Healthy debate is beneficial, but losing your cool is not. Here are 4 tips – stress and family counseling approved techniques that will help you stay in control when getting heated.
1. Picture Yourself In the Third Person Anger is a normal emotion, but bursts of rage can damage relationships, particularly in families where anxiety and stress dominate. Professional family counseling can help, but when you need a quick fix, try this technique: imagine yourself in the third person. Think about how you feel watching yourself react.
Energetic kids and demanding work schedules can be exhausting, and stepping outside of yourself – even for a brief second, helps you get a better handle on the current situation. Easier said than done, but with time and practice, the ability to see a new perspective will help curb the emotional outburst.
2. Breathe Deeply and Count to Ten It may sound silly, but deep breathing actually works when you need a minute to regroup before lashing out in anger. It has to do with how the body, and more specifically, the abdomen and diaphragm process air. Long slow breaths activate the body’s natural relaxation response, which loosens tight muscles while decreasing heart rate and blood pressure. As these physiological changes take place, a relaxed feeling replaces tension and anxiety with calm and focus.
3. Improve Pathways For Communication Ensuring paths to communication are open and inviting isn’t necessarily a “quick fix” for a heated temper, but a worthwhile strategy nonetheless. In the long term, when children, a spouse, even a co-worker air differences without fear of retribution, the result is almost always positive.
Family counseling experts recommend taking time to listen to the concerns of others before making a judgment, to see things from another point of view. While this does not guarantee the outcome you desire, it does ensure a healthy, positive and constructive line of communication – a key tool in suppressing anger.
4. Engage In Regular Exercise When we’re angry or stressed, our body responds by producing two important hormones – cortisol and adrenalin. While we can’t control which hormones are released, we can learn to regulate levels more effectively. Regular physical activity is the key to getting control. Exercise releases endorphins – the body’s “feel good neurotransmitters”, which elevate mood naturally.
Anger is a perfectly healthy emotion – even the most level headed of us becomes irritated from time to time. But keeping cool despite anger and more importantly, learning to recognize when to pursue professional stress or family counseling is key.
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