Maybe it’s your rude, demanding colleague, or the bad drivers on the road, but lately you’re feeling your rage bubble up more often than not. Before you lose control of your anger, try some of these strategies to keep your cool. If you don’t learn how to keep it under control, it can start to eat away at you and start to destroy important aspects of your life, including your relationship and your career.
Tell yourself to just stop
If you ruminate over a particular incident that caused you to feel rage, it’ll only build and snowball until that anger is something you feel dominating you not only mentally but perhaps even physically. Make the effort to tell your brain to stop thinking about it. Change your activity and make that concerted effort to fill your mind with something other than the thing that sparked your anger. It might even help to repeat words such as relax or breathe to distract your mind from the issue.
Count to 100
Let’s face it, when you’re really angry, counting to 10 is not going to be enough. Count to 100 and take deep cleansing breaths as you do. It might help to physically remove yourself from the space where the incident took place—so if you’re in your office and got into a heated discussion on the phone, take a walk away from your office and head outside as you count your way to 100.
Find a happy place
Using visual imagery might help you escape the situation that’s triggered your anger. When you get cut off driving into work, before you let that anger flare up, think of a moment or place that makes you feel joy inside—that might be playing softball with your son in the park, or sitting on the beach in Santorini and listening to the waves crash on the shore as you sip a cold beer with the sun on your shoulders.
Find ways to avoid your triggers
If it’s your frustrating commute that makes you mad, then start to look at ways to alleviate that trigger. Maybe it’s carpooling (perhaps having a colleague to talk to during the long drive will make it a more pleasant experience), taking public transit, or using a different route to get into work. If it’s a messy neighbour on your street, avoid passing by their house when you walk your dog so you completely bypass the visual reminder that makes you see red.
Do a few neck rolls or roll your shoulders when you feel then tensing up. Apply pressure with your fingertips to your temples and envision your anger physically escaping your body. If you have the space and some privacy, do a few sun salutations to get your blood flowing in a positive way. On a regular basis, look for a workout that helps you distress, whether that’s running it off or playing squash.