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cool your anger | Terezia Farkas | depression help | Beliefnet

How to cool your anger is a good question. Once you know how to recognize the warning signs that your temper is rising and learn to anticipate your triggers, you can deal with your anger before it spins out of control. There are many techniques that can help you cool down and keep your anger in check.

Tips to cool your anger

Focus on the physical sensations of anger. Its the first step to cool your anger. While it may seem counterintuitive, tuning into the way your body feels when you’re angry often lessens the emotional intensity of your anger. How does your stomach feel? Are muscles tense? Stretch or massage areas of tension. Roll your shoulders if you are tensing them, for example, or gently massage your neck and scalp.

Take some deep breaths. Deep, slow breathing helps counteract rising tension. The key is to breathe deeply from the abdomen. Get as much fresh air as possible into your lungs. Breathing can bring your thoughts back into the present moment, away from guilt, the past, or future anxieties. Pranic breathing can be used as a meditative tool. Use aromatherapy to enhance your breathing exercises. Lavender is great for calming one’s nerves.

Exercise. A brisk walk around the block is a good idea. It releases pent-up energy so you can approach the situation with a cooler head. Lift those weights or hit a punching bag. Jog. Anything that moves your muscles and limbers you up. After all, your body is in a fight or flight reaction. Physical activity is what your muscles are screaming for at the moment.

Use your senses. Take advantage of the relaxing power of your sense of sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste. You might try listening to music or picturing yourself in a favorite place. Burn incense. Light a candle and focus on the flame, settling the chaos of your mind by focusing on something (the flame) that is steady and unflinching.

Slowly count to ten. Focus on the counting to let your rational mind catch up with your feelings. If you still feel out of control by the time you reach ten, start counting again. Give yourself a reality check. When you start getting upset about something, take a moment to think about the situation. Ask yourself:

  • How important is it in the grand scheme of things?
  • Is it really worth getting angry about it?
  • Is it worth ruining the rest of my day?

Find healthier ways to express your anger. 

If you’ve decided that the situation is worth getting angry about and there’s something you can do to make it better, the key is to express your feelings in a healthy way. When communicated respectfully and channeled effectively, anger can be a tremendous source of energy and inspiration for change.

Pinpoint what you’re really angry about

Have you ever gotten into an argument over something silly? Big fights often happen over something small, like a dish left out or being ten minutes late. But there’s usually a bigger issue behind it. If you find your irritation and anger rapidly rising, ask yourself “What am I really angry about?” Identifying the real source of frustration will help you communicate your anger better, take constructive action, and work towards a resolution.

Take five if things get too heated. If your anger seems to be spiralling out of control, take five minutes for yourself to calm down. Remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes or for as long as it takes you to cool down. A brisk walk, a trip to the gym, or a few minutes listening to some music may let you calm down, release pent up emotion, and then approach the situation with a cooler head.

Always fight fair. 

It’s OK to be upset at someone, but if you don’t fight fair, the relationship will quickly break down. Fighting fair allows you to express your own needs while still respecting others. Maintaining and strengthening any relationship, rather than “winning” the argument, should always be your first priority. Be respectful of the other person and his or her viewpoint.

Focus on the present. Once you are in the heat of arguing, it’s easy to start throwing past grievances into the mix. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the present to solve the problem.

Choose your battles. Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worthy of your time and energy. If you pick your battles rather than fighting over every little thing, others will take you more seriously when you are upset.

Be willing to forgive.

Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.

Know when to let something go. If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.

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