Sir Godfrey Gregg
How many times have you been confronted by an angry person, be it a workmate, a customer or a loved one only to feel at a loss for how to handle them without losing your cool?
What if you knew how to stay calm while everyone else around you was losing their cool, how would that be?
Fortunately there are some simple anger management techniques that you could be applying right now that can make your life easier and give you the confidence to deal with irrational and hot-headed people.
Here are 5 simple anger management techniques to get you started
1. Use Positive Self Talk
There are things that you can say to yourself quietly in your mind when faced with another person’s anger. This kind of talk is called self talk. The most important person you will talk to every day is yourself. It is from this talk that you can begin to take charge of your physical and emotional responses. Anger management activities for your mind…
‘When someone gets angry, I get calm’
‘Anger is just a temporary state of insanity – it will pass’
‘I wonder what this person is angry about’
‘I choose to respond calmly no matter how angry you get’
‘I can choose to walk away if I feel uncomfortable or afraid’
‘I am responsible for my own feelings and I can choose to respond instead of reacting’
Keep this list with you, and if you like add some of your own positive statements. Choose the one that you most relate to and then affirm it to your self every day for five minutes.
Don’t be discouraged if you forget your positive statement the first few times. Just continue to memorize it and repeat it constantly especially of you know you are going to face an angry person.
2. Acknowledge Their Feelings
When someone is angry, they have powerful emotions fuelling their thoughts and actions. As most of us are not taught how to manage powerful emotions like anger, frustration, rage or jealousy we revert to our conditioned behaviour. During moments of anger people become irrational and illogical because these feelings overwhelm their rational mind. The fastest way to diffuse these feelings is to not judge them in another. To do this, you must also be comfortable to face your own anger. Use statements such as:
‘You seem to be very annoyed.’
‘I understand that you are angry.’
When you use statements like these try to speak in a calm, sincere and assertive tone, despite how much you might want to criticize them.
3. Listen First, Ask Questions Later
Most angry people just want to be heard. The secret to diffusing their anger is to simply acknowledge what they are saying without trying to judge or change it.
The moment that you negate or oppose what they are saying you’re adding fuel to the fire.
To overcome this try repeating back some of the main points or comments that have been made such as:
‘So what you are saying is that you don’t like it when…’
‘Ok, I understand that you don’t like to be woken up by the neighbour’s dog’
One of the secrets to making a connection with someone who is angry is to know that anger comes from not feeling loved or understood.
Just by talking the time to find out why they are angry can sometimes be enough to let the other person know you are listening and care about them.
4. Check Your Body Language
When you find yourself in a situation where you are being confronted by an angry person do your best to match the position of your body with them. If they are standing up and talking down to you, then change your body position by standing up also. If they are sitting, then sit down so that you are at the same level so that they do not take your body posture as a threat.
Always keep in mind that safety comes first. Never allow anyone to encroach upon your personal space. Always keep a safe distance between you and the person confronting you so there are no accidents.
If this means keeping yourself close to exit, then do so. The other option is to keep a piece of furniture between you and the other person. By matching the body language of the other person it allows for a more non-threatening experience for both. Try not to ask any questions until after the person has finished their outburst. That way no-one needs to get frustrated by unsatisfactory answers.
5. Share Your Own Feelings
This can be a great diffuser of tension and help you to take back control of the situation. This is especially true if the other person is normally even tempered. The strategy here is to use ‘I’ statements instead of ‘you’ statements. The reasoning behind this is that you are then taking responsibility for your own emotions and not trying to blame them for how you feel. Blaming or accusing others for how you feel in any situation will only fuel the fire.
Some examples include:
‘I feel angry when you shout at me like that’. (Instead of, ‘You make me so angry when you yell.’)
‘I feel scared when you lose control of your temper’. (Instead of, You are scaring me’.)
‘I’m so upset right now that I don’t know what to think or say’. (Instead of, You are making me so upset that I I don’t know what I might do’.)
Mastering the skill of anger management both within yourself and others is a powerful gift to give yourself and those you love. It is also a gift that lasts a lifetime. I highly recommend you find an anger management program or even an anger management class to join.
This is by far the fastest way to accelerate your skill level and start enjoying the benefits of a calmer, happier and more stress free life!