There are multiple situations in our lives that cause frustration. Amongst these are traffic jams, tripping over children’s toys at home, being late for a meeting, long queues and public transport delays. Although everyone experiences anger differently, we sometimes teeter on the verge of fury, which negatively affects our psycho-physical health. Here are 4 exercises to learn how to master anger.
Anger and frustration are natural emotions that, if kept in check, will not hurt anyone. Unfortunately, mastering our reactions, especially the impulsive ones, is very difficult and requires mental training. At the beginning, it is important to realize that anger has a number of negative effects on our body, caused by a cortisol and adrenaline boost that is too rapid. Here we can ask ourselves a simple question. Is the situation causing these emotions proportionate to the effects and consequences?
The first way, although it sounds cinematic, does not require acting skills. It is enough that in a critical situation, e.g. while stuck in traffic, you stop focusing on the frustrating situation. Illustratively, you can imagine that you are on a movie set and someone suddenly freezes in front of your eyes, e.g. clapping. Everything stops, the image becomes still, and you have a moment to feel the distance and take a few deep breaths. Such a procedure will allow you to stop the escalation of the bad emotional attack, and this is the first step to success and peace. Imagine this process and your body will redirect your thoughts to a different, less destructive path.
If you can’t change the situation that makes you angry, change your thinking. If you are waiting at the doctor’s office and the delay continues, look around for a brochure or newspaper and start, for example, to create words from random letters in the text that are close together. You can also try picking out vowels, adjectives and repetitions. Do you prefer to listen than to read? In this case, try to catch individual sounds while listening to a song with headphones or translate the English words of the song into another language and vice versa. Such distraction will not only make time seem to pass more quickly but also distract you from negative thoughts.
Sometimes the anger is not caused by a single situation but resembles a snowball that has been rolling behind us all day, picking up all the little but unpleasant feelings along the way. As a result, we go home angry and we don’t know why and just wait for someone to take our frustration out on. When we notice the first symptoms of such a “prey hunt”, it is worth going to an empty room and trying to cover yourself with something pleasant. A soft or weighted blanket (with proven therapeutic properties in reducing stress) will help you enter the process of calming and soothing the nervous system. According to specialists, covering up is like cuddling, which our brain likes very much.
Sometimes it’s very hard to let go. However, if you want to relieve tension, you have to do something to change your perspective. You can use a great sense of humour to do this. You don’t have to tell jokes to anyone. It is enough that the boss, whom you are calling “a clown” in your head, starts to resemble a clown. Remember that only your imagination is limited, so you can dress him in whatever you want – even the biggest red shoes, a sequin costume and a round nose. If you recall this image each time you feel the frustration building, it will be much easier for you to distance yourself from a stressful or frustrating situation.