Anger Answers

I feel crazy. Sorry that's not a question

Thank you for reaching out to better help for assistance. I look forward to assisting you. Sounds like you feel like you are going crazy. This is a very good question.  Did something bad happen in your life or did you have a loss, death or grief in your life. If you had a loss you could be grieving and in denial and holding things in.  It isn't good to hold things in and you sound like it is starting to affect your physical health. There is a big mind body connection.  You do not want to turn to negative coping skills like too much drinking, eating or drugs. You do not want to go to a lot of negative thinking. Negative thinking will just make you feel very depressed and might get you in a hole of depression. I would suggest you apply some cognitive behavioral therapy/ CBT and work on challenging your thoughts and beliefs to get the best possible outcome or consequence for yourself. I would apply the ABC Model.  A= the activating event, B= your thoughts and beliefs, C= the outcome or consequence. You want to challenge your thoughts and beliefs and ask yourself is this the right thing to do or wrong thing to do. Will doing this give me a good outcome and consequence or a bad outcome and consequence. You want to do what will be the best for you. You want to put your oxgyen mask on and take good care of yourself.  You want to ask yourself is repressing and holding my thoughts and feeling helping me or hurting me?  If it is hurting you and making you depressed or anxious you want to challenge your thoughts and do something that will be better for you.  Changing habits take a month or so but you want to challenge your thoughts to think better and healthier. You do not want your thinking to affect your physcial health. I hope this helped you some and I wish you the very best. I look forward to hearing from you in the future and hope you work on challenging your thoughts and beliefs. 
(LPC, NCC, MS)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I know for sure that I have BPD, and what will help me dealing with this?

Dear Giada,   Thank you for your message and sharing your concerns regarding traits that you consider as BPD. To have a full diagnosis I would recommend that you seek to be evaluated at a local clinic / mental health agency with a professional. It is difficult to give a full and accurate diagnosis here without seeing you.   Meanwhile, anger is a response we have when we don't feel understood, don't feel listened to, don't feel respected. At first we might just feel disappointed or irritated, however it escalates often when others add fuel into it by saying words that are hurtful, misunderstanding and dismissive. We then become even angrier and at last we turn our anger into rage.   To control anger we must understand how anger works within us. Anger is almost like a volcano when it erupts, it releases a large amount of energy and often is destructive. However these energy is often accumulated for a while before it erupts. If we can understand what accumulates these energy with us, and find ways to release it, then we can be assured that our volcano will not erupt.   Anger is the natural emotion created in a fight-or-flight situation by the physiology of your mind and body. When you sense a threat your mind generates fear and anger.  The fear you generate is part of a flight response from your physiology. Anger is the emotional energy you generate for the fight against that perceived threat.    What can be confusing is that your mind creates fear and anger even when the threat is just imagined.   Emotions like anger are natural and real.  Even if the threat is imagined the anger you create is just as real and powerful. However, the reasons you generate anger aren't always real. If you aren't aware of how your mind is imagining scenarios of hurt your anger will appear irrational.   Real vs. Imagined Anger   It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish a real threat from an imagined threat because they can happen at the same time.  For example, someone is cutting you off on the freeway and a car briefly maneuvers in a way that could cause an accident and possibly injure your body.  There's a natural fight-or-flight reaction to your emotions and you create a combination of fear and anger. The reality of this harm usually passes very quickly and so do your emotions.   However, your imagination may take over and create worse scenarios.  You begin to consider that you or someone in your car might be hurt or killed. You might recall similar events from your past, project those into your mind, and add more emotion.  After the real physical threat passes your mind still projects scenarios in the imagination. Your emotions then respond to those imagined scenarios.   Even later that day when you replay the event in your mind, your emotions respond to the imagined version. The emotions you create from your imagined scenarios are no longer based in anything real.  Because of the natural response of emotions to what you imagine you can amplify fear and anger to the degree that they become out of control. However the fear and anger are natural consequence of the imagined scenarios. The problem is that the imagined scenarios in the mind are out of control and no longer based in reality.   Awareness   If you are not aware of how your imagination is projecting these scenarios you will blame other people unnecessarily for your emotions.  Understanding how your mind dreams images and scenarios of outcome is critical to understanding your anger and other emotions.   The initial moment of fear and anger resulted from a very real scenario that could have caused you harm.  However, most often the anger and fear people generate are sourced from their uncontrolled beliefs and imagination.   Anger is Rational   Anger is the natural emotional response designed to protect us from danger. It is part of our instinctual system for protection and preservation.  Notice how a dog growls and bares its teeth in response to a threat to its territory.  A mother bear will also go into ferocious anger if you were to come near her cubs.  Anger is a force of energy that we project in order to push away or combat a threat.  However, anger ceases to be a form of protecting your life and becomes a means of destroying your life and relationships when the threat isn't real.   Your emotions respond the same whether a threat is real or part of your imagination. Anger itself is a completely rational emotion to have when you perceive the thoughts and scenarios in your mind. There is nothing irrational or wrong with the anger from imagined scenarios and beliefs. Your emotional response system is working properly. The problem is with the thoughts, beliefs, and scenarios in your mind that generate an anger response.  The scenarios the mind projects are often not rational at all.   Other problems are created when you do not have the awareness and will power to refrain from outbursts of your anger.  These reactions and consequences often distract us from the root cause of the problem.   It's easy to assume that your anger is the problem because it is what you notice.  It is the outbursts of anger that we see and that cause destruction.  The assumptions and interpretations in the mind are less noticeable amidst this emotional drama.  However your emotions of anger are just a natural response to what the mind imagines.  If you perceive and believe what the mind imagines you will create emotions as a natural response.   If you accidentally touch a hot stove and burn your hand you will feel pain.  Naturally you would want to pain to stop, but the pain in your hand isn't the problem.  The pain is just a natural response to touching a hot stove.  The physical touch on the stove is less noticeable, but yet it is the real problem.  Touching the hot stove is the cause of that pain. The pain won't go away until you take your hand away from the hot stove.   The same is true for your emotions such as anger.  You may want to stop your anger, but anger is just a reaction to something else. Anger is the natural emotional reaction to what the mind and imagination are doing.  The way to overcome anger is to change how the mind imagines stories and how much you believe them.  When the mind imagines painful scenarios you naturally produce anger.  To reduce and eliminate the anger it is necessary to shift the stories that the mind imagines.   To effectively reduce or eliminate the anger in our life, we can practice changing the core beliefs, assumptions, and interpretations of the mind.    The Reaction to Emotional Pain   Your mind can generate anger and fear even when there's not a physical threat of pain. Your emotional response mechanism can generate anger just as easily by imagining a scenario involving the threat of emotional pain. When your mind is out of control imagining scenarios of emotional pain, your anger goes out of control. For anger to happen the emotional pain doesn't even have to occur. If you just imagine that you will be hurt in the future, you can become angry before anything has happened.   Understand is the first step towards managing. We can't control what we don't understand.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do control my anger management?

Im glad you have started the awareness to want to control your anger. The first step in change is recognition and realizing that you have something you want to change. Anger can be many things and one of them can be negative...but it can also be positive when you can do positive things with it and because of it. In specific, if you have anger it can fuel you taking better care of yourself, fighting for a good cause, changing behaviors based on your frustration for them...as long as you dont act in haste and impulses and harm yourself or others whether its physical or emotional of in other ways that can be negative and harmful. And then anger can be negative and harmful if you are not using it for good reason. For example, we can get angry and hold onto things that will eventually end up harming us at the end of the day...if we hold onto anger it can fester inside us and it can affect how to live and how we see and how we act...it can affect every fiber of our lives if we dont check our emotions and behaviors. We need to keep our emotions in a good balance even when we are angry as it can hurt us more than we realize. It is understandable that you could be angry and hit an object...sure its better than hitting a person or an animal or an object that can break and waste money or get dangerous like a glass piece...but if we can control our anger that is the ultimate form of self control...when we can regulate our emotions. It is a source of strength and power to be able to balance ourselves even when we are upset. It is a challenge and it can be channeled into something positive. For example, if you can channel your anger into something good such as helping others, being productive, giving of your time and talents, creating fun things, having a good time, taking a break and getting fresh air, and doing something good instead of something bad, that is a good thing. Anger should not harm us in negative ways...it is healthy to be angry and acknowledge this emotion but it is not healthy when we cope with anger in detrimental ways. Anger can be a great motivator for change and positive acts and behaviors. So I will challenge you to do something positive in your anger after your vent your anger and process it...and processing anger can be difficult but it is important in order to channel it into something that adds to your life rather than take away from your life. Utilize the higher order defense mechanism of sublimation which means take your unwanted thoughts and put it into something productive such as taking a class, getting good grades, helping someone in need, cleaning your room, taking care of something you havent done that you needed, being your best...doing things that make you a better person.  Wishing you the best in your journey of converting your anger into something positive after understanding and processing it!  Take care...
(PhD, LCSW, LCADC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Anger management in stressful times

