Many of us have different ways of coping with stress, or of relaxing while some of us have none. Thus, the latter group is often found to be buckling under stress which manifests itself in various forms like irritation, restlessness, anxiety and hypertension. Following is a methodology of Deep Muscle Relaxation which could perhaps mark the beginning for those who have not yet actively taken any steps to reduce stress. Select a relatively quiet place. Loosen your clothing and remove your shoes and if necessary spectacles. Lie down on your back, legs slightly apart and palms facing upwards. Gently close your eyes. Take a deep breath, counting up to 5 and breath our slowly, again counting up to 5. Repeat this for at least 4–5 times. Start suggesting relaxation to yourself by using words like “Relax” and “Let go”, whichever works for you. Now try to concentrate on what you are doing, so that you can feel the difference between tension and relaxation.
Begin from your toes and move upwards, right up to your head. Concentrate on each part of your body separately and step by step. Clench or tighten the muscles of that area and feel the tension. Then gradually relax the muscle. Continue taking deep breaths and being relaxed. Feel the relaxation totally, before moving on to another area of your body. Don’t be in a rush. Do the exercise gradually and feel the tension leaving your body, as calmness fills you within.
- “I hate it when both my kids disobey!”.
- “They refuse to behave themselves in the market”.
- “The boss always favors my colleague”.
- “My mother can never be pleased!”.
To manage anger, one needs to understand some points:
- While women find it relatively ease to identify fear, they have a tough time identifying their anger. Men seem to have the opposite problem.
- It is untrue that anger is a feeling that builds up inside and needs to be released. Feelings are not stored in the store room of our mind, they are the result of thoughts. If you are happy it is because you are thinking happy thoughts, sad thoughts lead to sad feelings. And if angry thoughts increase in frequency and intensity, angry feeling will follow close behind.
- Losing control of angry feeling is understandable. The idea is to get them under control as soon as possible and then introspect as to why one became angry in the first place.
- Anger can become addictive: the angrier one is stronger the angry thoughts. Thus anger begets anger.
To do this, one must:
- Contain anger
- Do a bit of self–analysis
- Communicate the feeling without condemning
- Anger cannot be termed good or bad, it is a neurological event, signifying that your thoughts are arousing you. One can follow the following steps to manage anger:
- Reduce emotional outbursts associated with anger to the minimum possible. If you start raising your voice, stop yourself as soon as possible. If the situation gets too overwhelming, remove yourself from the situation for a while, if possible.
- Find a quiet place and pace. Count slowly upto 100 as you pace about.
- After you finish counting, stop pacing and take a few deep breaths. Keep a peaceful image of a beach/river/mountains in your mind as you breath deeply.
- After about 2–3 minutes your anger would be under control, you can return to the situation and tell the person that you are angry and explain why.
- If your anger has not subsided by now, you are then feeding it by ruminating on thoughts like. “How dare…”, “she/he had no right to treat me so…” etc. You can say these thoughts aloud and gradually change them to “Everyone is human all of us make mistakes”, I’m sure she/he had a reason for treating me so, we can always discuss it”. Once your anger is contained, you can return to the situation.
- Once you have contained anger and communicated the same, implement the problem–solving steps to evaluate your conflict and reach a compromise.
Let us have a fresh look at the steps and apply them to all the spheres of your lives:
- Clearly define the problem to the last detail.
- Generate possible solutions, enlist all possible solutions without evaluating them. The idea is that the quantity of solutions will increase the quality of the one solution you finally select.
- Generate and project the outcome or consequences of each possible solution. During this step, one can select an alternative which is most realistic for the person.
- Implement the selected alternative.
- Review the outcome of the step.
So keep working at accepting yourself, solving problems rationally and minimizing the adverse effects of anger.