In my East London practice I have worked with many clients to help manage their anger. Anger can have a significant impact on our work and personal relationships, being detrimental to family and children especially because as parents it is important we teach children to regulate their emotions. Frustration and anger can be unhelpful and problematic, impacting how we evaluate ourselves, often leaving us anxious and emotionally exhausted. The feeling has the power to emotionally hijack us so we aren’t the person that we want to be. But there is good news, there are ways to overcome it.
The first thing is to slow down and breathe - often we are the victim of our own emotions but we don’t actually know what they are asking us.
By stopping and breathing we refrain from making any accusations, blame or punishment to the other people present.
By simply staying quiet - we identify what we are thinking, identifying what is making us frustrated or angry. We listen to the thoughts stirring in our head and start to recognise our needs. E.g. our need to be listened to or validated.
For example if we feel angry we spot and recognise the thought - “It’s not fair that they dismissed what I said, I feel unvalued.” Starting to notice that our needs aren’t being met e.g in this relationship we don’t feel valued, equal or heard we start to connect to our needs.
By understanding that the anger is a consequence of our unmet needs we can now articulate our feelings and although this may take courage it removes the anger and often avoids any conflict. E.g. “When I tried to make a suggestion you brushed it off, that really upset me as it made me feel like my opinions aren’t valued in this relationship. Can I ask you why you did that?”
In summary the key steps to expressing anger include:
Identify our judgmental thoughts.
Connect with our needs.
Express our feelings and unmet needs.
Other practical tips include:
Identifying and avoiding triggers e.g. if running late makes you angry and frustrated make sure that you have everything ready the night before you help you start the day without that added stress
Try breaking the stress using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique - looking for 5 things you see, 4 things you touch, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell and 1 thing you taste. This can ground you in the moment and stop the emotional hijack.
Breathing techniques such and 7-11 breathing to have a calming effect on the body and activate the sympathetic nervous system.
Useful reading include: Non violent communication: A language of life - by Marshall Rosenberg
If you continue to feel overwhelmed or feel like you need help and support to overcome your anger please get in touch to find out more about how I can help.