Your rage has a reason
I bet there is one time or another where you lost your cool. Imagine yourself in your car driving within the speed limit in a narrow lane and suddenly another car rushes past you blasting music with no concern for its own or anyone else’s safety. What do you do? Let me guess. Your heart rate and blood pressure go up, your energy hormones increase and your adrenaline breaks the limit. To put it simply, you lose your cool.
The hatred which you feel towards the impulsive driver is normal. The natural way of expressing anger is to respond aggressively. Anger inspires powerful feelings and behavior which helps you fight and to defend yourself in times of possible threat. Therefore, a certain amount of anger is necessary for your survival.
Strategies to help you calm down
Anger requires a certain civilized form of expression. No matter how much rage you feel, you certainly should not lash out at every person or object which may irritate you. So, what do you do when your instinct taunts you to put your fist through a wall? Dr. Anirban Gozi, an anger therapist in Newton, brings you the following strategies –
- Be assertive, not aggressive – Being assertive is the right and healthy way to express anger. Make your needs clear and think about what you can do to get them met, without hurting others or yourself. Being assertive, however, does not mean annoyingly demanding and pushy. You should be respectful towards others.
- Suppress – Imagine yourself in the first scenario again. As soon as you feel angry, you suppress the feeling, and then convert or redirect it towards something positive. Breathe deeply and think about relaxing imagery. Other than these, there are various other techniques which can be taught by anger therapists. The danger of this approach is that your anger can turn inward—on yourself. Suppressed anger may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression.
- Cognitive Restructure – When trying the suppression approach, it’s important to restructure your thinking. Remind yourself that lashing out will not fix anything and it will certainly not make you feel better (it may even make you feel worse). Try to be logical. Remember that the world does not revolve around you, no one is out to get you and you’re just experiencing downfalls. Do this every time you feel the pangs of anger getting the best of you, and it’ll help you get a more balanced perspective.
- Better Communication – Have you ever had the same fight over and over again without resolution. This is because of inadequate communication. When you find yourself in a heated discussion, slow down and analyze your responses. Do not jump to conclusions, and think about what you really want to say. At the same time, pay attention to what the other person is saying or trying to say.
- Use Humor – Use humorous words and imageries to defuse your rage. Next time, when a race car enthusiast drives past you at the speed of light, imagine the driver as one of the Looney Tune characters.
If you feel that your anger more often than not takes the better of you, consider a visit to a therapist. Dr. Anirban Gozi, an expert anger therapist in Newton, can provide you with anger management counseling. You can develop new behaviors, thought patterns and relaxation skills to become more calm and composed.