If we are frustrated and feel stressed, we are more likely to react with anger. If we are tired or hungry, we are more prone to react in an angry fashion. And, if we tend to hold our feelings inside rather than talk them out, we are more likely to have an angry outburst (picture a pressure cooker).
The process of dealing with negative thoughts and feelings can be divided into three parts for purposes of discussion, although the living of it occurs in one piece.
3 Parts of Dealing with Negative Thoughts and Feelings
Learning to express anger in a healthy, assertive way, particularly when confronted and dealing with other angry people, is the goal. Healthy expression more likely leads to mutual understanding and a productive outcome in which one’s needs are understood. Dr. Standal helps his clients learn to modulate aggressive, out-of-control or explosive anger. He alternatively helps clients “find their voice” through expressing their anger in a healthy, assertive manner, contrary to behavior that, in the past, has led to toxic consequences.
Dr. Standal explores and teaches healthy alternatives for expressing your anger and getting your needs met in ways that do not harm others or yourself. In doing so, he helps you change some of your negative responses to anger, like ignoring it, “stonewalling,” walking away, withdrawing in fear, becoming defensive, yelling and screaming, or becoming physical. He helps you find alternate ways of dealing with situations (ex. “Are your expectations realistic?”). He encourages you to inform people in your current life of your need to analyze anger responses and to seek professional assistance and understanding in this exploration process as needed. Additionally, he helps you learn to express assertive communication and alternative ways of dealing with the situation.
Steps to Handle Current Anger
Step 1: Recognize what arouses or provokes your anger. Learn to recognize when you are becoming angry and respond to neutralize it. The “anger energy” is produced even if you do not realize that you are angry. Is it a situation, an event, a person? Is it real or imagined?
Step 2: Take a Time Out.
Step 3: Relax yourself by using deep, natural breathing and muscle relaxation. Take deep breaths and silently repeat the word “relax” until you are able to calm down. Do not say or do anything until you are calm. Avoid words or actions in the “heat” of the moment.
Step 4: Use a rational approach to “rethink,” “reframe,” and reason in your mind. What is going on and why am I angry? Is this a trigger event, bringing up old unresolved anger or resentment in me? Is what is happening right now to provoke my anger a product of my past?
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