More often than not, we tend to lose our tempers when faced with early-morning traffic, an overdue report that only shows up at the end of the day, or a blameless alarm clock that fails to get you out of bed. And these are just a few things that can tick us off. While anger is a normal emotion, the way it’s expressed can be unhealthy, not to mention the subject on whom your anger is vented, of course. If not properly controlled, anger can take a heavy toll on your overall health. You can’t do much to control the traffic during rush hour, but you can definitely keep a check on how you react to it. Our minds and bodies are programmed to respond instantly, acting out the moment we feel angry. Merely a defence mechanism, if not channelled in the right direction, anger can have serious consequences for your health, career and personal life. Try some of these tips to keep that temper in check.
Time Out: As kids, we were often told to count for a few seconds when we got angry. This need not apply only to the young; it works just as well for adults, too. Before putting on a frown - which goes hand-in-hand with an outburst - take a deep breath and slowly count to ten. Use these few moments to collect your thoughts. Time out will help defuse a temper and enables you to think a little more clearly, which may not be the case in the heat of the moment.
Healthy Release: Instead of lashing out towards a person or pet, try a pillow instead. It will help you release tension and keep hot headedness at bay. Practice regularly, deep breathing or meditation to keep your temper under control. The next time you find yourself seething, close your eyes, and take a long, deep breath. Picture yourself far, far away at your favourite place; maybe by the seaside. Do this for a few minutes, and you will slowly feel the anger melt away. And don’t be surprised if you see a flicker of a smile on your face. Just don’t try this when you’re driving!
Exercise: Working out is an excellent outlet when you’re angry. If you find your emotions escalating, break away from the responsible person or place for a short while. A quick walk or jog can help lower the frustration that’s building up, and can get you thinking more clearly and calmly. The adrenaline rush brought about by physical activity helps you blow off steam in no time at all. Once calmer, express your feelings. You might even want to try a bit of humour to lighten up the situation.
Identify Solutions: Instead of letting anger get the better of you, pinpoint the actual source of it, to help you to understand what sets you off so you can deal with it better. Try a relaxation technique to soothe the nerves. The strong emotions will only wreak havoc with your blood pressure. And don’t forget the unwanted wrinkles caused by frequent scowling.
Sleep: A good night’s sleep ensures that your body and mind gets ample rest. If your body doesn’t get the shut-eye it needs, stress hormones are released into your body, which increases the chance of you losing your temper during the day.
Learning how to control your anger can sometimes be challenging. Find out what it takes for you to get into a better mood. Put on your favourite music, meditate, read a book, or hum a song - anything to help you to relax and calm down. Take control and tame that temper before it takes control of you!