Ok, so let me just say this up front that this is not solely about anger, but more about managing thoughts and emotions. Anger is probably one negative emotion that most people relate to, right from a baby a few months old, to those well up in age.
Psychologists who have done a great deal of study on human behaviour point out a cycle that we go through that pretty much explains our behaviour. When we receive external stimulus, from what we see or hear, it creates thoughts in us, our thoughts then influence or trigger our emotions, and most times we act out on our emotions. Our actions then feed back to us as external stimulus and the cycle is repeated.
Further studies believe that between our thoughts and the triggered emotion, there is a time lapse. That delay before we get an emotional response of anger, sadness, depression, guilt etc. is a vital tool to gain control of our emotional state. You have probably heard that counting is a strategy for anger management, that counting actually exploits that gap and disarms the thought of anger from triggering the emotion. Another useful technique is breathing. This involves taking deep breaths as soon as an unpleasant thought arises so as to disengage it from the emotion.
These techniques sound so simple to be considered a means of managing the complexity of our emotions, however when they are applied, they produce immediate and effective results.
What emotions are you trying to manage today? What situations press all your war buttons? Who has been winding you up to the point of loss of control?
It is time to take back the management of your emotional state, become more aware of your thoughts, and exploit the time lapse between thought and emotion, by counting or taking deep breaths, to diffuse the power of any negative thinking.