose your temper. People who come to anger-management classes often insist their anger comes from nowhere and takes over. Probe deeper and it becomes clear that there are some situations that cause explosions and others that don’t. In what situations would you never or very rarely lose your temper? Note down examples.

In situations where you do feel angry, what happens? Think of recent examples. What happened afterwards? See if you can discover some connections. Lack of sleep, hunger, pain and other ill health can also exacerbate – or ‘disinhibit’ – anger, as can being put under pressure. Alcohol, too, may be a trigger.

Try to list the things that affect your temper. For each one, write down how much control you have over that factor.

 For example, if your workplace is noisy, there might be little that you can do about that. However, you can get more sleep by going to bed earlier.

3 DON’T JUST BOTTLE IT UP

If you block emotions off in one place, they tend to leak out somewhere else. Inhibited anger sticks around as stress, which is the body being at a high level of readiness for action without anything physical to do. 

So how do you let go of chronic stress? Regular exercise helps, as does facing up to things such as negotiating with people. And you should beware of perfectionism and trying to please everybody.

Use the following mindfulness exercise to manage the uncomfortable feeling you get when things are not to your satisfaction: bring yourself into the present, be aware of your body, your surroundings and your breathing. Be aware of your thoughts and that they are just thoughts. If the thoughts are emotional, note the effect they are having on your body. Notice where you experience this. Be aware that it is just your body reacting as it will – just an event in your body.

Let go of both the thoughts and the tension in your body. Come back to being you in the present. You are more than both your thoughts and your body tension.

4 NOTICE YOUR EARLY WARNING SIGNS

Keep writing in your anger diary. Are you getting better at noticing when something has got to you, even if it hasn’t resulted in full-blown anger? Look at what you’ve written about the reaction in your body. 

Does it involve any of these responses – the heart rate speeding up, breathing becoming rapid and shallow, muscles tensing, the mind going into tunnel vision concentrating on the threat and failing to take in the bigger picture?

The key to taking charge of your anger reaction is picking up those early-warning signs before you do something you will regret.

Try this exercise: breathe for a count of one, breathe out for a count of two. Have a short rest before breathing in again. Focus on relaxing your muscles on the out breath.

Start practising this technique when you are quite relaxed – it will not work if you start straight away at times when you are very tense. Get good at it, and it should work for you when you need it.

5 SWITCH OFF ‘WIND-UP’ THINKING

Make a list of the sort of phrases that occur to you when you’re angry, for example ‘I ought to be able to please everybody’ or ‘People should agree with my point of view.’ You can choose how you think and that is crucial.

Letting go of your common ‘wind-up’ thoughts and substituting different ways of thinking will enable you to approach the future more calmly. 

For example, if you see bad driving, you might think: ‘People who drive like that ought not to be allowed on the road.’ An alternative thought would be: ‘At least I have the skills to avoid the worst.’











 
 
 
Source: Dailymail.co.uk
 
 

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