For many of us its not so much that are expectations of the holidays are too high, no, in fact it’s the utter dread of having to deal with certain strained relationships and how to “just get through the holidays without an argument” In all of these circumstances its important to realize that stressors are elevated during holiday times. In anger management one of the key elements is learning to identify ones stressors or “triggers” so as to effectively be able to control anger and avoid confrontational situations. It’s extremely important to realize this fact that holidays present an increased challenge for controlling anger and ultimately allow for a more pleasurable and increased enjoyment of the time period. The following are just some recommended tips to make the recognition of potential anger triggers easier and ways to enrich the holiday experience with friends and loved ones.
- Learn to identify your trigger early: Anger, as an emotion, causes several physical changes by its very nature. Our muscles will tighten up, our voice will tend to get louder we start to become erratic in our thinking.
- Try and be pro-active to reduce potential life stressors. The holiday time period is notorious for causing us to become time compressed with increased tasks. But rather than being “reactive”, try and be pro-active and attempt to find ways to get ahead of tasks. It might mean maybe shopping earlier, or asking other family members for help getting things done, or even making a list and prioritizing tasks to help in getting to all of them.
- Try and change your perspective of the stress. If you think about it the only real reason that a stress is affecting us is our perception of how it is affecting our lives (a perfect example is when a driver cuts us off while driving and our perceived stress is one of being affronted at the drivers rudeness as opposed to maybe considering maybe the driver has an important appointment and is unsafely rushing or might be tired and not really concentrating on the task of driving.
- Stress guard your life: This means realizing that holiday times present increased opportunities for stress to wear on our bodies. In order to be effective in countering this we need to make sure we are up to the challenge by ensuring our bodies are fit. This means getting plenty of sleep. Take time to get in some exercise to work off those feelings of stress. Eating properly (which can be a challenge during the holidays but also can be done if one takes the time to focus on it) is important as well as staying well hydrated with water. Lastly, it’s paramount to watch ones consumption of alcohol. As a depressant, alcohol works contrary to the goal of reducing stress. It also reduces inhibitions and your ability to prevent anger reactions.
Until Next Time, Remember ...
Don't Let Your Anger Manage You!
Rick Bauer, C.A.R.T.
Certified Anger Resolution Therapist