Stop Rage Now
You must OWN YOUR ANGER to master it.
This is the first step to recovery. It's your emotion, it belongs to you. Even though it feels like someone or something else "made you mad" your rage is your feeling and until you own it you will never be able to MASTER it.
BEGIN WITH THESE STEPS;
If you are acting out violent rage-physically or verbally-it is imperative
that you begin here: Begin putting these next 5 steps in practice immediately.
When you first begin to feel anger or recognize a trigger situation developing:
1. STOP EVERYTHING!
- Do not DO or SAY anything - it will probably be the wrong thing.
2. STEP AWAY!
- Whenever possible step back from the situation.
3. LABEL & ACCEPT THE FEELING
- LABEL the feeling. ("I'm feeling irritation, anger, rage")
- Don't PUSH the feeling away. Let it come, let it pass like a wave.
4. RELEASE - DON'T REHEARSE
- Don't dwell on the UNFAIRNESS or rehearse provoking event(s). This is like pouring gas on a fire.
- You can take time later to sort out the events--not now.
5. ACT "NOT-ANGRY"
- SMILE - even faking one will send your emotions a message that things are okay.
- SPEAK SOFTLY - it will help calm you and avoid escalating conflict.
- RELAX MUSCLES - neck, shoulders, abdomen, arms, hands.
- DISENGAGE- look away, walk away, save it!
- EMPATHIZE - BEHAVE as if you can appreciate their point of view – act mildly supportive ("I hear what you're saying...")
NEXT: IDENTIFY YOUR "TRIGGERS"
It is important for you to clearly identify people, situations, words, and beliefs or attitudes that typically set your anger off.
- PEOPLE: You may notice that you are apt to become angry with particular people, your spouse, parent, child, or a co-worker.
- SITUATIONS: It may be a situation like being misunderstood, getting cut off on the freeway or frustration when working with things (like fixing the car) that ignite you.
- WORDS: Sometimes certain derogatory words or names can be hot buttons that send you into a fit of rage. This may include being cussed at or otherwise demeaned, especially in front of others.
- BELIEFS: There are almost always certain beliefs about yourself and others that underlie rage. They frequently include a sense of unfairness or powerlessness. These may include beliefs that others are out to get you, the system is unfair, you can't win, my partner won't listen, nobody understands, nobody cares, I'm a victim, I deserved that promotion, they think they're better than me, or I should always get my way. These often spring from the wounds we carry.
- ATTITUDES: Fear, pride, envy, jealousy, and selfishness are ugly attitudes we don't like to look at or own, but let's face it, we all struggle with these and sometimes they are what fuel rage.
Sit down and begin creating a list of the things you recognize as your particular triggers. These are your vulnerabilities and you need to begin to learn to guard your reactions when you encounter them. Therapy can be very helpful with the process of sorting, facing, and overcoming these vulnerabilities.
NEXT: IDENTIFY BODY CUES
How does anger feel in your body? Do you know? Knowing the cues your body sends you when your anger is escalating will help you recognize it and step away from the situation.
- TENSION - NECK, SHOULDERS, BACK
- CLENCHED JAW
- CLENCHED FISTS
- FLUSHING - HOT FACE/NECK
- INCREASED HEART RATE/BREATHING
- THOUGHT FLOODING - INABILITY TO THINK CLEARLY
- VOICE - VOLUME & PITCH
NEXT: COUNT THE COST
You may already realize your rage is extracting a price from you and those around you. You may not, however, realize the extent of the damage it is causing. Take some time to sit down and take an inventory of what your anger is costing you in these areas:
- What is my anger costing me in relationships with my loved ones (spouse, child, parent, sibling)?
- What has my anger cost me in my relationships with friends?
- What has my anger cost me in my relationship with colleagues and co-workers?
- What is my anger costing me in my career/job?
- What has my anger cost me in my finances?
- What has my anger cost me in terms of physical damage to property?
- What has my anger cost me legally?
- What is my anger costing me in my health?
- What is my anger costing me in my spiritual life?
- What is my anger costing me in terms of emotional and mental health?
Is the price worth it? Is it possible there are better ways of coping with the frustrations of life than blowing up about them?
FINALLY: GET THE HELP YOU NEED
Are you sick of fruitless remorse and shattered resolutions to hold your temper? Anger usually has some pretty deep roots and they are not always that obvious. We tend to avoid examining these areas because they are painful. Anger is often a "protector" emotion and may be the only skill we have developed to cover and guard more painful and vulnerable feelings. It may be the way we "control" our world--especially if we grew up in a chaotic home with angry, unpredictable parents. Counseling/therapy can help by providing practical skill training and a safe place to work through the junk that is fueling your unhealthy and hurtful rage. Do it for yourself and do it for your loved ones. Give me a call and let's get started this week.