Emotions last ninety seconds.
This means that emotion will pass within ninety seconds, whether it’s anger, sadness, frustration, despair, elation, or anything else.
This is true of any emotion, so long as we do not cling to it.
But if you choose to cling to an emotion and focus on it, you give it a much longer lifespan. The more you focus your attention on a single emotion, the more you can allow it to build in your mind, leading to compounding anger and anger-related issues.
With anger management, you learn how to use things to help you avoid clinging to emotion and making it last longer than it should, things like:
- Cognitive restructuring
- Relaxation techniques
- Conflict resolution
Water Gap Wellness Center offers PHP mental health care for those in need. Contact us today to learn more about how to find treatment to fit your needs.
Applying Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques are some of the easiest things to apply to any situation where you need to manage your anger. Anger management is often an individual task where you and you alone have to learn to acknowledge your emotions but allow them to pass or, at the very least, turn your attention away from emotions like anger and focus instead on something more calming and peaceful.
Relaxation techniques can take many forms. For example:
- Some clients benefit from counting to ten before they respond, giving themselves space between the initial emotional reaction and the way in which they address that reaction
- Other people prefer to use deep breathing or meditation to help them redirect their mind to the present or practice self-awareness that might help them better understand where other people are coming from rather than reacting impulsively to a short-lived emotion
- For some people, it’s physical, and relaxation requires rubbing the ears or the neck in order to engage a tactile response that overwhelms impulsive, angry emotions
Using Cognitive Restructuring
Consider this story:
Mary always assumes that people will let her down. She volunteers for a community Fall Festival as part of her effort to stay involved in community events and practice relaxation and mindfulness.
She is given the task of preparing a carnival-style booth with two other people. A third person is in charge of managing all of the volunteers.
Mary likes to be prepared, so she purchases everything she needs for the carnival-style booth six weeks in advance, knowing that she will be very busy in the two weeks leading up to the carnival. Mary doesn’t want to add to her plate during those two weeks at work.
Mary speaks with the third person in charge of managing all of the volunteers when they all sit down for an idea session. The manager is relaxed and pleased that Mary has already done her part. In fact, the manager says this is great for the manager because it means she doesn’t have to worry about Mary’s booth.
Two weeks before the carnival, the other two people with whom Mary is preparing the carnival-style booth and the manager start calling and texting. For example, one of the other volunteers keeps texting Mary, asking, “Should I bring X?” or “Do you want to use Y? I can bring it.”
Mary is quick to anger, thinking that all of these people are stupid and disrespectful, and they didn’t listen to her when she spoke with them one month ago about all the details she had already covered.
Each time she gets another call or text, her anger builds up until she yells at her phone and contemplates quitting the event altogether.
In the context of this story, Mary could use cognitive restructuring to recognize the automatic thoughts she brings into situations. In the case of the volunteers, she immediately assumes that they are being disrespectful and that they didn’t listen to her without considering that the other volunteers may not have prepared ahead of time, and they might be very busy balancing family emergencies and similarly overwhelming schedules themselves.
- With relaxation techniques, Mary could calm herself down whenever text messages or phone calls arrive
- With cognitive restructuring, she could change the way she views the attitudes of other people and do away with assumptions
- With conflict resolution, she could address the situation before she allows her anger to build by simply sending a reminder text that all of this information was addressed one month ago and she does not need anything else from anyone else
Applying Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution is another popular way to focus on anger management rather than allowing anger to build and cause subsequent issues.
Many people, for example, get angry and focus their attention on their anger, giving it a substantially longer lifespan than the average ninety seconds. After that, they talked to their spouse, their parents, or their friend about what happened, maybe at work or with someone in the community.
Talking about it increases the attachment to that emotion and fuels the anger, helping the emotion to live even longer. Rather than letting it go, individuals continue to bring up the original situation that triggered their anger every time anything else in their environment triggers them again.
But at no point during that conflict does the angry individual talk to the person with whom they are angry. Instead, they end up talking to just about everyone else.
So, with anger management, conflict resolution gives you the tools to effectively communicate how you are feeling before issues compound. This can allow addressing anger-related issues and conflicts healthily and productively.
If you consider the story of Mary, she could address the situation by using conflict resolution skills to communicate with the manager that she is feeling as though no one is listening to her and they are being disrespectful of her time. Mary might have learned through this open dialogue that the manager had several volunteers who promised they were just as prepared as Mary, all of whom have fallen through since that time, leaving the work in the manager’s lap.
With Water Gap Wellness Center, our clients learn conflict resolution, relaxation techniques, and other forms of mental Wellness to manage anger problems.
Reach out to our team today to see how we can help.