As a child, the first skill you learn when you get angry is to count to ten and remove yourself from the situation. This technique is supposed to calm you down. In recent articles, that appeared in AdAge and The Guardian UK, they report about a campaign created by Gray London for the charity Police Now. The Take 90 campaign was created to raise awareness on how to deal with anger after an escalation of violent crimes in the UK. This is based on scientific evidence that explains that it takes 90 seconds for the neurotransmitters that cause anger to get to a calm state before you take action.
What causes anger? Anger is an instinctive reaction for humans to protect, secure and prevent. When you experience anger it increases blood pressure, heart rate and your adrenaline levels. Things like frustration, grief, disappointment, tiredness, hunger, embarrassment, injustice, failure, pain and stress are all examples of what can cause anger.
When your anger flairs up, your body releases stress hormones and when you are constantly angry, you can become ill. Regular anger can result in heart attack, head- and back pains, depression, low self-esteem, hypertension etc.
Not sure if you are in need of anger management skills? Ask yourself the following questions. If your answer is yes to any, you need to acquire anger management skills:
- Do I constantly feel like I’m holding all my anger in, feeling ready to explode?
- Are you verbally or physically threatening people?
- Do you experience violent outbreaks?
- Do you feel frustrated and like you are constantly fighting or arguing?
- Do you break things when you are in an argument?
- Do you lose your temper over the slightest thing?
Learn to manage your anger with the following methods:
- The first step is to step out of the denial phase and admit you have an anger problem.
- Identify what makes you angry.
- Calm yourself down by either by changing the subject, taking deep breaths, counting that 90 seconds or removing yourself from the situation for a while. In essence all you need is to delay your response time. You need to get to a relaxed state of mind where you can think clearly and then respond or act reasonably.
- Acknowledge that the other party might also have a side to the story. We make the mistake by telling other people to calm down, but in fact all they want is that you acknowledge that they are angry. People scream or shout because they want us to understand how upset they are.
- Communicate your feelings and channel the anger assertively without being aggressive.
- Invest in acquiring problem-solving skills to deal with difficult people or situations.
- Having a diary really helps. Jotting down your feelings and emotions is therapeutic. Writing in essence is a thinking activity. This way you release your anger on paper without physical conflict.
Anger in itself is not a bad thing. It is an energy emotion, which if you learn to use it constructively can fuel you to implement change. Anger is to be expected in people who care. The problem is not the anger, it is how you choose to behave when you experience this emotion. Anger is a survival benefit and it forms part of the fight or flight response to a perceived threat or harm. Everyone gets angry every day. The problem is that most don’t deal with anger in the right way. People need to be taught to channel their anger in a positive way.