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Does your temper sometimes take control?

 

Last updated 11/30/2017 at Noon



The American Counseling Association

Special to the Village News

It’s clear that people are living in an age of heightened anxiety and stress. News reports are full of events that range from extremely upsetting to utterly terrifying. It’s little wonder that many people feel on edge and easily upset so much of the time.

An unfortunate side effect of feeling stressed out is that it can be easier to become angry over even small things. While anger might not seem a major problem, if people occasionally become angry enough to strike out, speak violently or simply seem to lose control, this unhealthy and dangerous behavior needs attention.

Anger usually stems from believing that something is “unfair” and believing that they simply “can’t stand it” when things are unfair. Sometimes such beliefs are so deep-seated that a person reacts immediately to an event, action or even a statement without stopping to think about the consequences of their actions.

If the reaction is a physical one, the outcome can be truly harmful, but even out-of-control verbal anger can produce devastating results.

In order to control anger, time is a critical factor. Every second that passes between when something seems “unfair” and when a person reacts greatly increases the chance that they will make a wiser, healthier decision. And while it isn’t easy to accomplish taking time to think rather than simply reacting, there are techniques that can help slow someone down.

The easiest is just to take one or more deep breaths. Also, because thoughts of unfairness are what cause the anger, any thought that replaces such thinking will help. Simply being reminded to take a deep breath or to count to 10 when a person begins to feel anger will provide such a distraction.

Some health experts recommend a method called “square breathing.” Inhale slowly for a count of five, hold that breath for another count of five, and exhale slowly. Doing this repeatedly will help a person feel more in control of their thoughts and less angry.

Doing anything that makes one stop and think rather than just reacting and striking out is essential to anger control. If a person finds that they become angry often and that techniques like deep breathing or getting friends to warn them when they appear angry, aren’t working, seek professional help. A professional counselor can offer a variety of approaches that can help get anger safely under control.

Counseling Corner is provided by the American Counseling Association. Send comments and questions to ACAcorner@counseling.org or visit the ACA website at www.counseling.org.

 

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