10 Quick Anger Management Techniques
Need some help right now? Here are some proven techniques that can help.
1. The 72-hour letter.
Write a letter that you do not send….at least not for three days. Get your feelings out. Vent. Fume. Explode. But only on paper. This is a great stress reliever that I love. If you absolutely must send the letter, have someone else (like your therapist, counselor, pastor, or best friend) read it first. This is often a good first step.
2. Give yourself a “timeout.”
Go do something else. Go somewhere else. Get your mind focused on something else. Play some music you love. Give it a rest. Get some space. Do not be in the physical presence of the person who is pushing your buttons. Get away from that person. Go outside or to the grocery store and push a cart around for an hour.
3. Resist the temptation to get wasted, drunk, or loaded.
Self-destructive habits won't help you in the long run. In most cases, these habits will make things worse. We do stupid things when we're wasted.
4. Get some exercise.
Hard physical exercise will help the adrenaline overload that frequently occurs when we’re angry. You’ve heard the urban legend about how a little grandma lifted a heavy car to save her trapped son who was underneath the car? That’s the adrenaline fight-flight response. We need physical activity to burn off the extra energy. People tell me that some of their best workouts occurred when they were angry. They could run faster, climb higher, lift more weights, and feel more exhausted afterward. It's good and it helps a lot.
5. Brainstorm for solutions.
If the problem is still nagging at you and you feel like you just can't let it go, write down at least three possible solutions to the problem. Go over the solutions with a third party who wants what is best for you., such as your therapist or best friend. Read about "your legitimate rights" and talk about them with another person.
6. Use humor.
Watch a funny movie. Read jokes. Hang out with your funny friend who always cheers you up. Get some emotional distance from the situation by making a joke about it. This is how comedians get their best material....from painful situations that they could eventually joke about.
7. Practice relaxation skills.
Do some breathwork. Listen to a hypnosis CD. What is relaxing for you? What puts you "in the zone?" Some people may want to watch a yoga DVD and practice the deep relaxation at the end. B-R-E-A-T-H-E.
8. Let it go.
Let it go. Don't hold a grudge. Let it go. When your mind is tempted to ruminate over the same situation, say, “Stop!” Change the subject in your mind. Holding a grudge won't help you and it certainly doesn't hurt the other person.
9. Use “I statements.”
When describing the problem, own your part. “I feel upset when you….” Own the fact that you are angering yourself. No one else can make you feel upset, hurt, little, or insignificant without your permission. Doing this will help you to claim your power over your feelings.
10. Talk about it later.
Express your feelings when you’re no longer angry. “Yesterday I felt disappointed when…” In this way you’ll prevent yourself from exploding, yelling, blaming, criticizing, or doing something totally irrational. When we’re no longer angry, we don’t say things like, “I’m furious….” It’s more likely to be heard by the other person when you’re saying something less frightening. People don’t become quite as defensive when you say something less toxic. So, it’s OK to say that you were disappointed or hurt or irritated. But you may not get a sympathetic response either way. So, don’t expect it.
Some of these techniques will work better for you than others. Pick and choose. One time you may need one thing; another time another thing. Practice, practice, practice. Remember that your brain's chemistry is off when you're angry. And that's not fixed overnight. So, give it some time.