When it comes to being quick to frustration and anger it is often related to feeling a lack of control. When one feels like things are not going as planned, or there is anticipated or unanticipated change, there can be a lack of control. When we have a set plan in mind for how things are going to go and what we want out of interactions, we sometimes do not always manage obstacles or barriers well. One useful way to manage anger or frustration is by thinking about a thermometer. There is a technique that involves knowing what triggers or stressors increase your anger or frustration thermometers. Awareness is always the first step when making changes to behaviors, so being aware of the lower level, medium level, and higher level triggers for anger and frustration is very important. The next component is also making note of any physical symptoms associated with anger or frustration. Do you notice that your face gets hot? Do you clench your fists or feel the need to throw or hit something? Being aware of the mind-body connection when it comes to emotions like anger and frustration can be very helpful. Then when it comes to encountering these triggers for frustration and anger, when you notice physical symptoms of these emotions it is an indication that the triggers are likely to result in you having an emotional reaction. Once this happens, it is best to pause before acting. Of course, this is easier said than done but it is a strategy that takes time to develop the same way it takes time to develop an exercise routine. The goal would be to recognize the physical symptoms of anger or frustration, recognize the triggers, and pause before reacting. This does not mean that you ignore how you are feeling. This means that you acknowledge the feeling of anger or frustration and you consciously make an effort to think carefully about how you respond to the feeling you have. For example, if plans you make with friends or family members do not work out because someone is running late or because of another external factor, this might cause you to feel angry. You might feel your face get flushed and you are able to identify that the plans you worked hard on making are not panning out. Once the anger is recognized you have a choice to yell or respond to the anger in a different way. Instead of yelling, you can decide to take a walk, drink a cold glass of water, walk away from the situation, or take a deep breath. Now no one is perfect when it comes to managing stress or triggers. If there are times where you do not react well out of anger or frustration, you have to remember that you cannot change the past. You can only offer a sincere apology, make note of the mistakes involved in the reaction, and try to make things better in the future.
(MSW, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Where and how would I start to work through any past issues that are causing me stress in life?

Anger is always a secondary emotion to something else.  There is something there to explore that drives that emotion, are you upset about your chronic pain condition?  Are you unsatisfied with place in the world right now (or the world in general?).  There are so many different things that can drive that niggly feeling of irritability in all of us.  I would be interested in hearing some of the strategies that you have been using that have maybe once worked in a way that you felt some relief.  Many times it's not necessary to learn all new coping skills but just a small tweak to ones that have once worked effectively.  I would suggest making a list of things that had worked and then writing them down (this is important the visual is key) and try to think of ways to tweak them  For example if your coping skill has been listening to relaxing music would it help if you changed the style of music you listened to? Would a podcast help more this time? Small changes also have lasting BIG effects. In terms of becoming a stronger person I would suggest thinking about someone that you know or someone that you see as a "strong" person.  What are some of the attributes that you feel make them strong? What are some of the similarities that you might have with that person that you can build on to move towards a stronger mental mindset.  We are often taken by peoples strengths in certain situations or the work they do. These traits can be found in ourselves but they aren't always evident to us, but those around us see what we can't.  I challenge you to look at the daily struggles that you have and really think about what you do to get through them.  I'd be willing to bet that you too are strong. You just see it as something different because it's hard to see the good and wonderful ways we manage ourselves.   I hope this has been helpful! Be well and dig deep into what makes YOU tick, you might find some things you never expected.
(MS, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I avoid conflict

Hi E, I appreciate you reaching out and asking this question for yourself. As the holidays are presenting themselves along with this sounding like a larger barrier that has remained presenting itself in your relationship with your father, I commend you for wanting to take a new approach for yourself and Identify with some alternatives. As you mention the question of how do I avoid conflict. I am rather going to take the approach of how you can support yourself in the conflict and steps that you can take to feel in control of the conflict. Aversion or avoiding typically is not supportive or most and therefore creating a more induced and difficult relationship with one another.    Therefore, I do believe it is important for you to take the time and reflect on the rationale behind asking this question and what about your father's behavior is most difficult for you to identify with and understand internally. As many times identifying with the core concern attached to this behavior presenting itself can help you to understand your responses to your father as well as the manner that you desire to present yourself in and through these scenarios. Additionally, in this regard, I do want to reinforce that it is very common to struggle to find a solution to the behavior that the other is exhibiting and rather some clarity of where this is coming from. Such as understanding your dad's upbringing, how the generational patterns of functioning have presented themselves. Although this does not excuse the way that he is treating you as well as your feelings and emotions being valid. I do think it is important for you and your dad to understand one another as well as where each other is coming from as although not agreeing, some do find a mutual understanding of one another if possible.    Additionally, I wanted to share some conflict resolution skills to support these moments in time when you and your dad find yourselves in disagreements together.    Keep your cool- Although this is easier said than done. Many times during disagreements, it is easy for both parties to feed off of each others emotions and feelings and therefore project difficult energies towards one another. If noticing yourself not being able to maintain tone of voice and facial expressions, taking a step away may be beneficial to support your individual functioning and well being.    Express yourself with words rather than actions- If noticing behaviors and acting in a way that you are not feeling good about begins to present itself, taking a step away to cope and then return to the conversation is important.    Understand what you are wanting to communicate to him. - Refer with open ended statements to learn more from one another vs adding fuel to the fire.    Identify with one concern at a time- Focus on the points in the current conversation rather than divulging in issues that occurred in the past.    Avoiding make believe scenarios- such as providing hypotheticals to describe your feelings and emotions.    Setting Boundaries with one another- Setting boundaries related to what and how you allow yourselves to treat one another as the cycle of miscommunication can induce many differential and worrisome feelings and emotions. It is also important to maintain these boundaries for yourself and communicate them effectively after taking the time to reflect on the use and the meaning of them to you.    Clamming up or shutting down, it can be helpful to take a step away from the conversation and then return when you are able to communicate the desired information as well as rationale for becoming upset.    I always think it is important to mention in these kinds of situations to try your best to pick and choose your battles with the other individual as many times it can become more overwhelming than not. Additionally, that you are taking time to cope and release your feelings and emotions following a disagreement. Internalizing as well as holding this conflicts inside can foster towards changing the way that you and your father will grow into maintaining a relationship together.    Lastly, I did want to share some different coping skills, and grounding techniques that can support you in these moments to communicate, assert yourself and set boundaries. When referring to coping skills this is meaning coping skills can include deep breathing, checking in with your body and mind as well as participating in activities, journaling to release your thoughts and make sense of them, talking with friends, running, baking, cooking, art etc. Essentially many times we find the best coping skills are ones that support healthy development of your body and mind and specifically things that you can do that can be a consistent and known in your life. When referring to grounding skills these are active skills for yourself to be able to gravitate towards and utilize when you are specifically in the moments of feeling anxious when interacting or going to interact with others. Such as some kind of small fidget tool to use in your hands, gum, in specific moments pressing your heels to the ground to notice the pressure points in your body, pushing the pressure points on your fingertips in a consecutive cycle, breathing and reminding yourself to take a deep breathe along with always giving yourself the ability to have an exit route if becoming too overwhelmed. This meaning driving independently, walking if applicable etc.   I do wish you all of the best and hope that yourself and father can take a new direction in the way that you both interact and treat one another. Happy Holidays and I hope yourself and family is healthy and safe.    Best Wishes, Kathleen Monroe
(LCSW, CADC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to not self sabotage your relationships and friendships over trivial issues?

