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How can I learn to control my temper?

How can I learn to control my temper?

The following is a letter I wrote in response to a question from a client.

First of all, I want to say that anger is a very pervasive problem in our society and the level of anger in some individuals seems to be spiraling out of control. As a society, we pay a huge cost for uncontrolled anger in the form of broken families, medical bills and entanglements with the law.

I want to commend you for your courage in taking responsibility for your angry behaviour rather than blaming it on others. This is certainly a step in the right direction.

Your anger is a sign that something needs to be changed in your life, that you are fearful, sad or deeply hurting inside.

It may be that you are not getting what you want or what you are getting, you do not want.

Learning to control your temper involves being able to assertively communicate your angry feelings and more importantly, being able to identify the source(s) of your anger. Always remember, angry feelings that are not identified and expressed, tend to  be acted out.

To manage your anger effectively, you may need a combination of different methods, some of which are:

  • Experiential emotional approaches such as emotional-based therapy , which allows you to express your anger in a safe setting.
  • Physical forms of release/ exercise: walking, running, swimming.
  • Intensive inner-child work:
    The ‘inner child’ is the feeling part of you that is spontaneous and playful. Hurtful childhood experiences or childhood trauma may have harmed your inner child and you may be carrying residual pain from those experiences. This may be restimulated from time to time leading you to get angry or you may be using anger to block the pain of these early childhood experiences.
  • Mindfulness exercises drawn mainly from the Eastern traditions such as Buddhism, which focus on developing awareness in one's everyday life using the breath as a focal activity/point.

Mindfulness means living in the moment; not necessarily for the moment. It entails bringing your awareness and senses to whatever you are doing in the present moment and not focusing on the past or future. To do so, attention is placed on the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. This has a powerful effect on both the mind and body, as the breath is the link between these two. The overall aim is to observe one’s anger triggers and feelings and thereby develop a better relationship , without identifying with or acting on these.

The above methods would help you to transform the anger into healing and wellness.

Once you begin to release old, pent-up angry feelings, you will find that controlling and redirecting your anger energy towards positive goals will become easier. The frequency and length of your anger episodes will diminish and  in general, you will not react from an angry state of mind.

Perhaps one of the best gifts you can give yourself and others in this world is to learn how to avoid getting excessively angry by expressing it appropriately, whenever necessary. To be as calm as possible.  In the process you will contribute to the overall happiness in our world.

7 Tips to Deal with Anger
Purpose of Anger Management

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