We’re living in the information age: it can feel as if the lights never go out, and the noise never dies down Longchi edition! All this adds up to stress, and nothing shortens your anger-fuse faster than stress. Does it feel like you’re angry ALL THE TIME? Regular, chronic anger drains you, leaving you feeling exhausted. But even low-grade anger can affect you in the same way over time, not just rage.
So, what are your triggers for getting really angry?
Usually, anger triggers are things happening around us. Imagine yourself in one of the following situations:
- You’re stuck in a Home Affairs queue that isn’t moving and you’re starting to boil with frustration.
- You’ve just read a truly offensive post on social media and it makes you want to lash out.
- Some guy just cut your off in traffic, and you’re already running late.
But, is everything really worthy of rage?
Cut some of the anger out of your life by learning how to manage your stress-triggers. The first step is to identify what you’re actually feeling – are you angry or are you:
- Annoyed by a long wait
- Offended by an insulting statement
- Frustrated by poor service
- Impatient with traffic jams
- Irritated because you’re hungry or tired?
All the above have one thing in common: they are effective triggers for you to become angry and maybe even behave in an angry way. So, once you’ve identified your triggers, it’s easy to come up with a strategy for coping in similar situations.
If you’re spending a lot of time being angry, here are some ways to cope:
- Self-monitoring. This means keeping a daily record of the target behavior (the angry behavior rather than just the angry feeling). Write down when the angry behavior began and ended along with a brief description where you were and what was happening at the time. Include events that may have happened before the angry behavior; and the consequences (what happened, how you felt, what you were thinking). As you do this, your self-awareness increases and you gradually take control over the urge to act in anger.
- Assess self-efficacy (self-confidence). Once high-risk situations have been identified, it’s vital to understand your own level of self-confidence in being able to resist the urge for angry behavior in these high-risk situations. Practice self-confident responses – run through a few scenarios at night to prepare you for the following day. This is a very comforting technique. Once you have done some homework, you’ll feel far more confident!
- Learn coping behaviours. Next you can teach yourself to respond to high–risk situations before being exposed to the situation again – be prepared! Remind yourself of the negative consequences of an angry outburst, and decide in advance how you can reduce the urge to become angry. An example: reward yourself for recognising a high risk situation and instead of letting it overwhelm you, detach and withdraw into a “whatever” state of mind. Good! You’re regaining self-control, and you aren’t locked into situations that are triggers for you.
The big pay-off
It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth every second! Once you understand your anger triggers and how to manage them, you’re going to benefit from all the health payouts of being calm: reduced stress, better sleep, improved relationships and a big self-confidence boost. Live long and prosper!
By Evelyn Beneke for HelloDoctor.com