Stay Calm with These 3 Proven Anger Management Techniques
“I’m so triggered right now.”
Spend some time around the younger generation and you’ll probably hear them say this phrase eventually. Translation: You’ve offended me. You hurt my feelings. I’m angry.
It’s sometimes said sarcastically and its overuse tends to cause us gray-haired grownups to roll our eyes, but “I’m triggered” is surprisingly apt. We all get angry for different reasons, but our anger has one thing in common: the triggering event.
Right before you get angry, you get triggered.
There are countless trigger events that can happen, but some of the most common include being cut off in traffic, being insulted or embarrassed, or being the target of someone else’s anger.
What happens next isn’t typically pretty. While anger can be appropriate and is not inherently a bad thing, it often leads to words or actions you’ll regret once you calm down.
Maybe you experienced that regret recently and you want to address it. Maybe you’re a hyper-competitive personality (I’m guilty of this one) and you’re more susceptible to anger than others. However you landed here, the rest of this post will focus on a few proven anger management techniques that can bring more peace into your life.
3 Proven Anger Management Techniques
There is a split second between trigger and reaction, and that split second is called interpretation. If someone cuts you off, you normally feel entitled to anger. That person made an aggressive and dangerous move, and they need to be punished for it. Yelling, riding their bumper and firing off an obscene gesture or two is a typical response.
Your response (“They need to be punished for that!”) is an interpretation. Now imagine you get cut off, but this time you immediately shrug it off and remember that it’s not that big a deal. How likely is it that you’ll yell at them, tail them or gesture at them after you’ve dealt with the trigger calmly?
Consider how the past affects the present.
Oh no. You just got cut off again. Sorry about that, it’s happening to you a lot in this post. I can just about guarantee the fury you feel is not solely because of being cut off. Maybe you skipped breakfast today and are super hangry. Maybe you haven’t been sleeping well lately. Maybe you’re still replaying an argument you had with your spouse or your colleague. That extra baggage matters, and it absolutely impacts the anger you display after the trigger occurs.
You may not think it, but eating well, sleeping well and exercising are all ways you can lessen the effect of a trigger event.
Don’t let triggers add up to create an explosion.
Have you ever seen someone absolutely lose it even though what happened to them was really minor? What an overreaction, right? How does that happen to someone?
It’s because triggers stack. I like to call these “points of anger.” If someone had a recent fight with their spouse, that’s 3 anger points. They got cut off on their way to the restaurant, so that’s another 3 anger points. So when the restaurant got their order wrong, that event caused only 1 point of anger, but they had a 7-point meltdown because of it. All those pent up triggers finally exploded on the wait staff.
If you’re feeling like you’re about to blow up, count on your relaxation skills. Listen to music, practice deep breathing or imagine a beautiful and serene landscape.
Do not hesitate to seek counseling for anger.
Anger is incredibly powerful, and it can also be incredibly difficult to control. Stenzel Clinical is filled with licensed therapists who will walk with you as you navigate the emotion. Visit our Staff page to find the therapist who’s right for you.