Anger Management: How to catch myself before I lose controlThe biggest question the comes to me is “How to catch myself before I lose control.”Some would think that we would start an Anger Management program, by teaching students how to keep them from losing their temper, but that is not how I start classes.
Some would think that we would start an Anger Management program, by teaching students how to keep them from losing their temper, but that is not how I start classes. I feel my students need to understand what it is that they are up against first. You cannot just tell students what Anger is, they have to really understand Anger. If just tell students what anger is and how to change, Anger Management would not exist. The Judge would explain it to them, and the world would be a safer place, and there would be a lot less violence.
It takes about 4 weeks before the average person to wrap their head around their anger. I believe this is mostly until they stop fighting the fact they are “Angry.” It takes that long for them to get with the program that they have to be in the class, or it could be that it just takes about 4 weeks for a person brain to build the pathways to understand “Anger.” I am sure one of these concepts will hold true for just about every person in Anger Management in different stages of life development.
Depending on the class size and progress, on week 4 and definitely on week 5, I have the class start monitoring others. In the first four processes of Anger (Trigger, Thought, Primary Emotion, and Secondary Emotion: “Anger”) the student can see what “Triggers” others. Although the Students cannot see the other persons “Thoughts” most people might give some indication about their “Primary Emotion.” The Student can start figuring out why the person’s “Secondary Emotion: Anger,” was so intense or controlled.
This exercise is important because the Anger Management student is not looking at themselves as the “person in the wrong,” which they will fight against. Other traditional exercises focus on the Anger Management Student as the problem. The theory here is that over time they will start doing this exercise to themselves and catching themselves before they get out of control. The goal is for them to catch the “Thought” in the Anger process. When the Anger Management Students are using the Pre-Frontal Cortex to evaluate others, I believe this is developing pathways, which will help them think about their own Anger issues. Hopefully, in time, this process will occur when they are having a moment of Anger and before it gets out of control. (Continued below...)
Emotions under control
Everyone’s body is different; however, the basics are the same. When you are stressed or angry, your body reacts sub-consciously, and you start to breath more rapidly. This can lead to a buildup of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream. Deep breathing can reduce this effect, thereby helping reduce the effects of stress on the body and helping you relax. The result is deep breathing helps you calm down.
Express your anger:
This is most likely the hardest way for younger males to convey they are angry via verbal expression versus physical expression. Not just young males but children up to young adults may not have the pathways developed. Pathways need to be developed from the front of the brain to the middle of the brain for people to catch themselves from expressing themselves in an outburst of anger. Unfortunately, this outburst can be in the form of violence.
Express your feelings:
Similar to expressing anger in a productive manner, individuals often have difficulty expressing their feelings or even identifying their feelings “Primary Emotion.” Below are a few of those Primary Emotions that are hidden in plain sight that the secondary Emotion: Anger is protecting:
Talk to a mental health professional:
I was recently in a class and was talking “Speaking to a mental health professional,” and one of my students informed me that it was perceived as a weakness. I explained to the students in the class this is not a foreign concept, but it is misguided. I used the example of when you are talking with your friends for advice, how many times were your friends wrong. Your friends had good intentions, but their advice is jaded and is usually to persuade you to do something they wanted you to do. Professionals speak from a 3rd party perspective, and there is no personal attachment.
When you get stressed out or angry your body releases over 30 different hormones to prepare your body to respond to the stressor. Exercise is a good way to remove those extra stress hormones in your system.
Accept that you feel angry and walk away:
When all else fails, walk away.