Dear Kesha,   Thank you for your message.   Anger is a response we have when we don't feel understood, don't feel listened to, don't feel respected. At first we might just feel disappointed or irritated, however it escalates often when others add fuel into it by saying words that are hurtful, misunderstanding and dismissive. We then become even angrier and at last we turn our anger into rage.   To control anger we must understand how anger works within us. Anger is almost like a volcano when it erupts, it releases a large amount of energy and often is destructive. However these energy is often accumulated for a while before it erupts. If we can understand what accumulates these energy with us, and find ways to release it, then we can be assured that our volcano will not erupt.   Anger is the natural emotion created in a fight-or-flight situation by the physiology of your mind and body. When you sense a threat your mind generates fear and anger.  The fear you generate is part of a flight response from your physiology. Anger is the emotional energy you generate for the fight against that perceived threat.    What can be confusing is that your mind creates fear and anger even when the threat is just imagined.   Emotions like anger are natural and real.  Even if the threat is imagined the anger you create is just as real and powerful. However, the reasons you generate anger aren't always real. If you aren't aware of how your mind is imagining scenarios of hurt your anger will appear irrational.   Real vs. Imagined Anger   It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish a real threat from an imagined threat because they can happen at the same time.  For example, someone is cutting you off on the freeway and a car briefly maneuvers in a way that could cause an accident and possibly injure your body.  There's a natural fight-or-flight reaction to your emotions and you create a combination of fear and anger. The reality of this harm usually passes very quickly and so do your emotions.   However, your imagination may take over and create worse scenarios.  You begin to consider that you or someone in your car might be hurt or killed. You might recall similar events from your past, project those into your mind, and add more emotion.  After the real physical threat passes your mind still projects scenarios in the imagination. Your emotions then respond to those imagined scenarios.   Even later that day when you replay the event in your mind, your emotions respond to the imagined version. The emotions you create from your imagined scenarios are no longer based in anything real.  Because of the natural response of emotions to what you imagine you can amplify fear and anger to the degree that they become out of control. However the fear and anger are natural consequence of the imagined scenarios. The problem is that the imagined scenarios in the mind are out of control and no longer based in reality.   Awareness   If you are not aware of how your imagination is projecting these scenarios you will blame other people unnecessarily for your emotions.  Understanding how your mind dreams images and scenarios of outcome is critical to understanding your anger and other emotions.   The initial moment of fear and anger resulted from a very real scenario that could have caused you harm.  However, most often the anger and fear people generate are sourced from their uncontrolled beliefs and imagination.   Anger is Rational   Anger is the natural emotional response designed to protect us from danger. It is part of our instinctual system for protection and preservation.  Notice how a dog growls and bares its teeth in response to a threat to its territory.  A mother bear will also go into ferocious anger if you were to come near her cubs.  Anger is a force of energy that we project in order to push away or combat a threat.  However, anger ceases to be a form of protecting your life and becomes a means of destroying your life and relationships when the threat isn't real.   Your emotions respond the same whether a threat is real or part of your imagination. Anger itself is a completely rational emotion to have when you perceive the thoughts and scenarios in your mind. There is nothing irrational or wrong with the anger from imagined scenarios and beliefs. Your emotional response system is working properly. The problem is with the thoughts, beliefs, and scenarios in your mind that generate an anger response.  The scenarios the mind projects are often not rational at all.   Other problems are created when you do not have the awareness and will power to refrain from outbursts of your anger.  These reactions and consequences often distract us from the root cause of the problem.   It's easy to assume that your anger is the problem because it is what you notice.  It is the outbursts of anger that we see and that cause destruction.  The assumptions and interpretations in the mind are less noticeable amidst this emotional drama.  However your emotions of anger are just a natural response to what the mind imagines.  If you perceive and believe what the mind imagines you will create emotions as a natural response.   If you accidentally touch a hot stove and burn your hand you will feel pain.  Naturally you would want to pain to stop, but the pain in your hand isn't the problem.  The pain is just a natural response to touching a hot stove.  The physical touch on the stove is less noticeable, but yet it is the real problem.  Touching the hot stove is the cause of that pain. The pain won't go away until you take your hand away from the hot stove.   The same is true for your emotions such as anger.  You may want to stop your anger, but anger is just a reaction to something else. Anger is the natural emotional reaction to what the mind and imagination are doing.  The way to overcome anger is to change how the mind imagines stories and how much you believe them.  When the mind imagines painful scenarios you naturally produce anger.  To reduce and eliminate the anger it is necessary to shift the stories that the mind imagines.   To effectively reduce or eliminate the anger in our life, we can practice changing the core beliefs, assumptions, and interpretations of the mind.    The Reaction to Emotional Pain   Your mind can generate anger and fear even when there's not a physical threat of pain. Your emotional response mechanism can generate anger just as easily by imagining a scenario involving the threat of emotional pain. When your mind is out of control imagining scenarios of emotional pain, your anger goes out of control. For anger to happen the emotional pain doesn't even have to occur. If you just imagine that you will be hurt in the future, you can become angry before anything has happened.   Understand is the first step towards managing. We can't control what we don't understand.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do i become less reactive

Dear Aj,   Thank you for your message and sharing with me how you've been interacting with yourself, especially on how you've been handling unpleasant feelings and emotions. As you said this has also affected your life significantly. Perhaps by addressing how to handle unpleasant emotions in a healthier manner, we can dive into addressing the issues in your life as well?   Often the experience we've had about anxiety (or any strong emotion such as stress / depression) was so terrible (even physically) that our body sort of become traumatized to it. We naturally become nervous about these unpleasant feelings because we don't like these sensations and experiences. As a result we would do everything we can to avoid / fight these anxious feelings, often using numbing techniques such as using substances or distracting ourselves. Yet only to find that the anxiety gets stronger over time because we have never been able to make peace with it.   Therefore rather than trying to "change" / "fight" / "get rid of" these unpleasant sensations, perhaps the best thing that we can do is to make room for these feelings and even sensations, while staying on track to do what brings us meaning and fulfillment. Floating without judging / blaming ourselves through the anxiety experience, while focusing on making room for anxiety can be helpful.   Here is a short video put up by the author of the book "The Happiness Trap" which does a good job explaining this concept:   Please take some time to watch this and share your thoughts later :) I also highly recommend picking that book as well to supplement this therapy process.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCp1l16GCXI    We as human beings do not like sufferings, therefore often times we would be doing our best to fight it. However just like the analogy of swimming vs floating that we have talked about before, the more we fight it, the faster we sink. While if we can learn to float with these waves, we will realize that we won't sink.   Radical acceptance / Expansion is about accepting of life on life's terms and not resisting what you cannot or choose not to change. Radical Acceptance is about saying yes to life and all that life brings (including all sorts of emotions such as joy, sadness, peace and pain), just as it is without forcing our ways into our lives.   Why do we want to accept life as it is? Because with anything that we do in life that brings us meaning and fulfillment, it always accompany a wide range of emotions, we can't possibly just choose the ones that we like and fight / avoid those that we don't like. Learning to experience all emotions as they are, is a sign that we are living our lives to the fullest.   To do so we must learn to accept (and make room for) any unpleasant sensations, feelings or thoughts that we experience.   We don't want to fight it because the more we fight, the stronger they will come back.   We don't want to avoid it either because the more we avoid, the more we'll be afraid of it.   So the key here is to make room for these sensations, feelings and thoughts, while continue to do what brings us meaning and fulfillment in life.    Learning to "co-exist" with these feelings will naturally reduce the intensity of them.   Floating, is a form of learning to accept these feelings and make room for it.   Let me give you some practical guidelines on what I mean by accepting these feelings and make room for it.   You can look up "expansion technique" under Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for more information as well.   How to accept our emotions (and make room for them):   1. OBSERVE. Bring awareness to the feelings in your body.   2. BREATHE. Take a few deep breaths. Breathe into and around them.   3. EXPAND. Make room for these feelings. Create some space for them.   4. ALLOW. Allow them to be there. Make peace with them   Some people find it helpful to silently say to themselves, 'I don't like this feeling, but I have room for it,' or 'It's unpleasant, but I can accept it.'   • When you're feeling an unpleasant emotion, the first step is to take a few slow, deep breaths, and quickly scan your body from head to toe.   • You will probably notice several uncomfortable sensations. Look for the strongest sensation - the one that bothers you the most. For example, it may be a lump in your throat, or a knot in your stomach, or an ache in your chest.   • Focus your attention on that sensation. Observe it curiously, as if you are a friendly scientist, discovering some interesting new phenomenon.   • Observe the sensation carefully. Notice where it starts and where it ends. Learn as much about it as you can. If you had to draw a line around the sensation, what would the outline look like? Is it on the surface of the body, or inside you, or both? How far inside you does it go? Where is the sensation most intense? Where is it weakest? How is it different in the center than around the edges? Is there any pulsation, or vibration within it? Is it light or heavy? Moving or still? What is its temperature?   • Take a few more deep breaths, and let go of the struggle with that sensation. Breathe into it. Imagine your breath flowing in and around it.   • Make room for it. Loosen up around it. Allow it to be there. You don't have to like it or want it. Simply let it be.   • The idea is to observe the sensation - not to think about it. So when your mind starts commenting on what's happening, just say 'Thanks, mind!' and come back to observing.   • You may find this difficult. You may feel a strong urge to fight with it or push it away. If so, just acknowledge this urge, without giving in to it. (Acknowledging is rather like nodding your head in recognition, as if to say 'There you are. I see you.') Once you've acknowledged that urge, bring your attention back to the sensation itself.   • Don't try to get rid of the sensation or alter it. If it changes by itself, that's okay. If it doesn't change, that's okay too. Changing or getting rid of it is not the goal.   • You may need to focus on this sensation for anything from a few seconds to a few minutes, until you completely give up the struggle with it. Be patient. Take as long as you need. You're learning a valuable skill.   • Once you've done this, scan your body again, and see if there's another strong sensation that's bothering you. If so, repeat the procedure with that one.   • You can do this with as many different sensations as you want to. Keep going until you have a sense of no longer struggling with your feelings.   • As you do this exercise one of two things will happen: either your feelings will change - or they won't. It doesn't matter either way. This exercise is not about changing your feelings. It's about accepting them.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I control my anger and crazy moments

