It’s natural to get angry when you feel misheard, misunderstood, treated unfairly, or wrongfully accused. When you are angry, you often feel stuck with a problem that you can’t solve. Rather than yelling, screaming, hitting or hiding, here are some problem-solving strategies to help you make the most out of a difficult situation. There problem-solving strategies are based on the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy, which research indicates is an effective method to reduce anger outbursts.
1. Know Yourself
-Know your triggers-what kinds of things tend to put you in an angry mood?
-Know the signs-recognize what your body feels like when you are starting to get angry (e.g., pressure in stomach/chest, heart beating fast, feeling hot).
2. Step Away if Possible-When you feel yourself getting angry step away, if possible, to take some time to calm down before reacting.
3. Use Relaxation Techniques-When you step away (and even if you can’t step away), use relaxation techniques to calm down before reacting. These may include:
-thinking about/visualizing something you love
-singing a favorite song in your mind
-taking deep breaths
-tensing and relaxing your muscles
Try these stress reduction techniques by BetterHelp.
4. Take a Different Perspective–
-think about the different points of view involved in the situation
-try to understand why the situation may be occurring
-think about what specifically is causing the anger
-think about how you may be able to work to resolve the situation by talking it out
-think about ways to make your feelings known calmly without being critical
-think about how the other person(s) involved may be thinking or feeling
-know that it is possible to let it go even if you can’t work it out (agree to disagree)
-take time to hear the other person’s thoughts and feelings before responding
-remember that people do what makes sense to them, and in general, are not trying to hurt you
FYI: if someone is mean or hurtful to you repeatedly, it is your right to disengage to the best of your ability from this person (say very little – or nothing if possible) and set boundaries around what you are comfortable with (no thank you, I don’t want a hug right now). It is also your right to report emotional, physical, sexual, financial, or psychological abuse.
5. Exercise/Play Sports – Regular physical exercise can help you clear your mind, burn off tension and reduce stress.
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Rachel Wise is a certified school psychologist and licensed behavior specialist with a Master’s Degree in Education. She is also the head author and CEO at educationandbehavior.com, a site for parents, caregivers, educators, counselors, and therapists to find effective, research-based strategies that work for children. Rachel has been working with individuals with academic and behavioral needs for over 20 years and has a passion for making a positive difference in the lives of children and the adults who support them. For Rachel’s top behavioral strategies all in one place, check out her book, Building Confidence and Improving Behavior in Children, a Guide for Parents and Teachers. If you want Rachel to write for your business, offer behavioral or academic consultation, or speak at your facility about research-based strategies that support children, email her at email@example.com.