According to the Mental Health Organisation, one third of people have a family member or close friend who struggles to control their temper. Meanwhile, one quarter of women worried about how angry they sometimes feel! In a world that constantly talks about the trivial but hides away from admitting defeat, do we need to open up about anger or find ways to bind our bad habits at home? We’ve explored 5 top tips to get us started ...
Taking it out...
On your breathing! While telling someone who’s angry to ‘just breathe’ is the worst possible thing to do, it turns out that when we’re angry, our breathing takes a turn for the worst. We tend to start breathing in more than we do out. It’s a simple physical adjustment that can add to our tension. If you start to feel your temper rising, take a second to check out your lung-action. Focus more on breathing out for as long, if not longer, than you do in. Not only will it focus your mind elsewhere, but the additional exhaling will remove excess carbon dioxide from your lungs, meaning your body is less likely to stress out too!
Can't stop the feeling?
Of course, a Justin Timberlake track is just what you need when any negativity comes your way. But on a more serious note, it’s important to make sure you appreciate your anger in the right way. It's ok to feel your emotions! According to psychotherapist, Tori Rodriguez, many of us can feel ashamed and guilty if we put out too much negativity. And of course, if you’re a Christian, the weight of being kind, patient and loving can also take its toll. However, it’s important to realise that the Bible never said anger was unexpected. In fact, the bible says that ‘in our anger’ we shouldn’t sin. Not that we should never be angry. If you feel negatively about the trials and tests in your life, you’re perfectly normal! We weren’t designed to tolerate things like sickness, betrayal and heartbreak. The problem isn’t your anger, but the perception you have of it and what you do next. Allow yourself room to get real about how you feel, trusting that God and your closest friends can take your honesty.
Get real ...
Get vocal to avoid ill-health. Now we’re not suggesting shouting at the nearest person to you, but we are suggesting that expressing yourself is a must. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, those who are more expressive with their emotions can be less likely to develop a whole array of conditions. While mayhem of the mind and heartache can both cause anger, suppressed anger hits right back with heart disease, depression and many other illnesses. And it’s not just about expressing how you feel, but also the stress on your mind and body when it comes to hiding the truth. According to the Journal of Cognitive Science, hiding truth creates cortisol (also known as the stress hormone)! It's released into the brain when we’re creating a cover-up for our anger. We suggest getting real with those who’ve hurt or angered you. Alternatively, starting a journal, or a book of letters is a great way to express without bringing stress to someone else!.
Watch your words.
Using phrases that back up the cause of your anger can have detrimental effects to relationships and your perceptions. Using phrases like ‘never’ and ‘always’ when expressing your anger are a no-no. How many times have you told someone that they ‘never listen’ to you? Or perhaps you’ve lashed out at a colleague: “You’re always late and you never do as you’re asked!”. Chances are, that when we’re a little less livid, we can see that the people around us aren’t ‘always’ letting us down and ‘never’ caring. Sure, they may have got it wrong a few times, and it’s ok to address that! But don’t get it twisted... Why not try thanking them when they get it right - who doesn’t love a bit of positive reinforcement?
I don’t know how many of you aren’t yourselves when you’re hungry? But it seems the Snickers advert has it sussed as food can be a great tool to tame anger or unfortunately increase it. While it’s good to keep an eye on overeating (a consequence of anger for many), chowing down on the right choice of foods is just fine ! According to the European Journal of Clinical Investigation, Omega 3s are great for reducing anger while many other studies back up that a tasty piece of salmon can reduce aggressive behaviour! So swapping out your red meats for seafood every now and again could have you sinking into a better attitude.
Illustration credit: Imogen Kershaw