Anger Management Counseling Therapy in San Francisco and San Mateo:
One of our most challenging emotions is anger. In fact, hardly a day goes by that someone does not tell me that he or she has some difficulty effectively managing it. The steps toward managing anger below were developed and clarified through facilitating anger management groups with children, couples and adults. Each step will help lead you into a more peaceful and harmonious relationship with yourself and others.
Normalize the feeling of Anger
Realize that we are born with the capacity to feel anger. It is part and parcel of what it is to be human. Though often uncomfortable, anger itself isn’t bad. We frequently run into problems when we attempt to gloss over anger, or when we don’t stop ourselves from getting carried away with that anger. It is a delicate balance between acknowledging this feeling and acting it out in ways that hurt people. Normalizing anger does not mean giving yourself permission to abuse yourself or others. It is not minimizing the effect of your anger on others. It is instead recognizing that you are in the same boat as everyone else.
For many people, deciding to accept the feeling of anger, gives them freedom to investigate it. This leads us to the next step…
Become very curious about what is going on
Finding out what lies underneath the anger is an important part of changing the “anger habit”. Anger is a signal that something needs our attention. The trick is to find out what it is that needs to be consciously addressed. Just as the sweetest puppy will bark when you step on it’s tail, our bodies and psyches will respond with the feeling of anger when we have been hurt. Sometimes what has hurt us is not so clear. Anger is often used as a “mask” to cover up difficult feelings such as shame, fear, guilt, anxiety, or sadness, that we would rather not feel. Often times, we trained ourselves early in life not to feel these feelings. We may have been taught that they were unacceptable. Turning your attention inward is one of the most important things that you can do to unhook yourself from anger. Your job is to become a detective. The good thing is that most anger is repetitive and predictable. It occurs over and over again like clockwork. Once you figure out what your triggers are, you’re well on your way.
Understand the payoffs
Just like with almost any habit, there are hidden motivations for what we do. Maybe you use anger to make others do what you want. Perhaps you use it to release stress or to cover up other feelings. Maybe you use anger to make other people feel feelings like guilt or fear. One way to unearth your real motivations is to review situations and ask yourself, “What did I really want”. This contemplation leads us to the truth about feelings and desires that we may be hiding from ourselves.
Come up with a plan
After you turn within and discover what is really going on, you must then make a plan to get your needs met. This usually includes respectfully asking for what you want . Telling the truth with compassion and gentleness might be required.
Breath, feel and then think
Probably the most important thing that you can do to short circuit an anger cycle is to take some deep breaths. With practice, you can learn to recognize anger the moment it begins. The earlier you catch it, the more options you have. This simple of breathing can help you to soften you attitude towards yourself and others. It gives you a chance to uncover and be with whatever is going inside you. It gives you time to think about what a more effective and compassionate course of action might be.
Finally one of the most effective things that you can do is to make a decision. Make a firm commitment to a peaceful state of mind, and hold yourself accountable. Some people do this by picking a specific period of time and deciding that they will relax no matter what happens. If you slip, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, figure out how you got off track, and get right back on.