Monday, March 25, 2013

Practical Anger Management Skills

If you are the mom of a child preschool age or older, you probably have a tendency to “blow up” at random times. And if you are like me, you desire to add a few anger management techniques to your toolbox.

Below I am going to share ideas that I have learned from Julie Ann Barnhill's book She's Gonna Blow! as well as techniques I use myself to calm the ugly volcano of emotions in my own heart.  Also listed are tactics that Bubs' Speech Pathologist is using to teach Bubs to handle frustrating situation. 

  1. Pause
    This word applies to our lives in so many ways. But what it encourages us to do is take a moment to evaluate the situation for what it really is instead of simply reacting.

  2. Count to 10...or 10,000
    Much like "pause," this suggestion helps us calm down and gain perspective on the situation.

  3. Go to Your Happy Place
    Bubs therapist is helping him "go to his happy place" to help him handle situations that he can not change. Basically this means to think about something else - a happy, positive situation - other than the upsetting issue at hand.

  4. “Use Your Words – Positively”
    This was a suggestion of Julia Ann's.  I frequently tell my children to use nice words.  She is reminding me that I need to listen to my own advice. Instead of blowing up, I need to express my feelings with nice, positive, uplifting words.

  5. “Talk Yourself Through Your Anger”
    The more I think about a maddening situation, the highly my anger climbs. Julie Ann says that I need to “learn to talk myself through my anger.” State factual statements about the people or situation involved. Make sure that  I am not using words like “always” and “never.”

  6. Laugh
    Christian comedian Ken Davis has a radio program call “Lighten Up and Laugh.” He encourages adults to find the humor in situations. Hilarious situations are all around us but in our busy adult world we get tunnel vision.  Choose to see the humor and have a good chuckle.   

  7. Take a Time-Out
    There have been times in our home that have lead to my husband saying, “Go to our bedroom for a few. I will take over from here.” In a respectful ways, my husband is sending me to the corner for a mommy time-out. And I have learned to tell my kiddos, “Mommy needs some time. Please go to your room and I will come when I am in control of myself.” This is also an excellent example for your child of how to handle a frustrating situation.

  8. Set Family Anger-Management Rules
    Stifling anger can be just as unsafe as letting it explode. As a family, establish appropriate ways to handle anger. And then, you as the adult must model these ways. (That's the hard part!)  Use these questions to help you get started: 
    - Is it okay for my child to ask for a few minutes?
    - How can my child respectively ask to have a few minutes to think about a situation?    
    - Can my child yell in frustration?   
    - How can my child respectively ask to discuss a situation with me?

  9. Tighten and Release
    When you feel your body tighten up, hold your hands together tightly for 5 seconds and then release. When Bubs' therapist explained this technique to him, she used a bunch of medical reasoning but I don't remember it well enough to share it with you. I just know that it works! 

  10. Understand Where Real Change Begins
    No matter how many times we promise ourselves and God that we will never _____ again, our sin nature takes over and we find ourselves face planted in the mud. We can not change ourselves.

    Julie Ann explains that real change begins, “as we continue to spend time with the Lord, to spend time in His Word, we gradually start to see things differently – and that change in vision affects the way we act, too.... It means that we stop seeing things the way our culture says they should be – or even the way we think they should be – and start looking at our lives from God's point of view. In the process we also continually find ourselves a little more grounded, a little more peaceful, perhaps a little less ready to blow.”

  11. Understand that Change Doesn't Happen Overnight
    When we get upset, the enemy wants to turn it into guilt. But we know from the Bible that God forgives all, for all (I John 1:9). We have to start each day anew knowing that we can do “all things through Christ who strengthens us.” (Phil 4:13) 

  12. Make the Goal of Handling One Situation a Day Better
    Lisa TerKeurst in her book Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions calls this "imperfect progress."  Going back to #11, change isn't going to happen overnight nor is the change going to be perfect.  You will have setbacks.  But, if you handle one situation better than you normally would, then progress is occurring. 

Read more Anger Management tips...

What tips could you add?

Thank you to Harvest House Publishing for allowing me to review this helpful book.  

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The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.