Four Powerful Ways to Keep Your Cool

Four Powerful Ways to Keep Your Cool

I’ve felt it and some of my clients have described it as well…an intensity from within that has to come out, a powerful sensation that causes you to act or speak forcefully without thinking. You want to curse, punch or hit someone or something, tell someone what you really think – no holds barred. You’re compelled to release a visible and concrete display of your anger. Nothing less will do. It occurs to me that this is much like what “the cutter” does to release pain. While cutting is self damaging, in the cutter’s mind the sight of blood soothes and is a panacea for undeserved or unjust treatment. Another example of uncontrolled anger– not to make light of adult anger– is a two-year old throwing a tantrum. Unlike a two-year-old squalling and having body contortions, the consequences of an adult releasing his anger in a negative way can have far-reaching, long-term effects: personal body injury, physical and property damage to another, physical illness, legal issues, public embarrassment and other social consequences. The commonality among the cutter, the person with anger management issues and the two-year-old throwing a tantrum is that all of them feel helpless. They have not yet learned skills that give them self control. Additionally, the adult has not embraced his/her self-worth, so he/she is fighting for recognition, albeit in often unhealthy ways. It is crucial that adults with anger issues learn ways to combat the passion that besieges them so quickly. Below are four ways to immediately address this passion when it arises.

1. Breathe Deeply: When an individual is angry, he/she tends to take shallow breaths not sending sufficient oxygen to the brain. When one does not have oxygen to the brain, thinking becomes fuzzy. It’s been said that breath is the bridge between the body and your thinking process called mind.

2. Begin a dialogue with yourself: Ask yourself about the consequences of your actions. Are the consequences something you want to live with? What does your anger signify? Go deeper than the present. Do you lack patience? Are you feeling devalued, unheard? Is there a more personally or socially beneficial means of addressing the issue. Is your anger misplaced?

3. Pray: Ask for assistance outside yourself. If you have consistent anger management issues, consider seeking divine support. A prayer can be a word, such as, “Help.” It can be a scripture such as James 1:19, So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

4. Plan Ahead: Know your triggers. Avoid people, places, and situations that make you angry if you can. Limit your exposure when you cannot. Determine what has worked for you in the past and choose to use those strategies. Purpose to do what is morally, ethically, and legally right. Think through what it will mean about you and to you, if you do not manage your anger. Conversely determine what it will mean when you do manage your anger. I believe that the benefits of being in control far outweigh automatic responses devoid of reason.

In short, use your brain! Best wishes as you go forward. I’d like to hear from you about what strategies have worked best for you when you find yourself triggered. So feel free to share your success with anger management in the comment box.

Elizabeth G. Bridges, Counselor and Coach
Author of How Do I Get There from Here?
and Claiming Your Divine Calling available on the authors website–