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How to Overcome Anger

April 27, 2013

(The third part in the series on anger.)

If in most situations anger only pushes people apart, then how do we overcome anger so that we are not hurting our relationships.

One well known method is to count to 10.  If I get angry, I may count to ten and keep going if I am not calmed down.  (I recently found a quote related to counting past 10 that was attributed to Thomas Jefferson).  Why does counting work?  The main reason is that it pulls our mind off the anger.  One study on anger found that if people tried to get their anger out, the anger got worse, but breathing techniques and other methods helped them calm down faster.  The more we think the angry thoughts, the angrier we get.

Another technique I use to help couples get out of their anger is to slow them down.  I either speak slower as an example, or invite them to speak slower.  This is a technique often used in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy.

Slowing down takes us to the underlying emotions of sadness or fear that drove the anger.  Sadness and fear bring people together if the listener is willing to listen.  (I will further discuss sadness and fear in future posts).

Letting go of our control also helps to get rid of anger, since anger is about control.  When something is no longer meaningful, we no longer feel the emotion.

I have used these techniques both in my life and with my clients to effectively overcome anger.

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From → Emotion

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