The STOP Action Plan is a really effective way of controlling your anger and expressing your needs. However, it’s better to prevent anger than to have to control it. Therefore, in what follows I will provide you with tips about how to prevent and reduce your Anger and Frustration.
Tips to reduce your Anger and Frustration
You can see your Anger and Frustration as water in a glass. Your glass can be filled up till a certain amount, until it will finally overflow. This is when we get angry.
Your glass gets filled up by everything that causes us to be stressed or frustrated.You could see these as faucets. Some people have more faucets than others and are therefore more likely to become angry. In the following tips I’ll explain how to close some of these faucets.
Tips to close some faucets:
- Learn what your triggers are. Try to find out which things make you angry. When you recognise the situations you usually get angry in, you can stop yourself in time and carry out the STOP Action Plan. Also, you can avoid the situation getting out of hand. For example, if you notice you’re more likely to get angry at night because you’re tired, try to avoid discussions about important topics at night. Ask yourself the following questions:
- When did I become angry? What happened? What did you think and feel in that moment? What did you do? What happened afterwards?
- Change your expectations of others. Try not to expect others to act or behave in a certain way. We are not perfect, nor are others. It is important to think that other people cannot always meet our expectations. Just because they don’t do things the exact same way we would, or they react in a different way, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong. They might have learned things another way and to them their behavior is logical or useful.
- Imagine someone would all of a sudden tell you to change the way to drive your car, or to cook your signature dish. You would probably tell them to get lost. That’s why we can’t expect others to do things the same way as we do. It can help to think that the other one is doing their best and that you’re not here to change the other.
- Practice Empathy. When there’s someone you get angry with frequently, try to emphasize with him/her. Put yourself in her/his shoes and try to think why this person is acting this way. Did something happen to him/her today or in the past? Try to think about as many alternatives as you can. Not only will you win time before getting angry, you will also reduce your anger by understanding the other person better. You don’t have to agree with the other person, the goal is to understand them.
- Focus on the solution. Sometimes we get so angry that we forget to focus on a solution. Think about what you would like to see different. Ask yourself if this is possible and how. Then, think about how you could come to this solution, and implement the first step if you can. This will probably make you feel more capable and more proud of yourself.
Tips to make some holes in the glass:
- Practice relaxation as an antidote. Practicing relaxation can help both to reduce your anger in general as in specific situations. Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Abdominal (or Diaphragmatic) Breathing are effective techniques in reducing anger. Also, a warm bath or shower, or singing a song you like, can help to reduce feelings of anger.
- Exercise to reduce stress. Exercise can help to tire the body and reduce stress. When we’re less stressed we’re less likely to act out on our anger or frustration. Also, exercise is a great mood booster so it will help you to feel better in general. Good exercising activities to reduce anger and frustration include running, cycling, swimming, dancing, and skating.
- Keep a positive diary. If you are someone who get’s frustrated easily it’s possible that you focus on negative events, or that you have a negative view about yourself. Try to keep a diary of your accomplishments to change your focus on more positive events. Write down a minimum of 3 positive things about yourself or what you did every day.
- You can write down small things like: “I managed to make that difficult phone call” or “even though the bus arrived late I could stay calm and focus on something else”, as well as big accomplishments like: “I told my friend that it bothered me that she usually arrives late without becoming rude to her” or “I managed to finish this important document at work”. If you keep it up you’ll notice that you’re able to interpret things in a more positive way.
- Spend time with supportive people. Usually Anger or Frustration is not only the result of a specific situation, but also of a build-up of various frustrating events and stress. We therefore need ways of emptying our glass. What can really help is to share our frustrations with people who are supportive. In Dutch there is a saying that says: “Shared misery is half the misery”. Talking to someone else cannot only help you to feel better but also to gain a different perspective on things.
By closing some faucets and making some holes in the glass you’ll get a better grip on your Anger. Also, try to think about things that helped you in the past.
I know that dealing with Anger can be difficult and hope you found this tips helpful. If you liked this article please share it :)!