This is almost like a two part answer. One, what do you use for coping skills? As an example do you try to use deep breathing or an ice pack on the back of your neck (to shut off your amygdala's response)? Two, why is there such a sense of being disrespected when you feel ignored? Feeling invalidated or a sense of abandonment makes us react in different ways. We may shut down, become irate, feel hurt. Are there any feelings hiding underneath that rage that are difficult to show for any reason? If we aren't taught to show emotions, to name emotions, in a healthy manner we can react in a negative unhealthy way but there is hope, there are ways to work through the rage, the pain, and the inability to control reactions. Anger is typically considered a secondary emotion. It's sort of like an iceberg, we see a small portion but what's under the water can be huge. When showing anger that is usually the tip and trauma, emotions, reactions to hurts when we were younger, inability to stop and process what we are feeling, are what's hidden underneath. Not being able to respect someone elses space when emotionally activated shows we need to be seen to be heard to be acknowledged. Was there a time in your life when you did not feel heard or seen? What satisfaction to you receive when intruding on someone's space if any? what emotions does that cause after you've been able to calm yourself and process the situation in it's entirety? When our amygdala reacts to a situation that feels threatening in any manner (even big emotions) it can hijack us by flooding us with chemicals for several hours. While this is happening a portion of our brain (the neocortex) isn't able to function at full capacity so this creates an inability to communicate effectively, it makes impulse control very difficult to manage because we are in survivial brain. We are in that stage of fight, flight, freeze, fawn, faint, and all of the other "f" words that we are recognizing as reactions. this is our base animal instinct. If you think about a dog who is your best friend, would never hurt anyone, just a great calm animal to be around. Then add pain or fear this same loving animal can react aggressively. Humans can have that same reaction. Being able to use a good coping skill at an appropriate time will shut down your amygdala and give you some ability to control communication and impulsive reactions. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can therapy help, if I don't feel comfortable speaking with others

If you are able to seek a therapist you are able to connect with by building rapport. You may find that you don't find it so difficult to work on your goals. Since 2020, there have been various opportunities to seek treatment to assist you with you challenges, such as, in person, videos, phone and messaging. Betterhelp has several ways to communicate with  a therapist. You can chose the one that is the most effective for you. Once you feel connected to a therapist and feel comfortable with them. You may find it easy to explore the areas that you want to improve in your life. Therapy can help you in various ways by teaching you techniques you can practice with the therapist to improve your social skill. They help you create coping skills to manage your reactions to various situations you experience. Some therapist also could help you with role playing situations prior trying to address situations outside of a session. They can also assist you with learning to identify various triggers that may be causing you to have a physical response related to circumstances that have occurred in your life and how your body responds to emotions.    They can teach you communication skills, such as, the differences between assertiveness, passive and aggressiveness and when it may be helpful to use the difference skills during different situations. You could learn how to improve your social skills by using relaxation techniques and other calming skills when interacting with others. They can assist you with building your self-confidence by reflexing on your strengths, life achievements, and your inspirations.  A therapist could help work through what is hindering you in general from being able to connect with others. They can also assist you with who you are seeking to connect with. Therapy is the same as a lot of other life tasks, such as, the more you practice the more you will improve. You create the goal and therapist can provide you with support, education, and resources. Betterhelp is a very good example of that. Their site allows you to seek and explore information to help you feel better. 
(LCPC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

What are some helpful ways I can control my anger?

Anger can be traced to many triggers including changes in routine, expectations not being met, not getting an expected result, etc. Anger feeling as though it is uncontrolled is a result of not being able to effectively manage the trigger that caused the anger and over time the expression of anger becomes a primary response. The reason being is that becoming angry initially may get the intended result and that reinforces in your mind that this is an appropriate way to manage the trigger. While this may be effective initially (ex: you are reprimanded by your boss at work for something that was done wrong or not done immediately so you work to complete this more effectively so that they don't become angry again), ultimately it does not address the reason that the trigger became present which increases the likeliness that the trigger will occur again (ex: needing more clear direction from your boss about when things were due, getting support from your boss on how to more effectively manage your responsibilities so that you have time to complete the task, working on developing your time management skills, etc). When a trigger continues to repeat and the response is always anger then the angry response actually becomes less effective (ex: employee expects that boss will become upset and is jaded to the response). What happens at this point is that the level of the anger response is escalated to continue warranted a desired response. With the thought process of associating anger getting results that are desired, it starts to become a primary thought process which can then transition into other aspects of life, which clinically is identified as displacement. Feeling angry within a certain situation seems unreasonable but yet you are still angry, all as a result of not addressing the initial source of the anger and where the thought process was developed. Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective at working to support treating this because it initially focuses on identifying what the source of the anger is, the why it happens. Second would be identifying the how anger affects your life and thought processes. Lastly, it is working towards identifying and utilizing skills to change the why and how associated with the anger through mindfulness and other techniques. The approach with addressing this should be individualized through working with your therapist. While having a new puppy may have some effect on your mood and being angry (responsibilities of caring for new puppy, adjusting to new puppy behaviors in the household, etc), it is possible that the presentation of this anger is not solely rooted in the new puppy. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I stop my uncontrollable anger?

Hi WillowTree! To start, you have a lot of awareness, which may be the first thing that shows you want to make changes and write a different script for your life. You're acknowledging what is not working and want to find what does work. One thing, that is hard to do, is to examine your mother's issues and her frame of reference. That means, where is she coming from based on her trauma's and life experiences. Then you can use that information to decide if you think that she was "doing her best" with the tools she had. Sometimes, using this can help us feel and look at things differently. This does not excuse things, nor does this replace boundaries, because those are absolutely needed.   Then focusing on yourself, making a plan. Therapy is extremely helpful. You can identify your own patterns and how to avoid or alter your responses in situations that lead to you choosing to feel angry. Once you can start to do that, you can look at what is underneath your anger. Often it's hurt, guilt, or worry. Those feelings are much less powerful than anger, so we tend to use anger to get our points across. Finding ways to challenge your negative thinking to further explore the issues with yourself and in therapy can be very helpful. As mentioned before, we see things a certain way, and as you start to do work, you can shift how you're looking at things.    Also, looking at some physical ways to decompress. That could be intense exercise, yoga, walking, swimming -- anything that can be another outlet for you. You had mentioned counting, so using that with deep breathing or mindfulness techniques (check out our Groupinars!) might be a great source of relief. Sometimes doing things physically can help get our mind ready to explore the deeper issues.   I hope this is helpful in your journey. Again, you're already doing some hard work in identifying what the issues are and making steps to change your life. Continue on this path and I am hopeful you can find relief and progress.     
(LISW-S, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Different types of mental problems

Anger is a complex emotion, more than many of us realize. Since this is a change I would have you look back at something you have experienced lately that has been significant in your life. You also talk about being depressed which indicates there may be deeper emotions that need to be worked on outside of anger.  Anger can often be a surface emotion that pops up anytime we are struggling to process an emotion that we are uncomfortable with, note that I didn't say a bad emotion because emotions are not good or bad, they are just emotions. But there can be emotions that we are comfortable with feeling and those that we are uncomfortable with feeling, which is likely a result of how people have reacted to us expressing that emotion in the past.  So when you have these moments of anger that pop up, think about how you really might feel in the situation. Was it sadness, guilt, shame, betrayal? These are often the emotions that individuals struggle with the most and will mask with anger. Anger allows us to have a false sense of feeling powerful and in control, when in reality you are in the least control of your emotions in that moment.  Then I would recommend exploring your discomfort with the emotion that you are experiencing. This may be on your own or with a licensed professional, but once you are better able to understand that emotion and become more comfortable with expressing it, then you will have less anger outbursts. That also means you will instead have to embrace that uncomfortable feeling when it comes up and that can be hard if you have always been shamed for expressing that emotion in the past. It won't be a quick fix overnight, but with time it is something that you can become better at and have more control of your emotional state. The other thing with anger can be unresolved emotions from a previous event in your life and/or some type of traumatic experience that has not been dealt with yet. In that case I would highly recommend seeking professional help to work through those difficult situations. Lastly, if you are taking medications for any mental health issues, like depression, you may need to reevaluate your medications.  If there has been a recent medication change that correlates with the anger outbursts or have been on a medication for an extended period of time I would recommend talking to your doctor or psychiatrist about how you have been feeling recently and discuss with them any concerns as it relates to the medications you are taking. Anger is an emotion we all experience and that is okay. It isn't the emotions that we experience that are bad, but how we react to them. It is okay to be angry, it isn't okay to hurt others. We accept all emotions, just not all behaviors.
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to deal with my problem?

