By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | February 11, 2015
Anger can steal your peace of mind and add untold stress to our lives.
There are many things I would not do when I am angry: Drive a car, answer the phone, make a financial decision, send a letter, comment on something in Facebook and so on. Like some people, I cannot think clearly when I am angry – I need to calm down.
“Anger blows out the lamp of the mind.” ~Robert Green Ingersoll
Calming down when you are angry may not be easy but is necessary for yourself and everyone around you. Here are a few tips you might try:
- Counting. Count up to 100 by twos, then threes until calm.
• Step outdoors. Winter chills may just be the answer.
• Pound nails. Walk to your tool shed and pound a few nails into a piece of scrap wood or wooden fence. Remove them from the wood the next time anger rises.
• Take a brisk walk. Walk or jog the perimeter of your property, apartment complex or around the block.
• Go up or down stairs. Something is always headed up or down; take laundry to the basement or carry supplies upstairs.
• Bounce a ball. Toss a ball from hand to hand or just squeeze – it is good exercise.
• Breathe deeply. Inhale to the count of two; exhale to the count of four. Doing this increases the exchange of gasses in your lungs and focusing on breathing may help cool anger.
• Repot a plant. Spending a few minutes upgrading a favorite plant can be beneficial.
• Try yoga. Google “Beginner Yoga Poses” and take your time.
• Write. Jot down your feelings of anger in a journal, see if a pattern emerges. Start a free blog and write about your experiences.
• Pray. Start a daily prayer list and add the names of those you feel need blessings or divine intervention.
• Vent. Make a call to a toll-free helpline and talk for ten minutes or bend the ear of a sympathetic friend.
• Read aloud. The Declaration of Independence, the Bible or a dictionary can help change your focus until rational thinking returns.
• Drink water. Guzzling eight ounces of water may give you the time you need to take a step back from the situation and calm down.
• Meditate. Think about how you want this situation to be resolved.
• Drown it out. Plug in to earphones and listen to a portable radio or music.
• Reach for the stars. Simple stretching can loosen tense muscles and enable better breathing.
• Increase distance. Move in a direction away from the cause of your anger.
• Palms down. Stand by a sturdy table and press your hands flat; move the fingers apart, then together, repeat.
• Go nowhere. Sit in your car with the motor off. Listen to the radio, music or a book read aloud.
“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems— not people; to focus your energies on answers— not excuses.” ~William Arthur Ward
In many households, similar stress-producing problems tend to pop up over and over like clothing left on the floor, homework not turned in, messes not cleaned up or children fighting. These quick tips can help reduce stress and increase understanding:
• Identify the problem. Identifying the problem is the first step to a solution.
• Troubleshoot solutions. Once identified, list possible solutions or compromises.
• Name your feelings. Label your feeling to clarify the issues.
• Use “I” messages. Have your say in a respectful manner; look for answers, not to place blame.
• Listen to others. Seek to understand others; you may not have all the facts in a situation.
• Note anger triggers. Find the spark and head off the next episode by putting a plan in place while you are calm.
• Look for help. There are many options available for professional help: therapy, counseling, anger management, clergy and so on. Like Parents Anonymous says, “Asking for help is a sign of strength.”
Imagine yourself looking ahead and see your future self behaving calmly while disciplining the kids and then work to become that all-wise, all-knowing June or Ward Cleaver. What you do now will have a ripple effect on you children and their behavior well into their teens.
Children learn how to behave from parents’ examples… What are you teaching your children?
Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.
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