Thinking influences our feelings through the things that we say to ourselves. Unhelpful thoughts can add fuel to the fire and play a large role in keeping anger going after the event has passed. However, using helpful self-statements (or ‘cooling thoughts’) can be a good way to manage our anger and guide our behavior. Examples of these include:
- Chill out
- Calm down
- Breathe away the anger
- Don’t yell
- Don’t give them the satisfaction of seeing you angry
- It’s not worth it
- Give them a chance to have a say
To use this strategy we need to break anger into several stages:
- Getting ready for provocation: when we know we are going to face something that will make us angry.
- During the event: early signs of anger are cues to use coping strategies.
- Coping with stress: early attempts at anger management may not be successful.
- Reflecting on provocation: time to evaluate the effect of the experience on you, continue coping or give self praise.
Preparing for a provoking situations
- This is going to upset me but I know how to deal with it
- What is it that I have to do?
- Stick to the issues and don’t take it personally
- Try not to take this too seriously
- Time for a few deep breaths of relaxation
- Easy does it, remember to keep your sense of humor
During the event
- Stay calm, just continue to relax
- Think of what you want to get out of this
- There is no point in getting mad
- It’s really a shame that she has to act like this
- If I start to get mad I’ll just be banging my head against the wall
- What he says doesn’t matter. I’m on top of this situation and it’s under control
Coping with stress
- My muscles are starting to feel tight, time to relax and slow things down
- It’s just not worth it to get so angry
- Time to take a deep breath
- Try to reason it out. Treat each other with respect
- He’d probably like me to get really angry. Well I’m going to disappoint him Leaving the anger and looking back
- Try to shake it off. Don’t let it interfere with your job
- Remember relaxation, it’s a lot better than anger
- I handled that pretty well. It worked!
- It could have been a lot worse
- My pride can sure get me into trouble, but when I don’t take things too seriously, I’m better off