Tag Archives: anger management

create a stress free zone

“Stress level: extreme. It’s like she was a jar with the lid screwed on too tight, and inside the jar were pickles, angry pickles, and they were fermenting, and about to explode.”
― Fiona WoodSONY DSC


Wouldn’t be nice to have a stress free zone where none of the pressures of the world or of your own mind would invade the quiet?   There is without doubt more demands on people’s time than ever before.  Everything is rushed and hurried and that only serves to build stress.   People work more hours in the hopes of staying ahead of the tidal wave of work and they can’t keep up.

I know of people who are working so hard that they give up the only thing left in their day to give, sleep.   The lack of sleep only increases their stress and it boils over into relationships that start feeling the toxins of living in a time compressed week.  Only if there was a way out of the tension and pressures that each day grip us in a tightening vise.

With so much to do and little time to do all that needs to be done it doesn’t seem like there is any way to take time away to restore and revitalize your life.

There are ways to create small quiet zones and little bit of peace in a noisy day.

1. Go for a walk alone – it can be as short as 5 minutes.

2. Sit in your chair, close your eyes, relax and take in some deep breaths and exhale slowly.  Do that for 5 minutes – focus on letting the stress go.  You can say to yourself, “Let my stress go”, just repeat it as you breathe in and out.

3. Get away from electronic devices – phones, screens, texts.  Take a technology break and step away from what those devices say to you.

4. Take a piece of paper and draw or scribble – just do some freehand movement.   Think about your stress and draw it out – let it emerge from you without any direction or control.

The important thing is to take time out to get the stress out.  You might have a bad manager that creates stress for you and the best way to manage that is to “get away”.   Take some time to “get away” from it all.   Even a few minutes can have a powerful and lasting impact on the reduction of your stress.

OK.  Now go try it.  Find a stress free practice that helps you destroy stress in your day.


Frustration … dealing with ADHD

“To conquer frustration, one must remain intensely focused on the outcome, not the obstacles.”  T.F. Hodge

People with ADHD often find that everyday challenges  leave them very frustrated.     “It should be easy” is what they hear and after spending more time than most a person with ADHD can easily find themselves still at the starting line.   It isn’t just a one-time event it seems that everything takes longer, even simple things and that leads to frustration.    Frustration leads to anger and for some it leads into depression.

How does someone with ADHD transform the negative experience of delayed success into something that doesn’t lead to frustration?    In your mind you may be thinking this should only take a few minutes to do and then an hour passes by and the desired outcome isn’t close to being realized.     When you were thinking about the result how much time did you think the task would take?   What are the steps you have to take to achieve the result you want?    For each of those steps how long does it take an expert to complete those tasks and how long does it take a novice to complete those tasks?    How many times have you completed those same tasks?

What leads to frustration is an unrealistic expectation on how long it will take to get something done.   For someone with ADHD executive memory function isn’t what it is for most people and it means adjusting the time it takes to complete a task until it becomes routine.    Repetition of the same task or similar task is going to result in improved outcomes.   Over time there will be improvements in how long it takes to accomplish the same time of work.

Here is a simple five step process to reduce frustration:

1. Identify – Is this something you have done before or is it something new.

2. Analyze – what needs to take place to get the right result.   Break it down.  Do I understand clearly what it is that I need to do.

3. Plan – create a step by step plan, an outline and estimate the time it will take to do each step.   How close is the plan you have now to what you thought it would be.

4. Execute – go do it.  Often people with ADHD wait, and then wait some more waiting for the energy level to increase so that something happens.   Take action, get a result.

5.  Reflect – what worked, what needs to be adjusted, what can success can you celebrate?

Frustration occurs when the expected outcome for any task or activity exceeds what you believe should be true.    The gap between what actually happened and your version of the truth leads to thoughts of failure.    Thoughts of failure amplify the internal messaging that are negative.   “I am not good enough”, and repeated often subconsciously or consciously leads to a build up of negative hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) and those are toxins that the body has to process.    The body wants to run away from the threat but when there isn’t something to run away from  that energy has to dissipate in some fashion and it turns into frustration and anger.