Hello Yang, I am glad you reached out for support at this time.  I am sorry you are struggling in this moment.  I would encourage you to start to work with a therapist to help you learn skills to help you overcome your struggles.  If we were to meet I would first talk to you about the counseling process through our site and how together we could help you obtain your goals going forward, how I work as a counselor and how I would try to help you through the counseling process.  I would also take the first session to get to know you by asking you a few questions to get a better understanding of your struggles, so that I am able to focus on a plan and goals to work on going forward. I want you to know that you are not alone during this time even through you may feel like you are alone at this time.  During the therapy process you can have support 100% of the time as you are able to reach out and talk to a therapist 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  I am going to send you some skills and tools to help you during this time of struggle you are having with your anger to start.  If we were to work together we would be going over these and more tools to help you through our struggles and be able to ask for support from others. Anger has power, but there are healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with that power, from letting it control you to wielding it in a way that spurs you on to something positive. Some people are prone to rage more often than others, but anger is a feeling that many of us could use a bit of help in handling. The choices we make when angry can often come back to haunt us, but the cycle can be hard to break. Here's how to tame your inner raging bull. And if you find that you are often mired in negative thinking.1. Own It. Pretending you're not angry—especially while exhibiting nearly cartoonish physical signs of anger—does no good for you, the target of your anger, or your blood pressure. Many people think that to acknowledge anger is the same as acting inappropriately on it. That's simply not true, and the difference between those two concepts is huge. Admitting that you are upset, whether to yourself, or as calmly as possible to the person you're in conflict with ("I admit I seem to be getting upset here. I want to resolve this and not do anything I regret, so I am going to try to slow down.") can validate your feelings. This, in turn, can help you feel more empowered toward working toward a solution, and it will also diminish the conflict within yourself.2. Break It Down. So you're still simmering after your yearly review? If you jot down some of your thoughts, whether with prehistoric pen and paper or with an app du jour, you'll gain some clarity as to how they're serving as the antecedents to your feelings. In the process, you can sort out why you're upset and what steps you can take to work through the situation. Perhaps most important, putting your feelings into words can make them feel more tangible, and therefore more manageable—which can eventually help them work their way out of your system.3. Move It Out. As physical signs go, anger can look very similar to other forms of arousal, like anxiety or even excitement. Calming those physical impulses, or giving them someplace useful to go, can help you get your anger under control. Slow down your breathing through several long, deep breaths. Loosen your muscles through clenching and unclenching your fists and slowly doing a neck roll. If you can use that arousal for good rather than for clocking someone in the face, you'll be better off. So channel that rage into an activity that can release tension: running, kickboxing, dancing, jumping rope, or even just beating your fists against your chest like a gorilla. A primal scream can be helpful if you are blessed with the space. Instead of letting your frustration burn you up, you can burn it off. And if it comes out in the shape of tears or even demonic laughter? Just let it.4. Find The Big Picture. If you're still feeling steamed from that interaction with your colleague or that snarky tone from the person in line at the coffee shop, it might be time to make a list of the things you're grateful for. Gratitude meditations, or just sitting and focusing on what's right in your life, will make what you're angry about seem more molehill than mountain. You might also choose to think about the person whom you think has wronged you, and imagine what unique challenges they may be reacting to. Think about the ways that they could use some empathy, and try to mentally give it to them—that can often neutralize anger.5. Share—carefully. If there is a friend or loved one you trust, sharing your feelings with them can sometimes be cathartic. But be aware that not everyone is equipped to hear difficult feelings in a healthy, supportive way. Some might just not be good listeners and could just try to bottle up your emotions for you. Others might try to fan the flames, like audiences in a gladiator match.6. Act. If someone drove poorly on the freeway, you'll simply move on, eventually. But if you're part of a toxic relationship or the victim of a serial aggressor, you'll need to do what you can to chart out steps to improve the situation. A specific plan of action with methodical goals and the pathways to get there can lend a very important sense of control, reducing your stress and increasing your peace.7. Be Watchful. Sometimes things may seem to be resolved, but rage still lingers residually, in the form of irritability, insomnia, or even depression. Increasing your mindfulness through your awareness in the moment of your thoughts and feelings and the triggers that seem to cause them can serve as an early warning system for future conflicts. It can also help you determine if your anger is due to something deeper that could benefit from talking to a professional.Here are 25 ways you can control your anger and try to put these skills in place through the 7 step process listed above.1. Count downCount down (or up) to 10. If you’re really mad, start at 100. In the time it takes you to count, your heart rate will slow, and your anger will likely subside.2. Take a breatherYour breathing becomes shallower and speeds up as you grow angry. Reverse that trend (and your anger) by taking slow, deep breaths from your nose and exhaling out of your mouth for several moments.3. Go walk around can help calm your nerves and reduce anger. Go for a walk, ride your bike, or hit a few golf balls. Anything that gets your limbs pumping is good for your mind and body.4. Relax your musclesProgressive muscle relaxation calls on you to tense and slowly relax various muscle groups in your body, one at a time. As you tense and release, take slow, deliberate breaths.5. Repeat a mantraFind a word or phrase that helps you calm down and refocus. Repeat that word again and again to yourself when you’re upset. “Relax,” “Take it easy, and “You’ll be OK” are all good examples.6. StretchNeck rolls and shoulder rolls are good examples of nonstrenuous yoga-like movements that can help you control your body and harness your emotions. No fancy equipment required.7. Mentally escapeSlip into a quiet room, close your eyes, and practice visualizing yourself in a relaxing scene. Focus on details in the imaginary scene: What color is the water? How tall are the mountains? What do the chirping birds sound like? This practice can help you find calm amidst anger.8. Play some tunesLet music carry you away from your feelings. Put in earbuds or slip out to your car. Crank up your favorite music and hum, bop, or sashay your anger away.9. Stop talkingWhen you’re steamed, you may be tempted to let the angry words fly, but you’re more likely to do harm than good. Pretend your lips are glued shut, just like you did as a kid. This moment without speaking will give you time to collect your thoughts.10. Take a timeoutGive yourself a break. Sit away from others. In this quiet time, you can process events and return your emotions to neutral. You may even find this time away from others is so helpful you want to schedule it into your daily routine.11. Take actionHarness your angry energy. Sign a petition. Write a note to an official. Do something good for someone else. Pour your energy and emotions into something that’s healthy and productive.12. Write in your journalWhat you can’t say, perhaps you can write. Jot down what you’re feeling and how you want to respond. Processing it through the written word can help you calm down and reassess the events leading up to your feelings.13. Find the most immediate solutionYou might be angry that your child has once again left their room a mess before going to visit a friend. Shut the door. You can temporarily end your anger by putting it out of your view. Look for similar resolutions in any situations.14. Rehearse your responsePrevent an outburst by rehearsing what you’re going to say or how you’re going to approach the problem in the future. This rehearsal period gives you time to role-play several possible solutions, too.15. Picture a stop signThe universal symbol to stop can help you calm down when you’re angry. It’s a quick way to help you visualize the need to halt yourself, your actions, and walk away from the moment.16. Change your routineIf your slow commute to work makes you angry before you’ve even had coffee, find a new route. Consider options that may take longer but leave you less upset in the end.17. Talk to a friendDon’t stew in the events that made you angry. Help yourself process what happened by talking with a trusted, supportive friend who can possibly provide a new perspective.18. LaughNothing upends a bad mood like a good one. Diffuse your anger by looking for ways to laugh, whether that’s playing with your kids, watching stand-up, or scrolling memes.19. Practice gratitudeTake a moment to focus on what’s right when everything feels wrong. Realizing how many good things you have in your life can help you neutralize anger and turn around the situation.20. Set a timerThe first thing that comes to mind when you’re angry likely isn’t the thing you should say. Give yourself a set time before you respond. This time will help you be calmer and more concise.21. Write a letterWrite a letter or email to the person that made you angry. Then, delete it. Often, expressing your emotions in some form is all you want, even if it’s in something that will never be seen.22. Imagine forgiving themFinding the courage to forgive someone who has wronged you takes a lot of emotional skill. If you can’t go that far, you can at least pretend that you’re forgiving them, and you’ll feel your anger slip away.23. Practice empathyTry to walk in the other person’s shoes and see the situation from their perspective. When you tell the story or relive the events as they saw it, you may gain a new understanding and become less angry.24. Express your angerIt’s OK to say how you feel, as long as you handle it in the right way. Ask a trusted friend to help you be accountable to a calm response. Outbursts solve no problems, but mature dialogue can help reduce your stress and ease your anger. It may also prevent future problems.25. Find a creative channelTurn your anger into a tangible production. Consider painting, gardening, or writing poetry when you’re upset. Emotions are powerful muses for creative individuals. Use yours to reduce anger.The bottom lineAnger is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. However, if you find your anger turns to aggression or outbursts, you need to find healthy ways to deal with anger. Anger Management Steps:Why Manage Anger Anger is an emotion that can range from mild irritation to intense rage. While many people refer to anger as a “negative emotion,” anger also can be positive. Angry feelings may spur you to stand up for someone or they may lead you to create social change. But when left unchecked, angry feelings can lead to aggressive behavior, like yelling at someone or damaging property. Angry feelings also may cause you to withdraw from the world and turn your anger inward, which can impact your health and well-being. Anger becomes problematic when it's felt too often or too intensely or when it's expressed in unhealthy ways. Too much anger can take a toll on you physically, mentally, and socially. For this reason, anger management strategies can be beneficial and can help you discover healthy ways to express your feelings. Anger Management Strategies Research consistently shows that cognitive behavioral interventions are effective for improving anger management.1 Cognitive behavioral interventions involve changing the way you think and behave. They are based on the notion that your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected. Your thoughts and behaviors can either fuel your emotions or they can reduce them. So, if you want to shift your emotional state away from anger, you can change what you’re thinking and what you’re doing.1 Without fuel, the fire inside you will begin to dwindle and you'll feel more calm. Identify Triggers If you’ve gotten into the habit of losing your temper, take stock of the things that trigger your anger. Long lines, traffic jams, snarky comments, or excessive tiredness are just a few things that might shorten your fuse. You shouldn't blame people or external circumstances for your inability to keep your cool. But, understanding the things that trigger your anger can help you plan accordingly.You might decide to structure your day differently to help you manage your stress better. Or, you might practice some anger management techniques before you encounter circumstances that you usually find distressing. Doing these things can help you lengthen your fuse—meaning that a single frustrating episode won’t set you off. Evaluate Your Anger Before you spring into action to calm yourself down, ask yourself if your anger is a friend or an enemy. If you’re witnessing someone’s rights being violated or you are in an unhealthy situation, your anger might be helpful. In these cases, you might proceed by changing the situation rather than changing your emotional state. Sometimes, your anger is a warning sign that something else needs to change—like an emotionally abusive relationship or a toxic friendship. If, however, your anger is causing distress or hurting your relationships, your anger may be an enemy. Other signs of this type of anger include feeling out of control and regretting your words or actions later. In these situations, it makes sense to work on tackling your emotions and calming yourself down. Recognize Warning Signs If you're like some people, you may feel like your anger hits you in an instant—you go from calm to furious in a heartbeat. But there are warning signs when your anger is on the rise. Recognizing them early can help you take action to prevent your anger from reaching a boiling point. Think about the physical warning signs of anger that you experience. Perhaps your heart beats fast or your face feels hot. Or, maybe you begin to clench your fists. You also might notice some cognitive changes. Perhaps your mind races or you begin “seeing red.” By recognizing your warning signs, you have the opportunity to take immediate action and prevent yourself from doing or saying things that create bigger problems. Learn to pay attention to how you're feeling and you'll get better at recognizing the warning signs. Step Away Trying to win an argument or sticking it out in an unhealthy situation will only fuel your anger. One of the best things you can do when your anger is rising is to remove yourself from the situation if you can. When a conversation gets heated, take a break. Leave a meeting if you think you’re going to explode. Go for a walk if your kids upset you. A time-out can be key to helping you calm your brain and your body. When you need to step away, explain that you aren’t trying to dodge difficult subjects, but you’re working on managing your anger. You aren't able to have a productive conversation or resolve conflict when you’re feeling really upset. You can rejoin the discussion or address the issue again when you're feeling calmer. Sometimes it helps to set a specific time and place when you can discuss this issue again. Doing so gives your friend, colleague, or family member a sense of peace that the issue will indeed be discussed—just at a later time. Talk to a Friend If there’s someone who has a calming effect on you, talking through an issue or expressing your feelings to that person may be helpful. It’s important to note, however, that venting can backfire. Complaining about your boss, describing all the reasons you don’t like someone, or grumbling about all of your perceived injustices may add fuel to the fire. A common misconception is that you have to vent your anger to feel better. But studies show you don’t need to “get your anger out.”2 Smashing things when you’re upset, for example, may actually make you angrier. So it’s important to use this coping skill with caution. Likewise, if you’re going to talk to a friend, make sure you’re working on developing a solution or reducing your anger, not just venting. It's unfair to use them as your go-to sounding board. Instead, you might find that the best way to use this strategy is to talk about something other than the situation causing you to feel angry. Get Moving Anger gives you a rush of energy. One of the best ways to put that surge to good use is to engage in physical activity.3 Whether you go for a brisk walk or hit the gym, working out can burn off extra tension. Regular exercise also helps you decompress. Aerobic activity reduces stress, which might help improve your frustration tolerance.3 Additionally, exercise allows you to clear your mind. You may find that after a long run or a hard workout you have a clearer perspective on what was troubling you. Manage Your Thoughts Angry thoughts add fuel to your anger. Thinking things like, “I can’t stand it. This traffic jam is going to ruin everything,” will increase your frustration. When you find yourself thinking about things that fuel your anger, reframe your thoughts. Instead, think about the facts by saying something like, “There are millions of cars on the road every day. Sometimes, there will be traffic jams.” Focusing on the facts—without adding in catastrophic predictions or distorted exaggerations—can help you stay calmer.4 You also might develop a mantra that you can repeat to drown out the thoughts that fuel your anger. Saying, "I'm OK. Stay calm," or "Not helpful," over and over again can help you minimize or reduce angry thoughts. Focus on Relaxation There are many different relaxation exercises you can utilize to reduce anger. The key is to find the one that works best for you. Breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation are two common strategies for reducing tension.5 The best part is, both exercises can be performed quickly and discreetly. So whether you’re frustrated at work or you’re angry at a dinner engagement, you can let go of stress quickly and immediately. It’s important to note, however, that relaxation exercises take practice. At first, you might not feel as though they’re effective, or you might question whether they’re going to work for you. But with practice, they can become your go-to strategies for anger management.  Keeping your temper in check can be challenging. Use simple anger management tips — from taking a timeout to using "I" statements — to stay in control.1. Think before you speakIn the heat of the moment, it's easy to say something you'll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.2. Once you're calm, express your angerAs soon as you're thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but nonconfrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.3. Get some exercisePhysical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.4. Take a timeoutTimeouts aren't just for kids. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful. A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what's ahead without getting irritated or angry.5. Identify possible solutionsInstead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child's messy room drive you crazy? Close the door. Is your partner late for dinner every night? Schedule meals later in the evening — or agree to eat on your own a few times a week. Remind yourself that anger won't fix anything and might only make it worse.6. Stick with 'I' statementsTo avoid criticizing or placing blame — which might only increase tension — use "I" statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, "I'm upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes" instead of "You never do any housework."7. Don't hold a grudgeForgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation and strengthen your relationship.8. Use humor to release tensionLightening up can help diffuse tension. Use humor to help you face what's making you angry and, possibly, any unrealistic expectations you have for how things should go. Avoid sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.9. Practice relaxation skillsWhen your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as "Take it easy." You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.10. Know when to seek helpLearning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Seek help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you. I hope that these skills have been helpful for you in your struggles you have been facing at this time. I am going to give you my information if you are wanting to start to process through and work on your struggles going forward, please reach out to Betterhelp and ask to be matched with Crystal Westman. If we were to work together we would work on more skills and tools to help you when you are struggling and get back to a positive space.  I encourage you to reach out for support at this time to help you get to the best version of yourself.
Answered on 01/21/2022

