So there you are, you’re there, burning with anger. You know that it’s unhealthy to silence the anger you feel and yet, you’re still afraid of the anger you’re feeling. You fear what effect the anger can have on you. You really want to get to an emotionally neutral place. What is something you can do to get there?
Slow the anger response down
If you are so used to reacting to your anger without thinking, it may be hard for you to stop and treat yourself with compassion, one of the recommended ways to help you calm down. To help, here are some quick tips on slowing down anger responses.
Count to 10: When you feel yourself becoming very angry, you stop what you are doing, then count to ten slowly. When you get to ten, take a deep breath. You can also try this breathing exercise recommended by military psychologist Dave Grossman for people who are on the brink of violence.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat: In a situation where tension is rising, you can feel it in your breathing and your heart rate. Adrenalin is pumping, which can go in the direction of either fear or anger, or a self-conflicting mixture of the two. You will deal better with the situation if you can bring your heart rate down. This can be done by breathing in while you count four seconds, holding your breath for four seconds, exhaling for four seconds, holding your breath again for four seconds, and so on. The key is not just to take a deep breath, but to establish a methodical, four-part rhythm, slowing down all parts of your breathing cycle. (via military psychologist Dave Grossman on Greater Good Magazine)
It may be worth it to leave the area too. From WebMD’s tips on handling anger:
Seek out a safe place to seethe. Before confronting the object of your wrath, talk with a trusted friend, co-worker or counselor who can help get to the root of what’s pressing your buttons. Mulling it over with someone safe may help you figure out less hostile, more instructive ways to express your feelings with a loved one, colleague or boss.
Sometimes using imagery when the situation happens can be helpful too. You can imagine the person as a hurt, vulnerable child lashing out at you.
Next up: Treating your self with compassion.