3 Steps to Help You Diffuse Your Anger

What if I told you there's nothing wrong with anger?! You may or may not agree with me.

There's nothing wrong with anger alone, but it's when anger gets out of control, either internally or externally, that we need to take some action.

Step 1: Stop.

Perhaps you have never really stopped to think about the toll anger may be taking on you. If you're a "nice" person, you may be out of touch with your own personal thoughts, feelings, and rights. Perhaps you grew up making peace with everyone around you so that everyone in your family would stay happy. Well, that may have worked then, but it won't work in the long run. Because underneath all that anger may be a world of hurt and sadness. And you may feel trapped, because you may not know how to get your needs met.

If you are an internalizer, I encourage you to start finding ways to express yourself.

Consider journaling, or talking with a professional counselor. Or you may read some books on Assertiveness. Or you may Google the term and find some helpful exercises to help you practice. You may also want to check out some free assertiveness audio programs at your local library.

Maybe you are an externalizer.

You've gotten used to "letting it all out." You yell, scream, berate. Or you may throw things or punch things. It's just the way you are, and you often feel better. You may even pride yourself on your ability to express yourself.

But maybe this way of dealing with life has caught up to you. Maybe you've gotten negative feedback from customers or your boss. Or from a police officer. Or from your partner, who is tired of dealing with your anger outbursts.

Count the cost. Is it worth holding on to this way of letting your anger out? Stop! And add up the price tag of this way of living.

Step 2: Look.

The first step, Stop, will continue to be helpful in different situations that come up in your life. You will blow it a few times as you seek to develop healthier ways of diffusing your anger. But remember that new habits take time, just like losing weight, or learning to ride a bike. Just because you go off your diet or fall off the bike does not mean that you give up!

Look means that you start learning what triggers you. Is it a certain way that your partner looks at you? Are there particular situations that cause you to "lose your cool?" I encourage you to start making an anger log. Write down each incident as it comes up, noting the Situation, your feelings, your thoughts, and how you responded. Over time you will gain greater control of your anger.

Step 3: Act.

Acting may mean that you choose to walk away from the situation while keeping your mouth shut. Take some deep breaths and count to 10, or to 20, or to 100!

If you're an internalizer, however, you may want to have some key scripts or phrases that you have memorized so that you will not be tongue tied in these situations. Like the externalizer, you may need some cool-down time, but make sure that you take the time to express yourself when you're feeling more calm.

Stop! Look! Act! I hope these three steps to diffusing and managing your anger prove useful to you!

Hello. I'm Steve Borgman, a licensed professional counselor interested in your personal growth and development. I write two blogs: Prosper With Aspergers, http://www.myaspergers.net, and Personal Success Factors, http://www.personal-success-factors.com Please stop by!

Image Credit: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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