Dr. Orloff suggests practicing in dealing with frustration through being patient:

Would that be something you’d be willing to try? What do you think would happen?

inside out

“The ”Inside-Out” approach to personal and interpersonal effectiveness means to start first with self; even more fundamentally, to start with the most inside part of self / with your paradigms, your character, and your motives. The inside-out approach says that private victories precede public victories, that making and keeping promises to ourselves recedes making and keeping promises to others. It says it is futile to put personality ahead of character, to try to improve relationships with others before improving ourselves.”  Steven Covey

One of the greatest challenges people face in trying to live a better life is changing their life so that it is better rather than trying to change the circumstances.   You’ve met people who are having a bad day and are angry at the world.  “It’s your fault”, they exclaim with personal indignation, “You don’t know how bad my world is  and you are responsible for the way I feel” .

While it is true that no one can know how someone feels or know they  experience the trails of life it is understandable that there are many things make each day a challenge.   The difference is between those who wallow in their pain and those who take charge of each moment to turn pain into a lever for personal change.

When bitterness rages through the soul there is nothing that can be done to stop that flood of anger.   It isn’t until there is a realization that being bitter, angry and upset doesn’t produce the results that are desired.   As soon as one takes full responsibility for their life is the moment the scales shift in their favor.

I would imagine you know of people who have a bitter streak a mile long and in some cases it is infectious and starts stealing your joy and in other cases it pushes you away.    Who wants to be around someone who is sick of the world and everything in it?   There aren’t many people that do.

The inside-out approach to living is to first identify those things within you that need to change.   List them out and look at each one closely.  What is the most important thing to change?   What stops you from making those changes?

The next step is to set some goals to make those changes.  Get serious about creating some new habits, find a new positive habit to replace the old sour habit.   It takes a one-to-one replacement for each bad habit needs a new positive habit.

To continue to move forward, find someone to hold you accountable to making those changes.   Making changes alone is difficult and after a couple of weeks the goal my just slip by the wayside.   Allow someone to ask you the  hard questions, are you doing what you said you would do?

Finally, when the old habit is gone, really gone have someone check on you everyone once in a while to see if it is really gone.   For each new habit you create someone will notice and may even compliment you on the change.   Allow them to congratulate you and then move forward yet again, tackle another habit until all the bad ones have been replaced.

angry … out of control … what do you do?

Anger is a method of control.   When people feel powerless to achieve a desired outcome they can become angry.

Anger is a habit.  It is addictive in the sense that the body produces stress hormones.    The body overtime craves the additional stress hormones, even though they are destructive.   Adrenaline is a hormone with very powerful effects on the body.   Adrenaline can last for days or weeks in the system.   There are others like cortisol which are released quickly and tend to dissipate more quickly in the body.  

     – Hormonal anger creates negative behaviors.   

     – Hormonal anger reduces the body’s ability to resist illness.

     –  Anger can result in significant blood pressure change, bone loss, severe headaches, and other stress induced illness.

 Anger is a method of control.   People use anger because they learned it as a way to deal with issues.  In some cases that anger has been destructive (physical force) and in others it is destructive in “emotional” force.  In either case anger is used as a weapon to gain control when control feels like it is being lost.

 Anger becomes addictive.  People once they are flooded with stress hormones find they want more, not intentionally but subconsciously more of the physiological tricks the body plays.   That is anger persists as a method for dealing with any issue.   Anger can take control of a person’s life.  

 What does it take to get back to “normal”?

 1.  Realization – there comes a point that the anger victim realizes that anger is not supporting them or others.  

2.  Understanding – after you know that anger is destructive is creating a plan to manage anger or change the “habit”.

3.  Action plan – interrupting anger before it controls the situation (becomes destructive for everyone)

4.  Management – anger just doesn’t go away it needs constant attention – practice to create long term desired results.

What do you do?

1.  Stop:  recognize the event, the stress.    Write it down.   What is triggering the event.

2.  Shift: move the thought from the subconscious region to the conscious region of the brain – make yourself aware.  Respond, is it a “threat”?  What is it then?    What choice do I want to make?  

3.  Reframe – Find a neutral territory for your thoughts by creating a positive thought – return to a positive experience.

4.  Respond – give yourself time to defuse the emotions and respond

Notice what happens when you take time to rehearse the steps above.

