Anger Management: Counting to 10 and Beyond
Even though counting to 10 still works, it helps to add a few extra anger management techniques to your arsenal. Find out more.
Practice Makes Perfect
All these techniques work well, but what happens when you're so angry you can't think to use them? Practice makes perfect, says Jason Kornrich, PhD, director of outpatient mental health services at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, N.Y.
"You have to practice dealing with anger before you're actually angry," says Kornrich, who suggests you role-play a confrontational situation with a trusted family member, friend, or colleague.
This is also a good way to teach children how to deal with their anger, he tells WebMD. "You need to practice with them and show them how to deal with their anger. And you need to be a good role model yourself ... if you can't deal with your own anger, your kids won't be able to control themselves either."
Many of us seem to have a much shorter fuse these days, Kornrich says. "Between the after-effects of Sept. 11, the economy, the war in Iraq, the price of gas, the constant barrage of bad news on the television, the anger level we deal with every day has been increasing."
There are ways to minimize the stresses and irritations that build up, Kornrich says. For starters, stay off your cell phone while driving. "This can just make you doubly frustrated, while you're trying to deal with a conversation and traffic at the same time. This is a good prescription for road rage."
Knowing your weak points can also help you avoid situations that can push you over the edge. If you hate traffic, for example, go in to work earlier or come home later. If you need a breather between work and family responsibilities, go to the gym for an hour before going home. Too much bad news on TV? You can shut it off or change the channel. Also consider cutting down your hours on the Internet.
"On the Internet, inhibitions go out the window," Kornrich says. "It's a good vehicle for bullying other people because you're not face to face with the other person, and it becomes a dehumanizing experience." Too many hours on-line can also cause you to lose your social skills and graces for the "real world," he says, because you have fewer "training opportunities" for interacting with other people.
Of course, we can't avoid anger completely in our lives. "The key though," says Kornrich, "is to catch ourselves at step one or two, rather than wait till we hit step nine or 10."