Anger is a natural and healthy emotion that everyone feels from time to time. But my patients in Cary, IL tell me that when they find themselves being caught off guard with unexpected anger or feeling anger at a time when they are unable to express it, they find themselves ready to explode inside.
So, what can you do when you find yourself feeling anger unexpectedly? Below are some strategies I teach my clients in Cary and Algonquin to help them stay calm.
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
When you’re caught off guard with anger, you might start to feel defensive or panicky and not immediately know the reason. Before you do or say anything, acknowledge that you’re angry, and assess its likely cause. “Our children got in a fight that her child started, and now she’s wrongfully blaming my daughter.”
2. Take a Breath
Acknowledge you’re upset, stop and take a breath. Put physical distance between you and the other person by taking just a couple of steps back.
3. Concentrate on Being Curious Instead of Furious
If you have difficulty controlling your anger, it can be much too easy to jump instantly into furious mode and unleash it. IMPORTANT: Instead of being angry, be curious. Consider why this person is behaving this way, or saying these things. Maybe she had a bad morning or heard some upsetting news.
4. Remember, It’s Not Personal
Remind yourself that this isn’t likely personal to you. Oftentimes when my patients in Cary are behaving inappropriately or saying hurtful things, it’s because of things bothering them in their own lives. I then remind them that other people act the same way. So I tell them to practice reminding themselves that another person’s anger is not necessarily personal to them.
5. Use “I” Statements
When you’re upset, it might not always be appropriate to respond. Sometimes it’s best to just walk away. But if you do need to say something, focus on the behavior you find unacceptable without placing blame. Talk specifically about YOUR feelings and the effect of the behavior on you. By communicating without placing blame, you are more likely to be understood and work toward a resolution, rather than putting the other person on the defensive and starting a conflict.
If you’re still feeling upset after a difficult exchange, try calling a friend to vent, write your feelings down in a letter you’ll never send, or do some exercise. Go for a walk, or join a friend for spin class. Do something nice for yourself later, like cooking a special dinner or taking a hot bath. When it comes to anger, remember that in the long run it’s best for you to control it, rather than allow it to control you.
Do you Live in Cary, Crystal Lake or Mchenry County, Illinois?
Are you having difficulty managing your emotions? Is anger beginning to have a significant negative impact on your life and relationships? A licensed mental health professional specializing in anger management can help.
How Do I Choose the Best Counselor for Me?
First, pick a therapist with at least 20 years experience. Experience matters. Next select a clinical psychologist. not an ordinary counselor. A psychologist has a doctoral degree which means he has several more years of education than an ordinary therapist. Next, and very important, make sure you feel comfortable and have a good rapport. Without a good rapport nothing will work.
Call my office today and if you live in the Mchenry County area, we can schedule an appointment to talk.