how to control anger

Anger is something we all have to learn to cope with. Anger is one of the normal feelings; the problem is usually not the anger but the ways in which we express it. Anger is  usually a secondary emotion in that there is another emotion that precedes the anger. Anger usually comes from a deep emotion and comes on rapidly. For example if let's say you are in a traffic jam and are stuck on the free way, that would make anger a primary emotion in that instance since it is caused by the traffic jam.  Anger is a secondary emotion if it is derived from shame or guilt or fear, for example. What often happens with anger is a person usually avoids working on the anger issue and avoids the emotions of anger. Avoiding and stuffing down angry feelings will cause them to explode in inappropriate ways.  The first step is to take time to begin to recognize your anger and other emotions. When we stuff down our feelings often them they will erupt in anger at inopportune times and can cause us problems. Learning to express anger appropriately is difficult just due to the fact it is hard to think slowly when angry. You have had the feelings in some situations and then reacting with a lot of angry emotions has turned into some form of a habit. Over time, begin to observe what made you angry, and why your reactions are what they were can be quite helpful in beginning to react to anger in healthy ways. Since a short temper happens with little or no warning, it will take some thought to begin to change old habits, but it can be done with help from a therapist. Keeping a journal of thoughts and feelings surrounding anger can be very insightful in assessing the feelings surrounding anger in your life. Best of luck!    I also wonder if you have experienced some sort of trauma in the past. It is common for those that have had traumatic life events to display this type of anger that appears somewhat explosive. Working through past painful events in life can also do a lot to determine the origins of anger you are experiencing. Once the source is discovered it does become easier to cope with past traumatic events. I have observed with some clients that anger comes when we feel fearful or feel threatened by events that are occurring. Exploring the feelings behind the anger can help keep anger in the right place in your emotions. Anger expressed the wrong way is harmful to your health both physically and mentally. Hopefully you will be able over time to learn to cope with feelings that involve anger. 
(MS, LMFT)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I control my emotions?