  1. Bring back a painful event (anger induced)

  2. Notice your thoughts, feel the sensations the body is producing

  3. Shift back to calmness, what did you tell yourself?   What returned you to calmness?

  4. Emotion check, which feeling is more supportive and desirable for you?

When people get angry they are trying to get control of something they believe they don’t have control over.   Anger provides the illusion of control but repeated time after time becomes ineffective (may cause rage) or becomes destructive (the result becomes too negative – relationships undergo too much stress and fail).

Facing chronic anger

When you come face-to-face with chronic anger what do you do?

1. Stay calm in the midst of the storm (easier said than done).

2. It is not about you, it is about the other persons need for control.  

3. Reframe and respond (calm response … may diffuse, but also may provoke – the anger is intended to provoke the “see I am right … I am right”.  
    Here you are dealing with issues of negative self-esteem and anger as a method to control others. The thought is “How else can I get my way, compromise no way that would make me feel even worse.”

4. Acknowledge the feelings, “it is understandable that you’d be angry … this issue is important to you.”

5. Move to neutral ground.  What would take the emotion out?  
    How can this argument be moved to neutral ground?    Where is neutral ground?  

    Intervene by saying, “I would like to take this to neutral ground.  What would neutral ground look like to you?” Neutral ground is the place where there is no right or wrong, and no judgment.   What is neutral ground should be agreed upon prior to getting provoked in an argument.

What can you do to manage your anger?

low energy?

Earl Nightingale said, “The key that unlocks energy is desire. It’s also the key to a long and interesting life. If we expect to create any drive, any real force within ourselves, we have to get excited.”   Where is your energy level?  

Are you fully engaged in life?   What does that mean “engaged” in life?   What do you do that is fully motivating, powerful, and orientated towards your passions?

Many people go through live living in anger or complacency.    You probably know some people who are perpetually angry, unsatisfied and fed up with their circumstances.  They are the people who moan and complain with vigor at the situation they find themselves in.   Do you know someone like that?

There are others who continually whine about how life is out to get them and that everyone they know is out to get them.   These people are resigned to a life of complacency and being a victim of the circumstances that they find themselves in.   Do you know someone like that?

People who are complaining and whining about life are living in what is called a “catabolic” energy state.   This is negative energy and this kind of energy robs people of the joy, and potential that life offers.   Catabolic energy takes from life more than it gives to it.  

What would it look for you if you had less catabolic energy in your life?

six steps to manage anger

Anger is a problem.   Just writing that will cause people to say, “It’s not a problem”.  The fact is that one out of five people have anger management issues.   Anger by itself isn’t a problem it is when anger becomes destructive to others or to the self that is becomes a problem.  Anger is a response to a threat and sometimes the threat isn’t really a threat at all and yet the body reacts as if it was.  Sometimes anger becomes a habit and that habit reacts to situations that result in emotional outbursts, destructive actions or behaviors, and that is a problem.

People that put others down, that are highly critical of others, and that speak negatively of others behind their backs often have issues with anger.   As you can imagine people with unmanaged anger issues often have difficulty in relationships with others.   It is easy to see that people that with negatively charged attitudes and behaviors can suppress positive interactions at work, at home or in other social settings.  

Suppressed anger can cause serious problems as well, leading to high blood pressure or even depression.  Physically expressed anger can also be harmful to people that are in close proximity to others.   Even angry words can be harmful to those near the angry person.

So, what do you do?  How do you manage anger?

  1. Define the threat?   What caused you to get angry?  
  2. What are the facts?  Was the threat a real threat,  an imminent danger to you? 
  3. Step back, take a deep breath
  4. Remember a time that you were peaceful, let the experience in.
  5. Shake it out, release the tension.
  6. Create a new possibility – what positive action can be taken from this experience.

 Oh, the steps are simple enough alright but in the moment where the heat is the highest how are you to be calm enough to work the steps?

It takes practice.   It takes time to recognize that anger is upwelling in you and then it takes energy to stop and look at anger objectively.  It takes practice to stop and review your feelings. It takes practice to recognize the source of your angry feelings.

What makes you angry?

What thoughts or actions create anger for you?

What do you experience when you are driving down the road and you suddenly realize that you coming up way to fast on the car in front of you?   How do you respond?

If everyone is doing the best they can in the moment then anger may be misplaced.  It is only our interpretations of the issue that creates anger.  The situation itself has no emotional content.

Take the time to practice the steps.   If that doesn’t work, get help, find someone who you can work with to help you reduce anger in your life.