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Calming a raging mind

Simple techniques can help you avoid angry outbursts

education Updated: Oct 06, 2010 09:32 IST
Samir Parikh

There are lots of stressful times in our lives. Time is always a constraint. There are always many things that need to be handled at the same time. Things seem to be moving at a rather fast pace and keeping up with things can in itself be a significant source of stress. Many a times when things don't go as planned or when our ideas get thwarted, a strong sense of frustration creeps in. Raging outbursts can result and act as a source of conflicts and distress.

Taming this rage by gaining a sense of control over stress is extremely important.

Prioritise
Gaining a sense of control is of paramount importance. But how does one do that? The first and foremost step is to step back and start taking things easy. It does not mean that you need to go lax on the responsibilities that you are entrusted with. Instead, it indicates that you need to pick your battles well. Focus your attention on the things that are important and let go off those that are not.

Delegate tasks
It is not your show alone. Don't take everything on your head. Delegate. Delegating aspects of your role and responsibilities is important. It is a method of ensuring that things don't start to overwhelm you. At the same time, this would involve monitoring the tasks that have been delegated.

Things do go wrong
In the course of a long day where some things may go your way and others might not, it is impossible to not feel angry. Remember, anger is an emotion like any other and it needs to be treated like that. Recognising it is important and giving space to it is needed too.

Identify your triggers
The precursor to any feeling of anger involves some triggers and being able to identify what are the potential situations, responses and behaviours that anger you is helpful in being aware of them. That knowledge is the essential first step which would help you to avoid situations in which an outburst is likely.

Know the signs
Know the signals that indicate you are getting angry. This could be physical sensations like the pulsating of veins, your heart beating faster, or sweating. Other signals could be at the level of thought or even in the form of emotional arousal. Once a sign presents itself try and control your anger. The simplest way could be to distract yourself. You can move away from the situation. Or you can use affirmations to stay calm. And finally, counting to ten is a tried and tested method to avoid an outburst.

The author is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Max Healthcare