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Frustration & Anger

Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, but if you find it difficult to keep it under control, it can become a problem.

Deal with your anger

Anger has a physical effect on everyone around you, at home, leisure, sports or work. Be aware of your body's reaction to anger and take steps to calm yourself down.

Recognising signs of anger

If you notice your heart rate increasing or you start to breathe more quickly, this is your body preparing you for action. Other signs that you may notice include tension in your shoulders or clenching your fists. If you have a history of losing control in these types of situations, it is best to remove yourself from the situation.

Counting to 10 can help

Counting to 10 gives you time to cool down and think more clearly, so you can avoid impulsively lashing out.

Slow Breathing and Safe Place

Breathe in slowly and deeply, then breathe out for a longer period of time. Relax your body as you breathe out. This will help to calm you down and clear your mind. Secondly, try to imagine (or create from scratch), a safe, happy, comforting, calm place. This could be a past holiday, your bedroom, being cuddled by a partner, being by the side of a beach or walking through a relaxing forest with birds singing etc.

Anger Management

Once you know you're getting angry and calm yourself down, you'll start worrying about how to handle your anger more broadly. It often helps whilst you are practising your above safe place, to walk away from the situation and round the block for 5 minutes.

Exercise and techniques to lower stress levels

Exercise and relaxation can help reduce stress levels. Activities such as running, walking, swimming, yoga, and meditation can all help. It is also important to listen to relaxing and comforting clinical hypnosis/cbt (cognitive behavioural therapy) recordings, like ours.

Looking after yourself will help

It is important to take time to relax and get enough sleep, as drugs and alcohol can make anger problems worse. This is because they lower inhibitions, which are necessary to prevent us from acting out when we are angry. Another important step is to completely and permanently remove caffeine, glucose and excess sugar from your daily intake (e.g. caffeine tablets, glucose drinks, cola drinks, coffee, tea, excess chocolate). All these stimulants have an immediate, obvious and destructive effect on reducing anger, anxiety or stress.

Do something you love

Creative activities like writing, making music, drawing or painting can help reduce tension and feelings of anger, similar to going for a run or to the gym. Some people find doing crosswords, jigsaws, knitting, crocheting or D-I-Y.

Tell someone how you feel

Talking to a friend honestly about your thoughts and feelings can help you understand them better and see the situation from a different perspective. This is where the well known phrase can help 'a problem shared, is a problem halved'. Also remember times when you've helped someone else, simply because it's easier when you are taking a step back and re-framing the problem and potential solutions, via the larger helicopter view.

Not holding on to angry thoughts

Thoughts such as 'It’s not fair,' or 'People like that shouldn’t be on the roads,' can make anger worse." Focusing on these thoughts will keep you from calming down. Release them and let them go and it will be easier to relax.

Try to avoid 'black and white' or 'all-or-nothing' phrases that include:

  • It's not fair
  • never ("You never do what I want to do")
  • should or shouldn't ("You should do what I want", or "You shouldn't be on the roads")
  • ought or oughtn't ("People ought to just get out of my way")
  • always (for example "You are always doing that")
  • must or mustn't ("I must always be on time" or "I must not be late")

Remember anger is a natural healthy emotion, but it can be problematic if you can't control it. Be aware of your early anger signs, such as a faster heartbeat, faster deeper breathing and sweaty palms, which indicate that you're preparing for action. An often used phrase by therapists and doctors is 'Fight and Flight response'.

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