3 Steps To Controlling Your Anger
As a teenager, I used to have a horrible anger problem.
At the time, I was involved in competitive off-road motorcycling. I was obsessed with the sport and went to great lengths to be the best I could be. It was common for me to practice at least an hour every day. I would pour over video, analyzing the best riders in the world. My room was littered with spiral notebooks filled with goals, practice plans, or observations I had about how to improve. I was all in.
So, when things didn’t go as well as I intended, in practice or competition, I would often go into fits of rage. In short, I would throw temper tantrums.
But as I’ve gotten older, I can gladly say I’ve been able to get that anger under much greater control. Here are three lessons I’ve learned that can help you, too, gain control over your anger:
Step #1- Do Something To Empower Yourself
Anger takes us out of an empowered state. To regain control, you need to find things to empower yourself.
Back when I was that teenager struggling to be the best competitor I could be, I began to recognize that my temper was limiting my potential. I knew I needed an attitude change.
I picked up a book from my mother’s bookshelf called The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. The suggestions given in the book really helped turn my point of view around when things didn’t go as desired. I began to find the good in everything, substituting that mindset for the one of anger.
By reading just one book I was able to empower myself for change when I hadn’t been able to do so otherwise.
If you are struggling with anger you must do something to turn in a positive direction. Begin by reading positive books or blogs like this one to fill your mind with empowering thoughts and to create a healthy, growth-oriented mindset.
“When we can lay down our fear and anger and choose responses other than aggression, we create the conditions for bringing out the best in us humans.” Margaret J. Wheatley
Step #2- Gain Perspective
When we get angry we are really saying that nothing is more important than the pain I feel right now. Newsflash—nothing is really that important.
This is a world of life-and-death events every day. People all over the world are suffering in drastic ways right now. People are dying or losing loved ones this very moment. Your problem is not that big. Look at your circumstances in light of the totality of life.
The only way to gain this upper-hand is to practice it regularly before you lose your temper. Our emotions can be too powerful to try to reason with in the moment.
The absolute best way to gain emotional controls is to practice gratitude. As you regularly live a life of gratitude for your life and health and all the good things you have you are practicing a sort of preventative medicine that can strengthen you going into your next episode with anger.
Develop the habit of showing gratitude on a daily basis and you will begin to see the circumstances of life with a much clearer perspective.
Step #3- Choose
A friend once told me, “It can be a big deal or a small deal, it’s up to you.”
It’s such simple advice but I’d never really considered it before. We really do have the ability to choose our responses in life. We can respond in negative ways or we can choose helpful ones.
Of course, one of those ways is easier than the other. It comes more naturally to let our negative feelings take control.
It’s a lot like choosing to exercise or not. It’s quite easy to choose to not to exercise. But as we continually engage in our workouts it becomes easier. We develop positive habits and we begin to become aware of the positive benefits because we regularly experience them.
Prepare your mind now to be aware the very next time something happens that would normally cause your feathers to ruffle. And when that thing happens, choose. Choose to let it not be a big deal and move on with your life.
Realize and acknowledge that you have the power of choice and that you aren’t powerless. Don’t be the victim anymore. You can choose to control your anger and stop being so angry all the time.
“Get mad, then get over it.” Colin Powell
You know people who need help controlling their anger. Please share!