Hi Neni, I’m so sorry to hear that you are having a difficult time right now. I’m glad that you have reached out for help, and I am hoping to give you some guidance around how to control your emotions. I hear you when you say you have been triggered by everything lately. I am wondering about what has led to feelings of loneliness and giving more to people than you receive and what has led you to this place in your life. I’m wondering if you have a support group and how do you cope with the feelings of loneliness? Have you explored online groups, connecting with other friends or family members, engaging in your interests or hobbies? I believe the first step in controlling your emotions is being able to identify what your triggers so that you can work on having a strategy to deal with your emotions. A trigger is a stimulus—such as a person, place, situation, or thing, scents, memories/flashbacks, which can all appear without warning —that contributes to an unwanted emotional or behavioral response. You then begin to experience the anger, sadness, and other emotions very intensely that you have mentioned. I will give you some tips and coping strategies that I hope you will find helpful. I would encourage to set healthy boundaries with your friends if you are feeling as though you give more than you receive. Below is some information around setting Healthy Boundaries with your friends.   Tips for Dealing with Triggers Oftentimes, the best way to deal with a trigger is to avoid it. This might mean making changes to your lifestyle, relationships, or daily routine. Create a strategy to deal with your triggers head on, just in case. Your strategy might include coping skills, a list of trusted people you can talk to, or rehearsed phrases to help you get out of a troublesome situation. Don't wait until the heat of the moment to test your coping strategy. Practice Coping Skills for Anger Top of Form Be Aware of Triggers Anger triggers are the things that set you off. Knowing your triggers, and being cautious around them, will reduce the likelihood of your anger getting out of control. How to use triggers to your advantage: ·         Create a list of your triggers and review them daily. Reviewing your triggers will keep them fresh in your mind, increasing the likelihood you notice them before they become a problem. ·         Oftentimes, the best way to deal with a trigger is to avoid it. This might mean making changes to your lifestyle, relationships, or daily routine. ·         Because it isn't always possible to avoid triggers, have a plan when you must face them. For example, avoid touchy conversations when you are tired, hungry, or upset. Practice Deep Breathing Deep breathing is a simple technique that's excellent for managing emotions. Not only is deep breathing effective, it's also discreet and easy to use at any time or place. Sit comfortably and place one hand on your abdomen. Breath in through your nose, deeply enough that the hand on your abdomen rises. Hold the air in your lungs, and then exhale slowly through your mouth, with your lips puckered as if you are blowing through a straw. The secret is to go slow: Time the inhalation (4s), pause (4s), and exhalation (6s). Practice for 3 to 5 minutes. Keep an Anger Log Following an episode of anger, take a few moments to record your experience. This practice will help you identify patterns, warning signs, and triggers, while also helping you organize thoughts and work through problems. ·         What was happening before the anger episode? Describe how you were feeling, and what was on your mind. Were you hungry, tired, or stressed? ·         Describe the facts of what happened. What events triggered your anger? How did you react, and did your reaction change as the event continued to unfold? ·         What were your thoughts and feelings during the anger episode? Looking back, do you see anything differently than when you were in the heat of the moment? Use Diversions The goal of diversions is to buy yourself time. If you can distract yourself for just 30 minutes, you'll have a better chance of dealing with your anger in a healthy way. Remember, you can always return to the source of your anger later—you're just setting the problem aside for now. go for a walk                         do yard work read a book                         draw or paint play a sport                          do a craft listen to music                     cook or bake play a game                           go for a bicycle ride  watch a movie                       write or journal take a long bath                    play an instrument  practice a hobby                   call a friend lift weights                             go swimming  go for a run                            go for a hike in nature take photographs                  play with a pet clean or organize                   rearrange a room   Take a Time-out Time-outs are a powerful tool for relationships where anger-fueled disagreements are causing problems. When someone calls a time-out, both individuals agree to walk away from the problem, and return once you have both had an opportunity to cool down. How to use time-outs effectively ·         With your partner, plan exactly how time-outs will work. Everyone should understand the rationale behind time-outs (an opportunity to cool down—not to avoid a problem). ·         What will you both do during time-outs? Plan activities that are in different rooms or different places. The list of diversions from above is a good place to begin. ·         Plan to return to the problem in 30 minutes to an hour. Important problems shouldn't be ignored forever, but nothing good will come from an explosive argument. Know Your Warning Signs Anger warning signs are the clues your body gives you that your anger is starting to grow. When you learn to spot your warning signs, you can begin to address your anger while it's still weak. Sweating                                     pacing Aggressive body language        feels sick to stomach  can't get past problem               go quiet/” shut down  feel hot / turn red                      clenched fists  headaches                                   becoming argumentative raised voice                                 using verbal insults headaches   Personal boundaries are the limits and rules we set for ourselves within relationships. A person with healthy boundaries can say "no" to others when they want to, but they are also comfortable opening themselves up to intimacy and close relationships. Know your limits.Before becoming involved in a situation, know what's acceptable to you, and what isn't. It's best to be as specific as possible, or you might be pulled into the trap of giving just a little bit more, over and over, until you've given far too much. Know your values.Every person's limits are different, and they're often determined by their personal values. For example, if you value family above all else, this might lead to stricter limits on how late you will stay at work, away from family. Know what's most important to you, and protect it. Listen to your emotions.If you notice feelings of discomfort or resentment, don't bury them. Try to understand what your feelings are telling you. Resentment, for example, can often be traced to feelings of being taken advantage of. Have self-respect.If you always give in to others, ask if you are showing as much respect to yourself as you show to others. Boundaries that are too open might be due to misguided attempts to be liked by elevating other people's needs above one's own. Have respect for others.Be sure that your actions are not self-serving, at the expense of others. Interactions should not be about winning, or taking as much as possible. Instead, consider what's fair to everyone, given the setting and relationship. You might "win", but at the cost of a relationship's long-term health. Be assertive.When you know it's time to set a boundary, don't be shy. Say "no" respectfully, but without ambiguity. If you can make a compromise while respecting your own boundaries, try it. This is a good way to soften the "no", while showing respect to everyone involved. Consider the long view.Some days you will give more than you take, and other days you will take more than you give. Be willing to take a longer view of relationships, when appropriate. But if you're always the one who's giving or taking, there might be a problem I hope that you have found this information helpful. Thank you, Dr. Jacinta Brown-Wade  
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I stay calm and look for a solution to a problem instead of getting angry and frustrated?

It’s easy to lose one’s cool, especially if this is what was modeled for you as a child.  From your mother, you learned that when angry, it’s either okay or natural to “flip your lid.”  Despite this becoming a pattern for you, there are ways to change it.  It is all too common in our society to not express our emotions; and we learn early on that it is “not okay” to be angry – girls are taught that they are to suppress their anger & for boys, they are to physically release or act it out.  Both are unhealthy and can be “toxic” as you say.  I think it is admirable that you are seeking assistance with this.  The earlier, the better; and with the help of mental health professional you trust, you can learn to rewire your brain, so to speak.   Across different reputable sources, such as the Mayo Clinic and Psychology Today, there are consistent tips that are recommended.  You would likely hear these in any individual therapy or group anger management course you decide to take.  I have listed a few below to better assist you.  And if you feel you are ready to do more, and want to begin counseling, I and many other BetterHelp providers would be happy to further assist you.   1.     Think Before You Speak In the heat of the moment, it is s easy to say something you might regreat later.  So take a "time out."  A few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything can go a long way.  And it can take a good 25-45 minutes to calm down when triggered, so it’s okay to take a break before you do!   2.     Once you're calm, express your anger Emotions need to be voiced, including anger.  You would to do so in a non-threatening, assertive manner.  Practice stating your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.  Use I Statements, such as “I get upset when I see that you don’t offer to help was the dishes” rather than “You never…” and then try to problem solve together.   3.     Exercise Physical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become anger, and release some needed endorphins.  It’s a good idea to do so on a regular basis, and you can also do so in the moment when you feel yourself becoming upset (i.e. go for a walk, a brisk run to cool off, etc.).   4.     Don't hold a grudge Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to dominate positive ones, you may find yourself being “stuck” in bitterness.  On the other hand, when you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation and strengthen your relationship.   5.     Practice relaxation skills This and daily self-care are so key! Try such calming & meditative exercises as: deep-breathing, imagery (of a relaxing scene), or repeat a calming word or mantra you create for yourself such as “I can stay calm.”  Journaling thoughts and feelings can also be useful.  And don’t forget to laugh!  Having a sense of humor and being able to look on the bright side can go a long way in achieving a sense of peace and happiness.    All of this takes time, so try not to be frustrated.  Do what you can and start by making small changes.  And again, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help if needed.
(LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

What can I do to help with anger?

