Everyone experiences anger, but knowing what to do with the emotions makes a big difference in the resolution of the problem. Whether you’re 2 or 92, expressing anger appropriately is a cornerstone of effective communication. As a parent, your positive example of communicating anger will be an important method for teaching your children how to get along and interact with others.
Increase self-awareness of your feelings. By monitoring how you feel, you can detect feelings of minor irritation and frustration before these feelings grow to the point of eruption, counsels psychologist William F. Doverspike, with the Georgia Psychological Association. When you feel irritation, irritability or minor frustration, communicate your feelings readily before the feelings expand and feel overwhelming.
Calm yourself down if you feel anger or frustration that is causing tension, stress or anxiety, suggests certified teacher, counselor and prevention specialist Leah Davies on her Kelly Bear website. Breathe deeply, count to 10 or 20, take a walk or meditate for a few moments to ensure that you stay controlled as you communicate.
Think about the reasons for your anger before you say anything, suggests Oklahoma State University. Anger can be tricky sometimes, connecting something that happened today with something that’s been simmering under the surface for days, weeks, months or longer.
Plan an effective method of communication once you pinpoint the source of your anger. Use "I" statements to express your feelings to someone else, recommends Wellspring Counseling, North Georgia. "I" statements enable you to make direct statements that take responsibility for your feelings. For example, you might say, “I feel mad when you don’t do your chores around the house. I wish you would do the daily chores you agreed you would do.” By expressing your angry feelings directly and respectfully and connecting what you want to happen, you take responsibility for your own feelings and you tell the other person what you would like to have happen so you can feel better.
Resist the urge to engage in negative expressions of anger, warns counselor Kelly Urbon, with the Centennial Counseling Center. Shouting, attacking verbally or intimidating with anger all qualify as over-expressions of emotions. Allowing unexpressed anger to build may result in an explosion of negative anger, which can also have detrimental results due to the intensity of the emotions.
- Your current emotional and physical state might make it difficult to communicate anger appropriately. If you feel tired, sick, hungry or stressed, you may have difficulty maintaining self-control as you express your feelings. Put off a conversation about anger if you don’t feel able to communicate respectfully and appropriately.
- Georgia Psychological Association: Anger Management: A Key to Better Relationships
- Kelly Bear: Helping Children Cope with Anger
- Oklahoma State University: Isn't Anger Good for You?
- Wellspring Counseling, North Georgia: Communicating with “I” Statements
- Centennial Counseling Center: Fear of Anger in Relationships
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