Anger is a hallmark of mental illness. Furthermore, it’s a universal emotion; no matter who we are, we experience it. Bottled up, it can make us act in ways we might not like. Unleashed, our anger can lead to violence.
The holiday season can be a trigger for some, as old resentments come to light and we’re spending time with family members who may push our buttons. Furthermore, multiple days of bad weather can contribute to rising frustration levels. However, being mindful of our irritability and responses can help.
Ben Rastegari, a psychotherapist at Canvas Health, shares three basic tips for managing anger this holiday season—and every day of the year:
Pay attention to cues: physical (increased heart rate, feeling hot or flushed), behavioral (making a fist, teeth clenching), and emotional (fear, hurt, disrespect). These cues indicate anger building within you, which is the best time to intervene. Do not allow your anger to reach a point that may cause strong emotions to interfere with your better judgment.
The most effective skill to use in a moment of anger is simply taking a time out. This should allow you time to calm down and consider the potential consequences of your anger.
If you’re irritable to begin with, anger may not be far behind. Thus, you should make sure to get enough sleep, maintain a good diet, and try to exercise as much as possible. This will help you be able to regulate your mood and provides a buffer for frustration.
Ben Rastegari, MA, LPCC, sees outpatient clients to our Cottage Grove clinic, and one of his areas of focus is helping clients cope with feelings of irritability. Make an appointment today by calling 651-777-5222.