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Rage: How To Control It! From Barrington and Crystal Lake, IL

Mar 19, 2008
Proven and time-tested relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, soothe angry feelings. There are books and courses that can teach you relaxation techniques, and once you learn them, you can call upon them in any situation.

If you are involved in a relationship where you and your partner are hot-tempered, both of you should learn them. Some easy-to-learn steps you should habitually practice:

1. From your diaphragm, practice breathing deeply. Practice often until it becomes second nature.

2. Use a calming word or phrase as your mantra, such as the word, relax, or the phrase, be easy. While breathing deeply, repeat it over and over.

3. Imagine or visualize a relaxing experience. This experience can come from either your memory of a real experience or through the process of imagining a fictional one.

4. Use, slow, yoga-like exercises which are not strenuous, to relax your muscles and calm yourself down. Practice these techniques so frequently that they become second nature to you when you are in a tense situation.

Thought Restructuring and Management

The cornerstone of this process means changing your thinking patterns. Angry people often reflect their inner thoughts by cursing, swearing, or speaking to others in derogatory and hurtful ways.

When you get angry, your thinking becomes very exaggerated and overly dramatic and hostile. The thought management technique centers on gaining perspective by consciously replacing these extreme thoughts with those that are more realistic.

For instance, instead of thinking exaggerated and extreme thoughts to yourself, such as, this grade is awful or I will NEVER get into college, consciously replace them by thinking, it is frustrating, and it is reasonable that I am upset, but it does not mean I wont get into any college at all. After all, I can re-take the course in summer school and there are other colleges that will take me.

Remember: Be very careful about using words like never or always when thinking about yourself or others. Thoughts like, this damn car NEVER works, or you are NEVER on time, are not only untrue, they also serve to fuel your anger by justifying it to yourself.

They also inadvertently create the impression that the problem is unsolvable and also alienate people who might, in other circumstances, be willing to help. Consciously remind yourself that outrage will not repair anything, and may actually make you feel worse than you did previously.

Remember that anger, even if justified, can quickly become extreme and irrational. That makes it very important to make the use of hard logic a routine part of your mental hygiene.

Each time you are agitated or annoyed; consciously remind yourself that often problems have really NOTHING to do with you, personally-but, rather, with the goings-on of the world itself or with the other person. Remind yourself that you are just experiencing some of lifes inevitable pot holes.

These thought replacements will help you get a more balanced perspective when you feel your anger getting the best of you. Remember: Angry people, in their subconscious thinking tend to DEMAND things like, justice, respect, compliance, admiration etc.

Of course, we all want these things and get hurt and disappointed when we do not get them. However, pathologically angry people subconsciously DEMAND them, and when their demands aren't met, their disappointment converts to toxic forms of anger.

As part of your thought management program, become aware of your demanding feelings and then convert them into simple desires. In other words, practice saying and meaning, I would like something rather than saying, I DEMAND or I MUST have something.

Then, when you are unable to get what you want, you will experience more appropriate and normal reactions such as, frustration, disappointment, or annoyance but not toxic ANGER or RAGE. Many people use toxic anger as a way to avoid feeling hurt, but, it usually does not go away by using that strategy.

Healthy Problem Solving Skills

I am sure that sometimes, your anger and frustration are caused by very real, intractable or inescapable issues and it can be a healthy, natural response to them. Unfortunately, there is also a pragmatic cultural belief in America that every problem has a solution.

Unfortunately, that notion can compound our frustration when we discover that it is not always true. When you confront this type of a situation, it might help to not focus so intently on finding the solution, but rather on accepting what you cannot change.

Focus on acceptance; but do not punish yourself if it does not happen instantly. Approach the problem with a balanced view which might be considered philosophical in nature.

When you make a serious attempt at acceptance, you will not be prone to become frustrated and fall into the type of impatient and disastrous black-and-white thinking that erupts into toxic rage or anger.
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.carypsychology.com
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