WELL: Part four
. . . Part 4 of a series of four articles on Anger Management
Concerned about your anger? Does it feel like a symptom of "worseness" rather than wellness? Is your anger behavior becoming noticeable or disruptive in the workplace? Have your personal relationships begun to suffer?
In this series of four articles, I will focus on practical steps that can help you change how you experience and deal with your anger. Following these steps, you will learn how to pay attention to your anger and how to handle it in a calmer, more effective way. You can learn to use your anger constructively by letting your anger become a wellness lesson.
Step 4: Practicing Calming Techniques
This is the last article in the series, Handling Your Anger Well. Throughout the preceding articles, you have been given techniques to help you increase self-awareness, the first stage in any behavior change. Step 1, the first article, encouraged you to observe yourself -- to consider the consequences and costs of your anger, to identity typical trigger situations and to use the 1-10 scale to gauge and contain your anger. Step 2 guided you to look beneath your anger to explore your beliefs about anger-inducing situations and to uncover other emotions you may be experiencing. Exploring thoughts and feelings underneath your anger can help you gain perspective on your unmet needs and lead to insight on how to work through problematic situations. Step 3 described how effective communication methods promote conflict resolution and relationship building. Now on to Step 4, using calming techniques to slow down your anger response.
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The emotionality and intensity of anger is often reflected in the language we use - steam was coming out of my ears, I was hopping mad, I was ready to blow my top. Becoming angry is a sure fire way to bring on the "fight or flight" response, when blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate and adrenaline all increase dramatically. Adrenaline accelerates and fuels our angry thoughts, words and actions, leading to behavior we may later regret. Slowing down this response gives you a chance to think about alternative words and actions, which can bring about more positive results.
DOWN THE FIGHT RESPONSE
USE YOUR DISCOMFORT TO PROBLEM-SOLVE
If you find yourself reverting to old, inappropriate anger responses, do your best to apologize for hurtful behaviors, then go back to your new problem-solving strategies of handling your anger well. You've made a decision to improve your life and your relationships, congratulations!