Dealing with Anger and Impulsivity
– Anger is a useful emotion when used well
– for e.g. It can be motivating; Can help you stand up for yourself; It can give you energy;
– Used inappropriately it can lead to aggression
– particularly “in the heat of the moment”
– It can be hurtful to others
– You can get people offside
– It can push people away from you
– You cannot avoid people or situations that anger or frustration you
– Instead you must learn how to react
– Stay away from substances that increase anger and irritability (Alcohol, Stimulants – Speed, cocaine, steroids
– Look at stress levels
– Review sleep hygiene
[Being stressed or tired increases irritability]
– Use a daily mood chart [Record episodes of anger; Record intake of caffeine; Record like events; Record sleep patterns]
– Become aware of triggers – Your anger or impulsivity signals
– Develop strategies to manage stress & trigger situations (for e.g. Exercise, Discuss situation with others; Use a problem-solving worksheet)
– Practice relaxation techniques (Use mindfulness, Controlled breathing, Visual imagery)
– Listen to how you come across to others & change your language
– Angry people tend to demand things
– Try saying: I would like; or I would prefer rather than… You must; I must have; I demand
– Even if unsuccessful (ie In getting what you want), You will at least feel only frustrated or disappointed rather than angry
Improving anger expression skills
– You must decide to tell the other person later what you are feeling when you have calmed down or have had more time to think about it
– Experiment with putting your thoughts down on paper – first, this will give you time and will also allow you to gain a greater perspective
– Use the mood chart
– problem-solve – Break problems down into smaller pieces to achieve win-win situations
Understanding your anger responses
– To gain more understanding – think of a time when you were angry or impulsive:
1) What happened? What part of a longer pattern? Or was it a one-off?
2) What effect did your behaviour have on the situation? And on you? And on others?
3) Was it useful? Where are you satisfied/content with the end result?
4) How did those around you feel? Would you do it again the same way?
5) Would you change anything next time?
– Consider also the following:
– What messages were you brought up with concerning the expression of anger?
– How did your family deal or fail to deal with anger and frustration?
– What models were demonstrated to you in your family, as a child, Regarding how to deal with anger?
– Instead of telling yourself: its terrible… or it’s ruined
– Try saying…
It’s frustrating and it’s understandable that I am upset about it. But it is not the end of the world – Getting angry won’t fix it anyway.