Shopping for a vehicle when you are in a hurry is risky business. Driving 65 mph in a school zone is tempting fate. Pushing firefighters aside to run into a burning building is just plain folly. Then why would anyone discipline a child when upset, angry or in a hurry?
“Anger blows out the lamp of the mind.” ~Robert Green Ingersoll
Calming yourself down when you are angry may not be easy but is necessary for your health and for those who are close to you. When parents discipline children while angry the resulting punishment will probably be much harsher than needed. Harsh punishment often fails to teach the needed lesson and is therefore ineffective. Excessively harsh discipline can cause children to rebel, thus undermining any teaching goal.
“No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched.” ~George Jean Nathan
• Counting. Count up to 100 by twos, then threes if needed.
• Step outdoors. In winter a chilly blast may just be the answer. Take a brisk walk. Walk or jog the perimeter of your property, apartment complex or around the block.
• Pound nails. Don’t announce that you are taking a walk because you are angry, just go. Walk to your tool shed and pound a few nails into a piece of scrap wood then remove them from the wood next time.
• Go up or down stairs. Something is always headed up or down; take laundry to the basement or carry supplies upstairs. The exertion causes increased breathing: inhale… exhale… repeat.
“Anger is one letter short of danger.” ~Author Unknown
• Bounce a ball. Tossing a ball from hand to hand or just squeezing is good exercise.
• Breathe deeply. Inhale to the count of two; exhale to the count of four. Doing this increases the exchange of gasses in your lungs and the focus may help cool anger.
• Re-pot a plant. Spending a few minutes upgrading a favorite plant can be beneficial. Watch for garage and clearance sales for larger pots.
• Try yoga. Go to YouTube and yoga your heart out! Yoga is relaxing and can be tailored to novices, beginners or experts.
“Sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.” ~Author Unknown
• Write it out. Scribble your feelings in a journal, see if a pattern emerges. Start a free blog and write about your experiences.
• Just vent. Make a call to a toll-free helpline and empty your gut for ten minutes.
• Read aloud. The Declaration of Independence, the Bible or even a dictionary can help change your focus until rational thinking returns.
• Drink water. Guzzling eight ounces of water may give you the time you need to take a step back from the situation and calm down.
“Temper tantrums, however fun they may be to throw, rarely solve whatever problem is causing them.” ~Lemony Snicket
• Drown it out. Plug into earphones and listen to a portable radio or music.
• Reach for the stars. Simple stretching can loosen tense muscles and enable better breathing.
• Increase distance. Move in a direction away from the source of your anger.
• Palms down. Stand by a sturdy table and press your hands flat; move the fingers apart, then together, repeat.
• Go nowhere. Sit in your vehicle with the motor off and listen to the radio, recorded book or even yell.
“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems— not people; to focus your energies on answers— not excuses.” ~William Arthur Ward
• Identify the problem. Problems have a way of popping up time and again but identifying the actual problem is the first step to finding a solution.
• Troubleshoot to solve. Once identified, list possible solutions or compromises.
• Name your feelings. Label your feeling to clarify.
• Use “I” messages. Have your say in a respectful manner.
“Anger in itself is not a bad emotion it’s what you do with it that counts.” ~Tinker
• Listen to others. First seek to understand, and then to be understood: Ask questions and repeat what you are hearing.
• Note anger triggers. Find the spark and head off the next episode by putting a plan in place while you are calm.
• Look for help. There are many options out there for professional help: therapy, counseling, anger management or clergy. Like Parents Anonymous says, “Asking for help is a sign of strength.”
“Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.” ~Lyman Abbott
Before I had a handle on my anger there were times when I slammed doors or kicked and threw things but none of those actions ever solved any of the problems that created the episodes. I learned that my anger/rage had many sources: My husband listening to talk radio, things I forgot, letting people take advantage of me and so on. My husband had a love affair with talk radio and would come home mad as a bear and we would end up in a fight over something that had nothing to do with either of us. In time I was able to get him to see how talk radio was the problem. I also learned to change the way I responded to others to prevent blowups before they occurred. In each instance it was a matter of identifying the problem and devising a fix, one problem at a time.
Anger uses up an enormous amount of energy and there are other more enjoyable things I would rather spend my time doing. Other than be angry, what would you rather do?
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Melissa Segal Under Flicker/CC License
Jackie Saulmon Ramirez has served as a volunteer with Parents Anonymous® of New Jersey, Inc. for more than twenty years, giving and getting support. Find her blog here on her contact page.