Want to get a handle on angry outbursts? One of the hardest parts of dealing with anger is building up the ability to pause before we react to a situation. Many people have told me they read lots of great advice on parenting, but they can’t apply it in the moment. They don’t know how to pause before they snap – yelling, fuming, anger boiling over.
Today’s download is the first step in building that ability to pause before you react. Whether the anger outbursts are yours or your kids, learning anger signals is the first step to creating the mindfulness you need to deal more positively with anger.
Like many of you, I didn’t even know I had a temper before I had kids. I thought I was just a calm person.
Ha! I say. Hahahaha.
At that point in time I was a person who dealt with anger by either: A) Trying to pretend it didn’t exist (and thus becoming passive aggressive, sarcastic or resentful). Or B) Trying to people please and ignore my own needs and wishes (and thus becoming resentful again, exhausted and discouraged).
I’ve always had anger, I just felt like it wasn’t allowed or acceptable. It was a scary emotion I didn’t know how to handle, so I found ways to deny it.
As you can imagine, since I was coming from this place of denying my anger, I was completely unprepared for the waves of anger that came my way when I got irritated with my kids. Sometimes it felt like my anger came out of nowhere. I would be going along, thinking I could handle it, I could manage and then BAMM!!! I was screaming angry mom. Totally snapped.
That only changed when I began taking it seriously to learn my anger triggers and my anger signals. Anger triggers are the things externally (noise, temperature, sensation) and internally (beliefs, concerns, stress) that trigger you to get angry. Anger signals are the thoughts and sensations in your body and brain that indicate you are going from warm, to simmer to a roiling spitting boil. If you can catch yourself during the simmer, or even better, in the getting-warm phase, you have more time to be proactive and remedy the situation before you boil all over your family.
Becoming more in tune with my anger signals, for instance is how I noticed myself planning a rant, and even better, realized I could stop myself from unleashing that rant because I was aware earlier of the toxic thoughts brewing in my mind. If we can notice our signals earlier, before our brain is hijacked by a flood of emotion, we have more time to deal with our anger in a proactive manner.
Fill it out – with your kids too if you like. Scribble, color, write on it – delve into what your personal anger signals are. If you’d like to see my anger signals sheet you can watch my short Periscope video on Anger Signals here.
For the month of July I am broadcasting on Periscope on Wednesday mornings about anger triggers. Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts! I’d love to talk more! You can leave a comment here or email me.
Find more of my resources on dealing with anger here.
Alissa Zorn is an author, and founder of the website Overthought This. She's a coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa is certified through the International Coach Federation and got her Trauma-Informed Coaching certification from Moving the Human Spirit. She wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection, Not Perfection, and is always following curiosity to find her next creative endeavor.