A Simple Guide to Taming Your Anger Before It Controls You

A Simple Guide to Taming Your Anger Before It Controls You
October 20, 2017

“Don’t make me angry, Mr. McGhee. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” – Dr. David Banner, opening credits of The Incredible Hulk

It’s pretty hard to inspire others if you are walking around with a belly full of anger.

Experiencing unjust treatment, hearing criticism, or just not getting what you want when you want it triggers sensations that feel like anger.  Psychologists even recognize boredom as a mild version of anger represented as dissatisfaction with what is happening at a given moment.

Anger can be healthy at times but resorting to anger to deal with everyday situation is not the smartest answer. Anger is reactive and often shows up when we have not learned how to understand and deal with our emotions. Anger is not an involuntary emotion although it can feel that way sometimes, but you can regulate it.

Instead of getting into uncomfortable situations, making others feel humiliated or angry right back at you, or getting to the point you say something you end up regretting, we can identify what triggers the angry response and figure out how to deal with it.

Easier said than done. I know.

Anger is often buried underneath other emotions such as fear or sadness. But different than fear or sadness, anger raises our blood pressure providing a flow of energy that can make you feel powerful rather than helpless, vulnerable or frustrated.

How to Deal with Anger:

The formula is simple, but it requires a genuine commitment and desire to regain control of what’s controlling you. It’s common sense, but not common practice.

Are you ready for change?

I often ask my clients what it would mean to live life with less anger, frustration and regret? What would it be like to have the emotional intelligence to pause before you react?

I know it takes commitment because I was that leader, that mom, that spouse who was quick to anger. Don’t get me wrong, anger at injustices in the world is a good driver, especially if you are ready to do something about it. Anger with those around you? Not so much. Anger used to fuel me and gave a false sense of control.

The result was never, ever a good one. Never.

A simple guide:

Increase your awareness.

The next time you feel your blood pressure rising, regardless of its intensity, pause. Pause for at least 3 seconds to check in with yourself and see if you can identify what’s the real emotion driving the anger.

Is it fear? Frustration? Could it be sadness or disappointment?

At first it might be hard to notice anything but the anger. It comes on so fast! If that’s the case, start by exploring your thoughts. Keep in mind the shift from fear, frustration or sadness into anger happens fast and sometimes you don’t even realize it. It might take several times until you learn to control it before it controls you.

By identifying the triggering emotion (sadness, frustration or fear), you will be able to choose a more subtle course of action.

Can you identify the real emotion you are trying to shy away from?

Once you have, lowering your anger volume and actively cultivating inner peace will become easier.

For example:

Your team member hasn’t completed the work she committed to finishing. You start to feel the surge of anger, which is OK. Take a long deep breath. Slowly release it. Share how you feel with the person that you’re angry with using an “I” statement. (It’s about how you feel…nobody else can make you feel a certain way without your permission.)

“I feel (angry/upset/flustered/disappointed) when you make a commitment and don’t follow through.”

Then,  get curious and ask “what” questions.

“What happened?” – Allows the other to explain.

“What could I have done differently to support you on this?” – Tells the other that you care and want to help.

“What do you recommend to solve this situation?” Empowers the other to come up with a solution.

It takes practice, commitment and a true desire to be a person that inspires other rather than a person that pisses people off.

Who do you want to be?

 

 

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Posted in Healthy Tricks, Mindset by Mari Pizarro | Tags: ,