Let’s follow on from my post last week regarding anger, early warning signals and the effect it can have on young people. This week I want to talk about taking the next step and creating a toolbox of coping strategies to deal with anger as and when it arises.
Discussing anger with teenagers is very interesting as quite often they will have a very personal feeling and approach to it. Getting them to make a list of the advantages and disadvantages around their anger can provide the foundation information to create a personal toolbox of coping strategies. This list tells them what they want to happen and what they want to avoid. Once they know this then they can start to explore different coping strategies and build their plan using the steps below:
Step 1 – See It Coming
- Identify anger triggers
- Recognise early warning signals
Step 2 – What do I need to do next?
- Ask yourself – is this a real reason to get mad or is it just an annoyance or irritation?
- Avoid situations that you know will cause you to get angry. Do something different and change habits and routines
- Take a deep breath and continue to focus on your breathing
- Step out or walk away
- Plan your time – poor time management can lead to anger and impatience
- Talk or reason it out – with a friend, colleague or family member
- Use distraction techniques – listen to music, focus on something around you in your current environment, think of a happy time, use mind games like counting or things starting with letters of the alphabet
- Look after yourself, focus on exercise or do something you enjoy
Step 3 – Analyse
- What worked?
- What didn’t work?
- Lessons learned
- Practice, Practice, Practice – the techniques that work for you!
- Don’t give up. Persevere and be determined – results will come
Following these simple steps enables young people to create strategies for dealing with anger and coping with it for the future. It is very useful to discuss how important it is to be able to manage anger ready for later life to avoid career problems or even issues with the police. Attaching real meaning to anger is often enough for them to realise that they need to change their behaviour patterns sooner, rather than later.
The best part of my job is experiencing a successful change in a person’s behaviour. Watching them on their journey of setting goals, creating a strategy, taking action and then obtaining their desired result is amazing. It is what I am passionate about and what motivates and drives me forward.
If you know of someone that is struggling to cope with anger which is having a significant impact on their life then please contact me.