Many of us are quick to anger but regret it in retrospect. Five steps on how to quell a rising temper by Colleen Braganza.
Breathe deeply: This is one of the best ways to calm down when you feel anger rising rapidly. Anger is nothing but misdirected energy, says Dr Rachna Singh, lifestyle management expert at Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon. So before you throw a cup at your partner or chase the car that nicked you while overtaking from the wrong side, start breathing slowly and deeply and count to 100. This will keep you from doing anything dramatic. “Deep breathing for 2-3 minutes at this time will help distract you and bring adrenalin levels down,” adds Dr Singh.
Have water/juice/chocolate: Sipping water when you are really angry helps calm you down, says clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Seema Hingorrany. “Many people feel irritable when they are hungry, so eating a piece of chocolate helps provide your body with some food. Chocolate also activates feel-good hormones, so two pieces might do wonders for your mood.” Sipping water or juice also helps distract you and your mind moves from negative to positive thoughts.
Call a time out: Sometimes, in an argument with a friend or partner, you may say something in the heat of the moment that you will certainly regret later. At these times, it is best if you remove yourself from the situation. “Excuse yourself, wash your face and return to the discussion after 5-10 minutes. When you return you will find yourself much cooler and calmer and more capable of dealing with the situation calmly,” says Dr Singh. She adds that this technique works well also while dealing with kids throwing tantrums or teenagers who flare up at their parents. “Send them to their bedrooms for 10 minutes. The kids cool down considerably,” she says.
Visualise: When you feel the anger rising, visualise something that calms you down. “It could be a soothing waterfall, a calm sea or even walking on cold grass,” says Hingorrany. “Even a symbol like the Buddha will work because it helps shift your mind from irritability to calmness.” You can also chant a mantra that will help bring you out of the negative spiral you have entered. If you are a controlling personality you are more likely to explode in anger than if you are not. So it will also help to consciously remember that there are some things you can control and some things you cannot.
Ventilate: This simply means that whenever you are really angry about something, before reacting violently to the cause of that anger or instead of letting it fester inside you, call a friend, partner or parent to vent your feelings. “The saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ means something. When you discuss something you are angry about with a friend or partner, you reiterate your thought process aloud. This helps you calm down and also manage to see things more clearly,” adds Dr Singh.