A few weeks it ago it occurred to me that I’ve explained different tip on what to do when trying to manage things like anger or anxiety, but I haven’t gone into the nuts and bolts of how to do those different techniques I’ve suggested. So i’m going to take a few minutes and unpack some of these tips and explain how to do them.
It may seem odd to lump anger and anxiety together in the same article, but often anxiety disguises itself as an anger issue, and they both have a irritability component
Anxiety starts in the mind. It starts as negative, incorrect, or irrational thinking. If not challenged, our incorrect thinking affects our behavior and we stop being assertive and proactive. We stop living, and then, before ya know it, we feel powerless. We might become overly sensitive, irritable, and…..wait for it….. angry.
So here’s an explanation of some of the tips I’ve mentioned and how to execute them.
Slow Down: Yep, that’s it. Although simple, its not necessarily easy. The simple part are the baby steps you will adopt towards changing the behavior; the not-so-simple part is the years of conditioning you will have to overcome.
Slowing down means getting your mind and body in sync. It involves quieting the mind and focusing on just one activity, something in the present moment. Whereas anxiety pulls us out of the present moment and into our heads, slowing down brings us back to the present and to the body. So how do we get to the present? Pick something that focuses on the senses, Something you can see, smell, hear, taste, or touch. Focus on what’s going on in the body during the activity, whether its drinking coffee with a friend, or just sitting on a park bench and watching life happen around you.
Thought Stopping: This almost sounds too simple to be a thing, but when a thought pops into your mind that is negative, simply say “no” or “stop”. If it helps, think of a stop sign as you say it. This can be beneficial for both anxiety and anger. The greatest battles we face take place in the mind. If we change the way we think, we change the way we behave, if we change the way we behave, we change our lives.
Breathe: Another simple one. When a person becomes anxious or angry, their breathing becomes more shallow, when this happens it causes less oxygen in the bloodstream which mean less oxygen to the brain, this creates brain fog. Brain fog is was causes irrational thinking. I teach my clients 4-7-8 breathing to help alleviate the brain fog and irrational thinking. Simply breathe in through the nose for a 4 count, hold your breath for a 7 count, then exhale for an 8 count. Do this exercise 3 or 4 times and the brain fog should clear and rational thinking will return.
These are just three of the many techniques to help manage our anxiety or our anger. By practicing these techniques and others we can begin to take control of our inner world and can have the freedom to respond to reality instead of reacting to it.