Anyone can become angry…particularly a parent or caregiver. Frustrration for a parent may build until, inadvertently, anger gains such control, it is all one is feeling and thinking. Remember a past post that established the reasons we get angry have more to do with our thoughts than our circumstances? Well, one way to manage anger is to be clear about one’s values about anger so one can create very intentional messages for when difficult, anger-provoking situations arise. Being prepared with the messages below can help.
Being intentional about anger messages
When we replace anger-provoking thoughts with new messages, we gain a new sense of power over our anger which allows us the opportunity to avoid the damage that anger can cause to those around us.
Thoughts to help manage anger
Here are some of examples of messages that we can rehearse with ourselves that may be very helpful in managing anger.
- Your anger does not have to control you: you can control it.
- If someone is “making you angry” then that person is controlling you.
- You have the power to decide to be in charge of your anger and to not allow your anger to be in charge of you.
- Anger is caused by automatic thoughts, often ones that are distorted. You have the power to learn to have different, healthier, more accurate thoughts that help you stay in charge of yourself.
- You can control the way your brain operates. You can teach your cortex to engage.
- You can decide to walk away.
- You can learn to be more accepting and appreciative of the feelings, needs, values and perspectives of others.
- You can use your thinking power to override out of control emotional reactions.
- You can think and feel at the same time.
- A sign of maturity is the ability to manage one’s anger.
- It is healthier and more mature to use anger as a signal, not as a weapon.
- Just because someone is angry at you doesn’t mean you have to be angry back at them.
- If you are chronically angry you may need and deserve some intense, personalized help in learning new ways to approach and manage your anger.
Put the messages on your bathroom mirror or fridge
If one or more of these messages feels helpful in circumventing unhealthy anger responses, then it may be a even more helpful to display these messages where you will see them. They will act as visible reminders to the truth that anger can be managed.
With the many issues that we face daily, we need all he help we can get. With a bit of practice, these messages can be learned. They can transform some of your thinking and core beliefs, and begin to make a genuine difference in your relationships.
These messages are a great start to helping you deal with your anger, and that’s a very good thing.
Gerry Vassar, President and CEO, Lakeside Educational Network
Information taken from Preventing Violence through Anger Management, 2006, Diane Wagenhals. Licensed Materials. All rights reserved.