Does your temper go off like a rocket at the slightest provocation? Do you fizz and fume if things aren’t going your way? If you’ve got a short fuse and frequently explode at people, things and situations, then chances are that emotional fireworks are a regular part of your life – not just on Bonfire Night.
You may be fiery by nature, and you may be passionate about a lot of things. But if that fire and passion tend to express themselves through a bad temper then it can be scary for you and the people in your life. It can make you unpredictable and difficult to be around, as others really won’t want to get caught in your crossfire.
What triggers your temper can depend on a lot of things. You may be tired, hungry, stressed, frustrated, irritated – or a combination of all of those states. It can be hard in the moment to identify exactly what causes the explosion.
But if your temper is becoming a problem then there are many things you can do to tame it. Not just in the moment when rage take hold, but in identifying the triggers that set you off in the first place.
Here are five anger management tips…
Stop in your tracks
If you feel a touch paper igniting your temper, take every step to blow it out. Remove yourself from the situation. Bite your tongue. Take deep breaths. Take some time out. Your temper can cause destruction to you and others. Give yourself a chance to calm down and work out what’s really going on.
Channel your anger via something physical
We don’t mean hitting the nearest lamppost, but anger sometimes feels so physical in your body, and that build-up needs a release. Some people feel the need to go for a brisk walk – anything that takes them away from the situation. Stomping on the ground can feel therapeutic, as does running or even punching a pillow. For others holding and rubbing a ‘worry stone’ can help to calm them down. Singing and laughing can also help to provide a release. Find what works for you and use it to dissipate the physical impact of your anger.
Express ‘clean’ anger
There is a difference between ‘acting out’ on your anger – when the rage takes hold and shouts and screams – and expressing ‘clean’ anger. What we mean by this is allowing yourself to feel anger but to express it in a more constructive way. You can see “ I feel angry when…” to the person who may have triggered you. Focus on how you feel and express your feelings assertively, in a way that you can own them rather than blaming others. Clean anger gives you more control of your emotions, rather than the emotions controlling you.
Let go of the need to be right
If you’re angry a lot then it can sometimes feel as though you’re on the moral high ground. Your anger may be self-righteous as you rant about the injustices and inequities of life. If you become more accepting of other people’s imperfections then there might be less chance of you blowing up at them. Being angry all the time can be depleting. Allow yourself energy to do other things.
Look beneath the surface
When your temper has calmed down, you may want to take a look beneath the surface of your anger. What you may find is a very young part of you whose needs aren’t being met. Instead of asking for those needs to be heard and acted upon – because asking for things may make you vulnerable and at risk of rejection – you instead revert to rage. Anger can feel like an instant and effective way of covering up that vulnerability, but in truth that wounded part of you needs compassion and understanding.
If you want to identify and understand the roots of your temper than therapy may be a route to helping you achieve that. Therapy delves into patterns of the past and can help you understand where your temper is coming from. Once the causes become conscious, you may feel less in the grip of your anger. In other words, you’ll be freer to watch a real fireworks display rather than continuing to create sparks of your own.
For therapeutic support with anger management, get in touch with our counselling centre on 020 8673 4545 or email [email protected]