When you are angry there are a number of things you can do to help calm yourself down before responding. One we’ve talked about a great deal is to physically remove yourself from the situation to gain time to think about things. Another is to get exercise. The activity helps to burn off the excess energy, reduce your blood pressure and releases endorphins that improve your mood. Furthermore, meditating or breathing deeply and counting slowly also have shown to relax the body and lower the stress level.
Another great way to simmer down and help reflect on your angry emotions is to express yourself by journaling. Writing your thoughts down is great therapy because you release your negative, bitter feelings in a safe way and can completely be yourself. It gives you quiet, alone time to think about what has been said or done and the opportunity to respond in a more thoughtful and rational way after analyzing what you have written down. People who journal as a response to anger say that it helps to reduce the pain, improve their mood and process the whole experience to help them gain control of their angry feelings.
If you haven’t tried this method of anger control before, now is as good a time as ever. Here are some tips on how to make it a constructive experience:
1. Write the entire thing down. Think about what happened and put pen to paper, or type it on your tablet.
2. What exactly was the event that made you so angry? What triggered your anger? Was it one thing like an unexpectedly poor review at work? Or, a series of events that led up to it, like months and months of working overtime to get all the work done and then a negative outcome?
3. How did you respond? Write down what you remember saying or doing. Did you sit there and take it internalizing the hurt feelings, or snap back? Did you throw something or even storm out?
4. What do you think about it? Did you respond appropriately? Why is the situation so unfair? Or, after contemplation do you think the other person had a good point?
4. Validate your own emotions. It’s okay to feel angry about a poor review after giving up your personal life and working your tale off.
5. How do you think your response made the individual or people involved feel?
6. What was the end result? How do you feel about the way the whole thing played out? Did your behavior get you what you wanted? Make you feel any better? Or cause even more hurt and pain?
After going through the process of getting it all out in writing, you can gain a better understanding of what lead you to get so angry. In many cases, reflection might help you realize that you could have done things differently to end up with more positive consequences. For example, instead of threatening to quit because of your boss’s poor management style, you might realize that maybe she had a point. Instead of blowing up, just asking for more guidance might be the solution to a brighter future with the company. Journaling is an effective anger management tool for people who want to gain control of their behavior and improve their life.