How do you keep the lid of an old fashioned pressure cooker from exploding and spewing food all over the stovetop?
You turn the heat off.
Your anger, like the hissing sputtering pressure cooker, can be cooled off too by reducing the heat which keeps it at a dangerously rapid boil.
Wherever YOU are there’s opportunity to manage YOUR angry response. At work, home, in and around your community streets/parking lots and businesses, on the internet through emails, social media and Facebook.
In this article:
You’ll get some handy tools and quick tips for lowering angry reactions with 3 pressure reducing-strategies I’ve tested over decades personally and with clients.
Let’s open the toolbox.
#1– Keep the lid on anger by abstaining from bad behavior.
According to Newton Hightower, speaker, therapist and author of Anger Busting 101, abstention from the following behaviors is the “A” of his ABC Program:
- Raising your voice/yelling
- Not breathing between sentences
- Threatening by starting the sentence with- If you…
- Pointing your finger while talking
- Throwing anything
- Hitting, pushing and/or violating personal space
- Glaring at the other
Newton’s techniques come from decades of work with men who have a rage problem and suffered loss of family, marriage and work relationships as a result.
Don’t miss out on the rest of his ABC Program along with his newsletters.and interviews. He’s my go-to guru on anger management plus he’s got a great sense of humor.
TIP: STOP these behaviors immediately no matter how right you are (or think you are) every time– no kidding. Think and say out loud- I just don’t do that behavior.
#2– Keep the lid on anger by taking a time-out.
Remove yourself physically from the source of anger as a first choice if you slip and start behaving badly and aren’t able to make an immediate U-Turn and STOP.
1) Say you need a time-out. Examples: I need a time out. Can we take a time-out– I need a break.
2) Agree to check back within an hour and do so. Examples: I’ll call you back within an hour, or I’ll meet you at the kitchen table in an hour.
3) Return and request to talk with the other about the issue if you can calmly. If you aren’t ready, ask for more time. Examples: I’m ready to return to the conversation– are you? If yes, here’s what I understand so far; I still need more time. Would it be okay to take another hour or wait until 10am tomorrow?
4) Let a cooler mind, warm heart and listening ears prevail.
Tip: Get an agreement from the significant other at home to honor your attempt to manage anger. Let them know that your need for a time-out helps you listen fully to their concerns.
Add that a time-out isn’t an attempt to avoid them or their issue (which is a legitimate fear)–hence the promise to check-in within the hour to keep discussing or plan next steps.
#3– Keep the lid on anger by doing the Double Blow breathing technique.
Breathing in to the count of 5 and out to the count of 5 or breathing in the good and out with the bad are basic tools to practice for stress relief, relaxation and generally good feelings–all useful for anger management.
Dr. Robert Epstein, psychologist created the Double Blow technique by adding an extra hard blow at the end of exhaling. Try it out.
So, when feeling angry:
1) Breathe in and then as you reach the end of the exhale, do an extra hard blow.
2) This releases the extra air in your lungs and counteracts the tendency to breathe shallow when threatened. Panic feelings are less likely to happen because you’re breathing deeply.
Tip: Teach this technique to your children. Dr. Epstein taught this technique to his daughter when she was a toddler. Can you imagine how they played together at imitating that extra hard blow? Sweet fun.
By the time she reached age 5 and he saw that she was getting upset he could say: Do your blowing. It became a fun game for her with giggles instead of a tantrum.
So help yourself and your kiddo keep your lids on!
Tip: Have some fun and take Dr. Epstein’s free quiz, Do You Have What It Takes to Fight Stress? online to get feedback on skills you need to live a happier, stress-free life.
Here’s your takeaway:
Keeping the lid on your anger is possible when you STOP bad behaviors, remove yourself and avoid an escalating exchange by taking a time-out and adding a Double Blow to your breathing techniques.
Keep the lid on and the food in the cooker.
Hmm good. 🙂
What are your favorite ways to keep the lid on anger? Please share.