Thank you for reaching out. Many people struggle with anger and lack the necessary healthy coping skills for addressing these unwanted emotions and the consequences that often follow. When you feel like you are losing control, remember there is always one thing you can control, your respiratory system. Take a minute to just breathe. Count your breaths: four seconds inhaling, four seconds holding your breath, and four seconds exhaling. Really keep track of time, or you might cheat yourself! The counting helps take your mind off the situation as well. Breathing is just one example of a coping skill. For instance, imagery can also be an affected tool in managing anger and other undesired emotions. Imagine a relaxing experience. What do you see, smell, hear, feel, and taste? Maybe you are on vacation, laying on the beach, feeling the sun on your face, the faint salty scent of the ocean. Spend a few minutes imagining every detail of your relaxing scene. Be sure to choose what works best for you. Word of advice: Don't wait until the heat of the moment to test your coping strategy, practice!   It is also important to think about the things that make you angry, your ‘triggers’, such as a person, place, situation, or thing. Just about anything can be a trigger. I recommend planning for when you start feeling some of those physical, behavioral, or emotional cues. Think about some of the positive coping skills just suggested. Write down a plan that includes ways you can prevent anger and ways to manage it in a healthy way when you start noticing those cues. Oftentimes, the best way to deal with a trigger is to avoid it. This might mean making changes to your lifestyle, relationships, or daily routine. Create a strategy to deal with your triggers head-on, just in case. Your strategy might include coping skills, a list of trusted people you can talk to, or rehearsed phrases to help you get out of a volatile situation. Once you've calmed down, express your frustration. Try to be assertive, but not confrontational. Expressing your anger will help avoid the same problems in the future.   I hope you found this information helpful. Please reach out if you need anything else.  
(LCPC, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How many times do you meet a week and how long well the course take.

Hello! Thank you for taking the time to inquire about the therapeutic process.  The frequency and duration of sessions is determined on a case by case basis after initial session and a collaborative discussion between therapist and member. Generally speaking, most members like to start at once a week which is usually appropriate at the outpatient level of care or for teletherapy. General anger management skills can often be explored and learned in within 4-6 weeks. Additionally, I always think it's best to allow an additional 4 weeks for members to strengthen and generalize their skills beyond the initial issues at hand. While everyone experiences and expresses anger in different ways, it can be helpful to self-assess how you experience and express anger, how it affects others, and if it interferes with your functioning (work, home, school, social functions, etc). It can be helpful to consider the following to gain better understanding about your anger and determine if you would benefit from learning anger management skills in therapy: - Ask yourself if you are happy with how you manage your anger. A good way to look at this is to consider how you feel if someone close to you expressed anger the same way? - Consider if there are any negative consequences that you (or others) experience as a result of your anger expression. Does your anger hurt you or make things more difficult for you? Does your anger hurt your relationships? - Identify if there are better ways that you could and would like to express your anger. Are your coping strategies healthy and beneficial or potentially damaging to your wellbeing? - Understand your level of control as it relates to your anger. Can you control the intensity or do you feel like your anger is uncontrollable? -  Consider your triggers and responses to determine if they are balanced. Does the intensity of your anger match the severity of the trigger or do you find yourself getting really angry over small things? Are you easily angered or finding that you become angry very often?   After you have explored these questions for yourself, determine if you would like to change anything about how you experience and express your anger. Therapy is most effective when you are fully open to and committed to the change.   
(MA, LCMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

I abhor Western culture and it's corrosive effects in Asia. What do I do?

Dear Purple,   Thank you for your message and sharing with me your struggles with anger.   Anger is a response we have when we don't feel understood, don't feel listened to, don't feel respected. At first we might just feel disappointed or irritated, however it escalates often when others add fuel into it by saying words that are hurtful, misunderstanding and dismissive. We then become even angrier and at last we turn our anger into rage.   To control anger we must understand how anger works within us. Anger is almost like a volcano when it erupts, it releases a large amount of energy and often is destructive. However these energy is often accumulated for a while before it erupts. If we can understand what accumulates these energy with us, and find ways to release it, then we can be assured that our volcano will not erupt.   Anger is the natural emotion created in a fight-or-flight situation by the physiology of your mind and body. When you sense a threat your mind generates fear and anger.  The fear you generate is part of a flight response from your physiology. Anger is the emotional energy you generate for the fight against that perceived threat.    What can be confusing is that your mind creates fear and anger even when the threat is just imagined.   Emotions like anger are natural and real.  Even if the threat is imagined the anger you create is just as real and powerful. However, the reasons you generate anger aren't always real. If you aren't aware of how your mind is imagining scenarios of hurt your anger will appear irrational.   Real vs. Imagined Anger   It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish a real threat from an imagined threat because they can happen at the same time.  For example, someone is cutting you off on the freeway and a car briefly maneuvers in a way that could cause an accident and possibly injure your body.  There's a natural fight-or-flight reaction to your emotions and you create a combination of fear and anger. The reality of this harm usually passes very quickly and so do your emotions.   However, your imagination may take over and create worse scenarios.  You begin to consider that you or someone in your car might be hurt or killed. You might recall similar events from your past, project those into your mind, and add more emotion.  After the real physical threat passes your mind still projects scenarios in the imagination. Your emotions then respond to those imagined scenarios.   Even later that day when you replay the event in your mind, your emotions respond to the imagined version. The emotions you create from your imagined scenarios are no longer based in anything real.  Because of the natural response of emotions to what you imagine you can amplify fear and anger to the degree that they become out of control. However the fear and anger are natural consequence of the imagined scenarios. The problem is that the imagined scenarios in the mind are out of control and no longer based in reality.   Awareness   If you are not aware of how your imagination is projecting these scenarios you will blame other people unnecessarily for your emotions.  Understanding how your mind dreams images and scenarios of outcome is critical to understanding your anger and other emotions.   The initial moment of fear and anger resulted from a very real scenario that could have caused you harm.  However, most often the anger and fear people generate are sourced from their uncontrolled beliefs and imagination.   Anger is Rational   Anger is the natural emotional response designed to protect us from danger. It is part of our instinctual system for protection and preservation.  Notice how a dog growls and bares its teeth in response to a threat to its territory.  A mother bear will also go into ferocious anger if you were to come near her cubs.  Anger is a force of energy that we project in order to push away or combat a threat.  However, anger ceases to be a form of protecting your life and becomes a means of destroying your life and relationships when the threat isn't real.   Your emotions respond the same whether a threat is real or part of your imagination. Anger itself is a completely rational emotion to have when you perceive the thoughts and scenarios in your mind. There is nothing irrational or wrong with the anger from imagined scenarios and beliefs. Your emotional response system is working properly. The problem is with the thoughts, beliefs, and scenarios in your mind that generate an anger response.  The scenarios the mind projects are often not rational at all.   Other problems are created when you do not have the awareness and will power to refrain from outbursts of your anger.  These reactions and consequences often distract us from the root cause of the problem.   It's easy to assume that your anger is the problem because it is what you notice.  It is the outbursts of anger that we see and that cause destruction.  The assumptions and interpretations in the mind are less noticeable amidst this emotional drama.  However your emotions of anger are just a natural response to what the mind imagines.  If you perceive and believe what the mind imagines you will create emotions as a natural response.   If you accidentally touch a hot stove and burn your hand you will feel pain.  Naturally you would want to pain to stop, but the pain in your hand isn't the problem.  The pain is just a natural response to touching a hot stove.  The physical touch on the stove is less noticeable, but yet it is the real problem.  Touching the hot stove is the cause of that pain. The pain won't go away until you take your hand away from the hot stove.   The same is true for your emotions such as anger.  You may want to stop your anger, but anger is just a reaction to something else. Anger is the natural emotional reaction to what the mind and imagination are doing.  The way to overcome anger is to change how the mind imagines stories and how much you believe them.  When the mind imagines painful scenarios you naturally produce anger.  To reduce and eliminate the anger it is necessary to shift the stories that the mind imagines.   To effectively reduce or eliminate the anger in our life, we can practice changing the core beliefs, assumptions, and interpretations of the mind.    The Reaction to Emotional Pain   Your mind can generate anger and fear even when there's not a physical threat of pain. Your emotional response mechanism can generate anger just as easily by imagining a scenario involving the threat of emotional pain. When your mind is out of control imagining scenarios of emotional pain, your anger goes out of control. For anger to happen the emotional pain doesn't even have to occur. If you just imagine that you will be hurt in the future, you can become angry before anything has happened.   Understand is the first step towards managing. We can't control what we don't understand.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022