Anger Management Techniques: Top 7 Strategies for the Holidays
Anger management techniques for the holidays? This is a time for relaxation and good cheer, an opportunity to share love with family and friends and to reflect upon the year past and the year to come. Making popcorn as the family gathers round to watch “Miracle on 34th Street” or “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. Decorating the tree with Bing Crosby singing in the background as the season’s first snow falls gently to the ground. Why would you need to learn anger management techniques?
Because the reality is that you’re probably finding yourself sitting in traffic as you go from store to store, fighting your way through the mobs while trying to find the perfect gift for Aunt Emily who you barely know since the only time you see her is at Christmas and just what do you get someone who is 94 years old and spends all her time watching “Murder She Wrote” reruns on the Hallmark channel?
When you finally do find the singing bass for Uncle Wally you get to wait endlessly in line wondering how in the world you are going to pay for all this and why is it so damn hard to find that one video game your kid wants?
There is probably no getting around all the stress that is associated with the holidays, but that doesn’t mean yours has to be miserable. Here are 7 tips to help:
Anger Management Technique #1: Tune into and catch your stress early. Most of you are so used to walking around feeling stressed out that you aren’t even aware of it building up inside of you. For many its like a stair step approach where it keeps building and building until all of a sudden KABLOOEY!
Try to tune into how stressed you are on a scale from one to ten. When you find yourself getting up around a four or five take a time out. Take a nap, get some exercise, go for a walk, take a bath, do something for at least half an hour.
Right around here is where people start telling me all the reasons this is impossible for them to do because of the kids or they have so much to do, etc…. Sorry, I don’t buy it. You will be more effective and get more done in a shorter period of time if you take the time off to take care of you. Slower is sometimes faster. Make the time to relax.
Anger Management Technique #2: Do things differently this year: Shop earlier. Get more family support. Take time off from work. Request more civil behavior from family members. More on this below.
Anger Management Technique #3: Try looking at things in a different light. Life really is the story we tell ourselves. That’s why one person can feel tremendous stress doing something while someone else can feel relaxed doing the same thing. Thing may be hard or something you don’t particularly want to do but they are only perceived as stressful if that is how you see them.
Slow down, become aware of how you are thinking about things. Ask yourself what kind of mood this line of thinking is likely to put you in and if this is how you want to feel. If not ask yourself how you would rather feel and try to think of a different story to tell yourself that would make you feel this way.
This is another one of those things that people tell me is impossible. Its not impossible, but it might be hard at first because the stories you tell yourself are such a strong habit that its going to take some practice to change. But you can do it! Just like everything else, practice makes perfect and you’ve had a lot of practice telling yourself those same old stories. Make the effort to tell yourself new ones and you within a couple weeks it will start becoming natural.
Anger Management Technique #4:Take care of yourself. Get the right amount of rest. Eat right. Exercise. Keep an eye on how much you drink. Get your needs met. Enjoy yourself!
Anger Management Technique #5: Be careful about the amount of alcohol served. As Homer Simpson says “Alcohol – the cure to and the cause of all of life’s problems.” Alcohol may help to loosen you up and relax, but different people react in different ways to alcohol. We’ve all heard of the mean drunk. Or somebody may be too relaxed and let something slip which starts a fight. Try to keep it down to two drinks maximum.
Anger Management Technique #6: Be realistic about your family. If Uncle Roy has told the same story year after year, he’s going to do it again. If your Aunt Tilly has a habit of criticizing everything she is still going to do that. Tell yourself that you only have to see him or her for a few hours once a year. See if you can find some humor in it.
Anger Management Technique #7: Forgive. let bygones be bygones. People often think of their anger as a way of keeping the one who hurt them in a kind of emotional prison. As long as they held onto the anger and bitterness, the wrongdoer stays in jail. But when you really stop and think about it, the only one who is really in an emotional prison is you. More often than not, the person you are pissed at is either unaware, doesn’t care or simply don’t give it as much thought as you. Meanwhile, you walk around stewing and obsessing over the wrong that was done to you. Your anger ends up affecting you more than the one who hurt you.
It’s the holidays – give yourself the gift of letting go of old grudges.
While you probably can’t completely escape holiday stress, following these anger management techniques should help to minimize it.