I don’t think any teacher taught me about coping with anger, whether in kindergarten, grade school, or high school!
What if I told you there’s nothing wrong with anger?!
You may or may not agree with me.
There’s nothing wrong with anger alone, but it’s when anger gets out of control, either internally or externally, that we need to take some action.
Coping With Anger Tip #1: Stop
Perhaps you have never really stopped to think about the toll anger may be taking on you.
If you’re a “nice” person, you may be out of touch with your own personal thoughts, feelings, and rights. Perhaps you grew up making peace with everyone around you so that everyone in your family would stay happy. Well, that may have worked then, but it won’t work in the long run. Because underneath all that anger may be a world of hurt and sadness. And you may feel trapped, because you may not know how to get your needs met.
If you are an internalizer,
I urge you to start finding ways to express yourself.
Consider journaling, or talking with a professional counselor. Or you may read some books on Assertiveness. Or you may Google the term and find some helpful exercises to help you practice. You may also want to check out some free assertiveness audio programs at your local library.
Maybe you are an externalizer.
You’ve gotten used to “letting it all out.” You yell, scream, berate. Or you may throw things or punch things. It’s just the way you are, and you often feel better. You may even pride yourself on your ability to express yourself.
But maybe this way of dealing with life has caught up to you. Maybe you’ve gotten negative feedback from customers or your boss. Or from a police officer. Or from your partner, who is tired of your anger outbursts.
Count the cost.
Is it worth holding on to this way of letting your anger out?
And add up the price tag of this way of living.
Coping With Anger Tip #2: Look
The first step, Stop, will be helpfull in different situations that come up in your life.
You will blow it a few times as you seek to develop healthier ways of diffusing your anger. But remember that new habits take time, just like losing weight, or learning to ride a bike. Just because you go off your diet or fall off the bike does not mean that you give up!
Look means that you start learning what triggers you.
Is it a certain way that your partner looks at you? Do particular situations that cause you to “lose your cool?” I urge you to start making an anger log. Write down each incident as it comes up, noting the Situation, your feelings, your thoughts, and how you responded. Over time you will gain greater control of your anger.
Coping With Anger Tip #3: Act
Acting may mean that you choose to walk away from the situation while keeping your mouth shut.
Take some deep breaths and count to 10, or to 20, or to 100!
If you’re an internalizer, however, you may want to have some key scripts or phrases that you have memorized so that you will not be tongue-tied in these situations. Like the externalizer, you may need some cool-down time, but make sure that you take the time to express yourself when you’re feeling more calm.
Coping With Anger Tips Summary: Stop! Look! Act!
I hope these three steps to diffusing and managing your anger prove useful to you!
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6021718 (I’m the author)
Coping With Anger Resources for Individuals With Aspergers
For Adults With Aspergers
If you’d like a much more comprehensive article resource to help you both understand and cope with anger as an individual on the autism spectrum, I highly recommend that you read this autism facts article regarding aspergers and anger in adults (it also applies to kids and teens).
And here’s a helpful worksheet from Tony Attwood geared toward helping Aspergers adults manage their anger.
For Children With Aspergers
If you’re a parent seeking to better understand your child, you will want to read the articles listed above for a better general understanding of why people on the autism spectrum may be prone to anger meltdowns.
Here are 50 Tips for Parents on How To Calm An Asperger’s Child from Mark Hutten’s blog.
And here are two books I highly recommend, having used both of them with my younger clients:
Incredible 5 Point Scale: Assisting Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders in Understanding Social Interactions and Controlling Their Emotional Responses, written by Kari Dunn Buron.
Also, I’ve seen some success using The Angry Monster Workbook, written by Hennie Shore. It contains a lot of fun exercises that kids will enjoy completing while learning anger coping strategies.photo credit: emery way