I began teaching myself anger management tips about 30 years ago when I realized that my intense anger responses to getting cut off in traffic or making a mistake at work or having to wait too long in the grocery store check out line were jeopardizing my newly formed and somewhat shaky sobriety of six months.
I realized that doing the Steps of AA was keeping me sober, but the Steps were not helping me with my emotions, and it began to dawn on me that perhaps I had used booze and drugs in part to dampen my strong anger responses and that I ought to look for tools that would help me with anger and other emotions.
Anger Management Tip Number 1-Read
I had some hope that I would be successful based on my experience with AA, so I started to look for tools, and the first tool that I came across in my search was the Codependency literature that was beginning to appear in recovery literature.
I read Sharon Wegscheider-Kruses' book "Hope and Health for the Alcoholic Family" and I was amazed.
It was like she was had been in my home, and there was a huge relief in reading her work, when it got clear to me that I was not the problem in my house growing up, it was my parents addiction that was the problem.
The intensity and frequency of my anger episodes was less at that point, but it was not ended. (And still isn't ended).
There are many good books available, which reflect a research about human emotions and physiology done since the early 1980's when Wegschieder-Kruse and other codependency pioneers were writing.
Anger Management Tip 2-Experiential Work
As I read through the codependency literature coming online in the early and mid-1980's, I came across mention of two techniques which would play a significant role in my continuing ability to reduce the intensity and frequency of my anger, psychodrama and holotropic breathwork.
Psychodrama helped me to learn how to trace and explore the roots of my anger response to events in my childhood which left me with some amygdala memories of abuse and abandonment.
As I explored how those memories could impact my adult behavior based on the function of my amygdala (a small part of my brain which stores emotional memories), I was able to tease out the child's physiology and manage my adult physiology more effectively. (That process happens about twice as fast as I can blink my eyes).
In fact, I began to flip anger management over into the creation of FLOW based on my reading of Csikszentmihalyi's work.
Holotropic Breathwork was a tool that helped me explore transpersonal theories and experiences of human behavior.
Breathwork, based on the ideas of Stanislaus Grof, was a significant factor and experience for me in terms of reducing the frequency and intensity of anger.
As I continued to look for anger management tips, I came across a number of tools, all of which have taught me about myself and my emotional response to life, and with practice, the frequency and intensity of anger has continued to move in a healthy direction.
I have used a number of biofeedback, relaxation, and peak performance tools over the years, and of those tools, there are a few which are excellent anger management (actually life enhancement) tools.
Anger Management Tip 3-Learn how to use Heartmath.
The AA step which meant the most to me in my early days of recovery was the 11th step, about daily prayer and meditation.
I enjoyed the feeling I had (yes, a sensation addict) when I did prayer and meditation and eventually I improved at listening for the higher power's will for me today.
As time passed, I realized that I could access that feeling more frequently than once per day, that I could use prayer and meditation as an emergency tool for too strong emotions of any kind, and eventually it dawned on me that I could simply manage the inside of my body so that I could feel good most of the time, no matter what was going on outside of me.
The tool that helped me experience that growth was and is a biofeedback tool called Heartmath, which allows me to manage the usually unavailable to conscious control time between heart beats.
When I make the time between heart beats very consistent, I feel really good, and I actually access the heart's nervous system that no one knew about until about 10-12 years ago.
After learning the Heartmath process, which I practice on my computer, I can cue the Heartmath heart rate variability coherence anytime I want, when someone cuts me off in traffic, when the check out line at the grocery store takes too long, or I make a mistake at work.
Heartmath actually combines the physiological and cognitive and breathing techniques you will find to be part of most anger management programs, with one very important difference.
Heartmath works on any given heart beat. I do not need to wait for a strong anger response, and by the way, we are supposed to have anger, it is the energy we use to solve problems.
I do not have to wait for a strong anger response to use my anger management tools.
I can do Heartmath pretty much constantly, keep it running in the background like Windows is running in the background of this page on your computer, and then bring it to the foreground if need be.
There are many benefits to operating from your heart intelligence, including antiaging and opening the higher centers of your brain for problem solving.
Yes, the key to problem solving is actually relaxing, not stressing.
Want to sleep better, manage emotional eating, or lower your golf score, improve your kids test SAT or ACT score?
Here are the links to an exceptional anger management tool.
When I was beginning my personal growth journey, a wise person told me that when I was feeling resentful or afraid or sad, that I should remember the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was ready to feel better. That phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
Would you share what you are most grateful for? Your story could be just what another person is searching for to renew themselves? Thanks.