This is National Anger Awareness Week. Most of us get angry from time to time. But if we get angry often and easily, unable to resist the urge to flail out and unable to control our actions, then we need to take things in hand.
Anger not only damages relationships, but our own health too. All those fight or flight hormones flooding into the bloodstream cause a range of problems - high blood pressure, lowered resistance to illness, chronic back pain, stroke, insomnia, skin problems, depression, alcoholism. These risks have been shown to be associated with failure to control anger responses.
So in Anger Awareness Week, here are some tips.
- When you notice the signs (the red curtain coming down, the faster heart rate, the dry mouth and many more) step back. If you can leave the room, so much the better. When your fight or flight hormones are flooding your bloodstream, you have a choice. Try flight instead of fight.
- Go for a run or a brisk walk. This gets those hormones used up and out of your body.
- Count backwards from ten.
- Breathe slowly. Breathe in deeply, hold it at the top till it is uncomfortable, then breathe out slowly. Simple, but effective. If you tend to breathe lightly just in your chest rather than down in your belly (like athletes do) then learning belly breathing would be useful. Yoga teachers know how to do this.
As a cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist, I can help you to change the style of thinking that could be contributing to your anger. Maybe other people just don't respond to you as they should. Or they ought to do the things you want them to do. If you hear yourself say Ought, Should or Must, then your demands of others might be unreasonable. If you feel hard done by, this will make you angry. The more you think these thoughts, the more miserable you will be. And when you feel bad, you get angry, your self-confidence plummets, your self-esteem drops.
Challenging these ways of thinking will help to feel calm and in control, confident, strong and empowered. You could learn how to do this by coming to see me, or try some useful self-help books, like David Burns' Feeling Good.