When you're angry, blood pressure rises, your heart rate and breathing speed up, and your body unleashes a surge of hormones that prepare it for physical aggression. Holding in rage can cause chronic stress and headaches. Exploding over everyday irritations can harm your health, relationships and career. Here are 10 ways to help manage anger:
1. Analyze your anger. Talk with a friend or write down what is making you so angry.
2. Recognize the difference between feeling and action. Find ways to express aggression without hurting others or yourself.
3. Don't let anger fester. Talk about your anger rather than "stuffing" it.
4. Interrupt your physical response. Arrest these unhealthy physical reactions by taking a timeout to relax and clear your head. And don't reach for booze. Studies show that alcohol makes angry people more likely to become physically aggressive.
5. Go outside of your head. Try to physically remove yourself from the situation or step back emotionally so you can view the event as an observer rather than a participant.
6. Think before you talk. Once you say something hurtful, you can't take it back. This is especially important when children are involved.
7. Respond without lashing out. Speak rather than scream and converse rather than argue. Take timeouts if tensions run too high.
8. Verify your assumptions before getting angry. We all know how easy it is to jump to the wrong conclusions.
9. Anticipate and plan for "triggers."
10. Get help when you need it.
Many angry reactions are emotional habits. If you are having trouble breaking those habits, someone who is trained in anger management can help you deal with the feeling purposefully rather than emotionally. Call the David Lawrence Center for more information at 239-455-8500.