We've become a nation of angry birds, with one in four of us falling into the temper trap. Mike Fisher, founder of the British Association of Anger Management, tells us how to keep your cool when the red mist descends
Does life often leave you feeling a bit, well… ‘JUST F@** OFF!’? You could be part of a growing group of women – one in four of us, to be precise – with rage issues.
Research by PruHealth found that nearly half of us admit to snapping at colleagues, 28 per cent to shouting at people at work, and one in four to slamming down phones, banging fists on desks and even throwing things across the office. Umm, hello P45! And it’s women who make up 60% of the courses run by the British Association of Anger Management (BAAM).
But before you get the sack for throwing a hissy fit, follow the advice of Mike Fisher, founder of BAAM, and try to keep a lid on it:
1. RECOGNISE THE SIGNS
Heavier, shallow breathing, shakiness in your voice, knees and hands, and an increased heart rate.
2. FIND A MENTAL QUIET SPOT
Close your eyes and visualise somewhere you feel totally at peace – a beauty spot on a recent holiday or a place at home where you can relax.
3. REMEMBER YOU HAVE CHOICES
If you can move away from the situation or change your experience of it, do so – for example, if someone is playing loud music on the train, put your earphones in.
4. WRITE IT DOWN
Keep a journal detailing events that make you angry. It not only helps you to solve problems without arguments, it can also reveal patterns and things you might need to change about yourself.
5. PRACTISE THE FLOW PROCESS:
Focus: breathe deeply into your belly – each inhalation should last seven seconds, each exhalation 11 seconds – to prevent hyperventilating.
Listen: make an effort to fully understand the situation around you, or what the other person is feeling, so you can empathise.
Objectivity: stop, think, look at the bigger picture and ask yourself if you’re taking the situation too personally.
Wait: in the heat of the moment it’s vital to contain your feelings before you respond with aggression. As you wait, ask yourself: will this still matter in 20 minutes’ time?
For more information on how to manage anger, visit BAAM