Val Baldwin, CPC
Live Your Ultimate Life

Do you, or someone close to you, have problems keeping anger under control?  Do the smallest things set you off?  If you're experiencing a lot of rage, then you need to first get to the root of your anger so you can stop this destructive behavior long term. 

Anger is caused by fear. What happens to us humans when we feel fear is our heart rate goes up, adrenaline is released and we go into fight or flight mode. People with anger issues respond by going directly into fight mode. But fight or flight modes are rarely good choices. To resolve your anger issues, you have to first understand where you anger is coming from and then finding a constructive way to deal with your frustration and fear.

Here are 5 steps to get control of your anger and take your life back in a positive way.

1. Identify the emotion your anger covers.  Anger is nothing more than a cover for hurt, frustration or fear – or all 3. Try talking about what you're really feeling without using the word "anger."  Instead, try saying:

"I am really hurt by what my sister said to me.”

“The decision to not give me that new project at work really frustrates me!”

“I’m afraid that my boyfriend not calling me back means he’s loosing interest.”

2. Identify the true source.  What is the real source of your anger?  Who is the real culprit?  Chances are, it's not the people or situations you are lashing out at. People are rarely upset for the reason they think.

Maybe you are disappointed in yourself for where you are in your career so your boss or coworkers easily anger you.

Ask yourself bottom line….what am I really angry at?

3. Identify the unfulfilled need.  If you are experiencing uncontrollable rage, you have unfulfilled needs that must be addressed.  Ask yourself “what needs are not being met?”

Maybe you feel anger because you don’t feel valued at work like you need to.

Maybe you feel anger because you aren’t feeling respected like you need to by your family members.

Maybe you feel anger because you can’t forgive yourself for the way you’ve behaved while angry.

Whatever the case, you need to know what your needs are before you can fill them in a constructive way.

4. Identify the constructive alternative action.  Instead of raging against people, figure out what you can do that is constructive. Don’t just storm around for days or weeks seething in your anger. Decide on what you can do to resolve it in a constructive manner.

If you need to resolve an issue with a person that you are really angry with, the constructive alternative behavior would be to have a mature, open and respectful discussion with that person to resolve it.

If you need to forgive yourself or someone else, the constructive action would be to forgive.

5. Take specific action.  Once you have identified your constructive alternative action, then it’s time to TAKE ACTION and do it. As uncomfortable as it may be for you, you must take action so you can then move on, and reclaim your life.

One final great tip when you find yourself in the middle of lashing out is to insert gratitude. Your brain cannot process gratitude and anger at the same time. So when you find yourself starting to lash out at someone, immediately think of just one thing you are grateful for. Just one thing. It’s even more effective if your gratitude is pointed towards the person you are angry at.

For instance if you find yourself going nuts at your spouse, you could immediately think to yourself “I am grateful that this man gave me my 2 beautiful children.” This will give you some distance and a few moments to calm down, collect your thoughts and think of a more constructive way to handle your anger.

Follow these 5 steps and you CAN get your anger under control. It takes constant practice and patience but the benefits will be priceless for you AND everyone in your life. Good luck!

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