I’m writing this post as a way to collect my thoughts and remind myself how to act when I’m angry. And I’m doing it at a time in my life where everything seems to be going perfectly. My roommates are amazing, work is steady, my cat is happy and healthy, I have fun plans with my friends all the time, and the weather is beautiful. So now’s the best time, with a clear head and light heart, to remind myself how to act when things don’t go my way.
When I get angry, I tend to explode. A lot of studies attribute this to my ADHD- I don’t have much impulse control, so I have a short fuse when I get angry. But that’s not an excuse. I should still deal with my anger better, even though I want to blow up when I’m mad.
So here are a few steps I can take next time my blood gets boiling. Try them out for yourselves and let me know if they work, and comment with some steps of your own that you take! I’d love for people to share their advice with me!
1- Walk away. This is especially important for someone like me who has less impulse control than your average person. Because if I’m going to explode, I don’t need to do it in front of the person I’m angry at, because it will only make the situation worse. So if I can’t calm down or feel like I’m about to blow, then it’s best to just walk away from the situation and get a clear head and gain some perspective before addressing it.
2- Stand up for yourself, but don’t be cruel. I find that sometimes, if I take too much time away from what I’m angry at, that by the time I’ve calmed down, I’m too calm and I just let it slide. So then whatever it was that made me angry happens again and again and again until I just can’t take it anymore, and that’s when I lose it. So gaining a clear head and putting some distance between yourself and the problem is definitely advisable, but don’t just let it slide, either, without addressing whatever it was that made you angry. Don’t say “Oh, it’s ok. I’m over it.” Instead, say “I’ve had some time to think it over and calm down, so I’m not mad anymore, but what happened did make me really upset, and I’d appreciate it if we could compromise/fix it/stop it/etc.” This is something I really struggle with, because when the anger is fresh and I’m mad, then it’s so easy for me to vent out all my frustrations, but I don’t always do it in a nice way, and nothing good comes from that. But then, when I take a lot of space, I then often lose that confidence to say what I feel, and I just let it go. It’s all about finding that healthy balance and standing up for yourself in a mature and nice way.
3- Learn when to let go. I know, you’re probably thinking this is completely negates my last piece of advice, but just hear me out. Sometimes, when someone/something/a situation is making you angry, you just have to let it go. Whether that’s a friend, a lifestyle, a job, whatever. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just say “enough is enough” and walk away. And I mean walk away for good. Sometimes it can be really difficult, but the pay-off is always worth it.
4- Don’t use “you” words. Not gonna lie, I learned this one as a RA. When you’re having a conversation with someone about something that’s making you angry, don’t say “You did this” or “You need to stop.” Because put yourself in their shoes; don’t you get defensive and upset when someone starts accusing you and blaming you for something? So even if they are in the wrong, by saying “You did this,” you’ll just get them riled up and a fight will inevitably start. Instead, try saying, “In future, can we make sure this doesn’t happen.” Or “When this happens, I get upset.” Make the focus you instead of them and it will usually be a much smoother conversation.
And that’s what I’ve got! Again, let me know tips and tricks that you use when you’re angry! I’d love to hear what works for you!