Anger is often our response to a problem we feel unable to solve : perhaps the problem is one in our relationship, at work or in some other aspect of our life. Finding positive problem solving strategies that help you avoid anger can be a big part in everyday anger management. Don’t forget that anger is almost always an unconstructive response that escalates the problem, not improves it.
Change The Way You Think
Changing the way you think is a great way to address problems from a new angle. The way we think can create and strengthen barriers between us and the solution. For example, choosing to focus on goals, rather than the problem, can cause a huge improvement in problem solving. This is true of both work and social problems.
In choosing to focus on your goal, rather than your problem than you can begin to accomplish, rather than attack. If the problem is that you never have enough time to buy lunch and feel hungry at work, think of the goal: finding a way to eat at work. Consider the steps YOU can take. What if you brought lunch so that it was quicker, or if you took turns with other employees going to buy lunch and bring it back? Could you have multiple small eating breaks instead? Focusing on what you want, not what the problem is, is an easier way to avoid frustration.
Work on Communication
Communication is key to good problem solving. Anger always gets in the way of clear communication, disrupting the open flow of ideas to make one person on the attack and the other also on the attack, or the defensive. Neither stance is usually conducive to clear communication.
Thinking about the way you say things is a good way to avoid creating a worse situation. If you can clearly communicate your feelings you are less likely to get angry. Think about what you want to say beforehand –maybe even write it down – and then say it. Try to use words that explain how YOU feel, rather than attack how another person acts or feels.
An accredited anger management psychologist can help you work on the way you communicate, as sometimes it is hard to notice the problems in the way we speak and act.
Change Your Environment
Changing your environment is a good way to rapidly diffuse or avoid situations that cause anger. Whilst avoidance is not always a long term situation, it can be suitable in some cases. For example, if coming home to your children’s messy rooms after work makes you angry, consider spending half an hour at a park before you come home, so you are relaxed before dealing with the problem.
If your commute makes you angry, consider driving a different way that is less clogged with traffic, or taking public transport. Changing your environment is not always about avoidance, it is about finding new ways to do things that improve your mental health.