I don’t know about you but in the past when I have felt really angry, like red hot steam coming out of my head angry, I have found it entirely impossible to apply fiddly cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to calm myself. Anger is such a clumsy and gigantic emotion, it seems untamable with anything less than huge and boisterous counter-action. Here I want to let you know about the different techniques I have found to help me diffuse my temper.
If you are anything like me, you WILL NOT feel in the mood to try any of these things when you are actually angry so just do them mindlessly without questioning if they will work. Just do them. You are not in a fit state to be making decisions when you are angry! Try one from each list and then re-assess how angry you feel. If you try a technique from the first list then follow up with one from the second list and finish up with one from the last list.
When you are feeling really fuming stinking angry, pick the easiest one of the following and just do it:
- Just run! Go for a quick high energy sprint – the faster, the better. Puff yourself out. Even a 2 minute sprint seems to burn a lot of excess cortisol and adrenaline. Play your music LOUD. Breath in the air and rejoice in the strong feeling of life pulsing through your veins. YOU ARE ALIVE! (and hopefully a little less angry).
- Pop a spiritual guru on your iPod and take a 20 minute walk outside in the fresh air. Eckhart Tolle is my recommendation. His voice immediately calms me down; he is so completely present that any audio recording of his shifts me back into a conscious state almost immediately. But if Eckhart is not your cup of tea, try another new age motivational speaker such as Deepak Chopra or Doreen Virtue – in my opinion though, Eckhart is the best at calming the spirit.
- Go to a private room and chant and clap your hands. You can try chanting a Hare Krishna mantra or even just a nursery rhyme: anything repetitive which you can sing off the cuff. This helps you to start to access a meditative state.
- Spray 2 puffs of Brauer Mood And Anxiety Remedy Bach Flower 20ml onto your tongue. This is pretty effective. The classic Bach Rescue Remedy (1×10 ML)also works well.
- Jump into the shower and feel the hot water wash the worst of your anger away. Then turn the cold tap on full blast and bear the pain! This will boost your feel-good endorphins. It’s best to get out of the shower without re-heating the water as your body will feel invigorated if left to re-attain its normal temperature by itself. Many yogis swear by cold showers to promote blooming health.
- Breath deeply for 2 or 3 breaths – but don’t stop there. Then hold your breath for as long as is comfortable and feel all of the anger build up in that breath. Then let that breath go and leave your body. You should feel a powerful surge of relief. If this seems to work for you, try a few more deep breaths and take a second round. Repeat until you feel ready for the next step.
When you are feeling pretty angry but still in control:
- Orgasm is great for stress relief as it unlocks energy blocks in the body. Just a quickie is all you need to get you ready for the next stage.
- Take a long, deep and very warm bath or shower to sooth you.
When you are feeling annoyed or irritable:
- Munch on a bowl of iceberg lettuce – the crunchiness calms you while the natural sedative and sleep-inducing properties of lettuce (which are said to be a non-addictive and non-toxic weaker variation of those found in opium) will relax you.
- Crawl into bed and take a nap for 30 minutes. A short nap resets the body: while you sleep you access the infinite presence of your conscious self – which entirely subsumes even the largest of life’s problems. When you wake you may remember why you were angry but the sharp edge of the anger should at least have been removed by your soporific encounter with pure consciousness.
- Try this simple yoga asana: Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Clasp your hands together behind your back as you inhale. On the exhale, bend forward from the hips and raise your arms (hands still clasped behind your back) up and towards your head. This is great at opening the heart and throat chakras – two of the main chakra centers affected by anger.
Drink a cup of something hot and soothing:
- Hot milk with honey
- Hot water with blackstrap molasses
- Chamomile tea with honey
- Brew a cup of lettuce tea which is supposed to act as a sedative. Simmer 2 large lettuce leaves in 250mL of water, strain and drink.
- Hot blackcurrant – either tea or syrup (add milk for extra comfort)
Something upset you enough to make you angry so now you need to figure out if any action is required on your part to fix the situation at a deeper level. This is where assertiveness plays an important role. Assertive behaviour means using communication techniques which are neither passive nor aggressive but which get you what you want in the most diplomatic way possible. Keep posted as I will shortly be writing a post on incorporating assertive communication techniques into your everyday life.
Do you have any other tips to take the edge of anger?