You love your children, your spouse, your roommates. Still, when you are trying to watch the news on TV and someone you live with makes too much noise for you to hear an important newscaster comment, do you feel anger rising within you? Do you speak harshly to the noisemakers? Do you yell? If the answer to any of these questions was yes, probably you have too much anger in your life. Best to learn ways of dealing with anger without medication.
Noise that interference with your watching TV may not be your trigger. Still, how often do you get impatient with key people in your life? Irritated? Outright angry? If the answer is more than once in a blue moon, odds are you get angry too often.
Pills might help you. They can help you to stay calmer and to be slower to catch fire. The trouble would pills though is that psychological medications often have harmful side effects. Best first therefore to try these tips for dealing with anger without medication.
Why do anything about your anger?
Anger tarnishes relationships. No one likes people who are angry. They may cuddle up to you after your anger has passed, but when you were mad you contributed to their dislike-bank toward you. Eventually they will cash in that dislike-you bank by hurting you back or, if they are a loved one, leaving you.
Your anger harms you physically as well, inviting heart attacks and high blood pressure.
And your anger for sure harms the receiver, especially if the receiver is a child and also if the receiver is an adult. That harm is likely to be both emotional, in the form of depression and low self-image. The harm can be physical and cognitive damage as well, causing eventual physical detriments such as inviting early dementia. Is that what you want to be doing to those you love?
So why do we get mad?
Basically, we get mad to bully others into giving us something that we want by dominating over them.
Bad idea. There’s almost always more effective and less harmful ways to get y our concerns heard and responded to. So here’s how to start dealing with your anger without medication.
Here’s 5 miracle tips for dealing with your anger without medication.
Use at least one and that’s a good start. If you do all five, your life is likely to feel happier and your relationships will improve. Those who used to be the receivers of your anger will be especially appreciative, happier, and healthier.
Tip #1: Make an anger log.
Pause now for a moment and list the last several times you have felt angry. What were the triggers for you? Are you beginning to see a pattern of getting what you want by using anger to overpower others?
In addition, keep a list over the next several days. Click here if you would like a chart to use to help you keep track.
If this list turns out to include more anger episodes than you have been aware of, that’s an especially good indicator that putting an end to so much anger would be a smart idea.
Tip #2: Use your legs to EXIT.
As soon as you feel anger bubbling up, leave the discussion. If the issue is minor, just change the topic. But if you are likely to speak out in frustrated, irritated, or mad voice tones, before your mouth opens, use your legs to exit the room
Early exits, as soon as you become aware of even the smallest amount of irritation, are especially important if you have had a tendency to let loose with anger explosions. Exits are the hardest and yet most vital step for dealing with anger without medications.
Tip #3: Learn to self-soothe.
When you have exited a room instead of becoming angrily excited, use the time apart to calm yourself. Breathe slowly and deeply. Use distraction, say by reading a magazine or playing a game on your cell phone. Call a friend to chat. Putting your mind on anything other than the triggering incident will gradulally dispel the angry feeling. Poof. It will be gone..
Just be sure that instead of self soothing you don’t hold on in your head to the upstetting incident. Ruminating about how “She shouldn’t have…” is a sure way to keep pouring gasoline on the fire.
Tip #4: Look inward to figure out your underlying concern.
Ask yourself, “What do I want?”
Be careful here. The question is NOT, “What do I want him/her/them/you to do.” It’s what do I want? That is, what is my concern? In the case in the first paragraph, the question is not “What do I want the kids to do?” It’s “What do I want?…Oh, I want to be able to hear the news.”
Tip #5: Look inward to find alternative options for getting what you want.
Ask yourself, “What could I do differently that would be a calmer and more effective way to get what I want?
Maybe stand up and turn up the volume on the TV. Maybe bring out a game that the children could play instead of making such a ruckus. Maybe invite them to come sit on your lap and talk with them about the news that you are watching. Maybe walk into another room and watch the news on your cell phone. Maybe decide that you will watch the news after the children have gone to bed instead of when they are up and want your attention. Hmmm…
So what have you learned about dealing with your anger without medication?
Young children get angry often. Adults, that is, emotionally mature adults, rarely use anger to get what they want. They reserve emotional escalations for situations of danger or emergency—and even then, calm strong action generally proves more effective than anger. To deal with everyday problems in living, instead of heating up to get something they are not getting, they cool down.
When you feel calm, you get smarter. Brains think more creatively when they are relaxed. Brains can find win-win options, solutions that result in others as well as you feeling good about the action plan.
If you get angry too often, keep this tips list with you. Re-read the list for dealing with anger without medications as often as you need to so that you, not your anger, are in control of your emotional state.
You can, without medication, learn to use these five tips to deal with your anger. As the Rolling Stones famously said, “Try some time and you just might find— you get what you need.” Without anger, you can get more of what you want in life.
Want more tips, and also worksheets and videos, for calming your anger? Read Prescriptions Without Pills: For Relief from Depression, Anger, Anxiety and More by Harvard-educated Denver psychologist Dr. Susan Heitler.