Helping parents get "unstuck" from addictive, unhealthy habits due to emotional hurts and stress and/or generational family dysfunction, so that they can build a strong bond and be THE role models for their children while helping them to be emotionally healthy and set them up for success!
If you believe that screaming and punching a pillow will make you feel less angry, think again. Studies show that venting unpleasant emotions can reinforce those feelings. On the other hand, like Sigmund Freud said, bottling them up is usually even worse.
So, what can you do with your anger and anxiety? Try these tips for processing and expressing difficult feelings.
Preventing Unpleasant Feelings
Take a deep breath. Tension builds up quickly. When another driver cuts you off, pause and pay attention to your breathing. Loosen up your shoulders and neck. Think about something that makes you laugh.
Accept discomfort. Distracted drivers and earthquakes are part of life. Plan for delays and obstacles so they stop taking you by surprise.
Care for yourself. Healthy lifestyle habits make you more resilient. Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Maintain a consistent bedtime that allows for adequate sleep.
Shift your attention. Stop feeding the flames. Catch yourself when you’re dwelling on last night’s argument with your teenage daughter or next month’s water bill. Lighten up by watching YouTube videos or meeting a friend for coffee.
Viewing Unpleasant Feelings Differently
Question your assumptions. It’s difficult to resist blowing off steam if you still believe it will provide relief. Check in with yourself a half-hour later to see if your anger is gone. Read studies about how road rage can affect your heart.
Set priorities. It’s worth fighting injustice if your child is being bullied at school. If another shopper wants to count four cans of cat food as one item, it makes more sense to be flexible.
Assume responsibility. Indignation is less tempting when you face how you contributed to the situation. Did you criticize your daughter about her grades when you meant to discuss cleaning up her bedroom?
Focus on solutions. Unpleasant feelings can be beneficial when they prompt you to take action. Acknowledge your anger, and then concentrate on fixing the situation.
Responding to Unpleasant Feelings Differently
Seek validation. Talk with a friend or family member about your concerns. Receiving compassion and support will help you to cheer up and put things in perspective.
Ask for feedback. Confidantes who have nothing at stake in the situation may also help you to clarify your perceptions and understand your options. Talk about how to deal with neighbors who throw noisy parties or keep borrowing your parking spot.
Negotiate conflicts. When possible, approach the other party in a dispute directly. Work out compromises so you and your neighbors can be friends.
Consider counseling. If you’re angry or upset more often than usual, there may be underlying causes that you need to explore. Therapy provides a safe forum for healing and developing new life skills.
Write it out. Maybe a journal would help. Keep track of what is triggering your irritation or sadness. Are you working too much overtime or struggling with single parenting?
Stay offline. You’ve probably read stories about employees who lost their jobs because they thought it was safe to complain about customers or their boss online. Even if you remain anonymous, prolonged griping is likely to leave you feeling more disgruntled.
Create new patterns. The good news is that each time you decide to pursue constructive remedies instead of whining, you train yourself to become more calm and resourceful. Soon you’ll have little desire to vent.
It may feel gratifying to have a meltdown over your property taxes or snap back at a disruptive coworker, but indulging those impulses comes at a high price. Protect your physical health, relationships, and peace of mind by dealing with unpleasant emotions constructively.
As children mature, they’ll experience all kinds of emotions. Like all humans, they’ll also have reactions to those feelings. Because of their natural responses, they’ll find it helpful to learn to manage their emotions as early in life as possible. You can do a lot to help them with this!
These tips can help you teach your kids about their emotions:
Be open and honest about your feelings in your kids’ presence. It’s important for your children to see you as a healthy, active adult who appropriately expresses their feelings.
How you manage your own feelings provides your young child’s first lesson in how to express his feelings.
Modeling is one of the most powerful forms of teaching behaviors to children.
Show respect. Verbally express your feelings in ways that are helpful and that show respect for others. When you and your spouse appropriately talk about your emotions and share them with each other, kids learn how to do it just by observing.
Use “I” statements followed by “feeling” words when you share your emotions in front of your children.
For example, “I feel really annoyed when you play with your friends on the way home from school and get here 30 minutes late.”
Be mindful of your tone of voice. If you use appropriate tones of voice when expressing feelings, your kids will learn to use them as well.For example, instead of raising your voice when you’re upset, make an effort to keep your voice calm.
Identify your young children’s emotions with them. For very young children, two or three years old, it’s beneficial to label and clarify the children’s feelings in their presence. Especially at six years and under, children usually have little understanding of how their emotions function.
For example, if a three-year-old gets angry and stamps his feet because he wants candy, get down to his eye level and say something like, “You’re angry at mommy right now because you can’t have candy.”
Use names of feelings, like angry, mad, sad, happy, pleased, frustrated, and others. You convey a great deal of emotional learning when you teach a child about feelings by using the names of emotions.
Sometimes, you may find it helpful to tell a youngster, “It’s okay if you’re mad.” Giving the child permission to feel and express his feelings can be very validating for them, even if they don’t respond that way at the time.
On the other hand, if a young child gets frustrated or angry and throws a toy that could hurt someone, it’s advisable to state, “No, don’t throw your toys. It’s not okay to throw your toys.” Separate the actions from their emotions and from them as people.
Remember, it’s futile for adults to get frustrated or angry with young children who have a lot to learn about their emotions. Your patience will show them, by modeling, how to keep their cool, even in a frustrating situation.
Reward them. When your child manages their feelings appropriately, providing immediate positive reinforcement makes a big difference in how a child learns to express emotions. Emotional management will often manifest in appropriate behavior.
Smile and say something like, “Billy, I like the way you sat so still in the grocery cart. You did a great job!”
When offering positive comments, state your child’s name and obtain eye contact with him. This will help reinforce the positive behavior.
As a parent, one of the most important lessons you’ll ever teach your children is how to identify and appropriately express their feelings. Apply the tips above to help ensure that your children grow into mature, healthy adults.
What are some ways do you teach your children about feelings? How do you express your own?
We all get angry. Anger occurs when someone behaves in a way that violates our ‘rules’ or standards. While anger is neither good nor bad, what you choose to do with that anger can make a huge difference in your life.
Anger can be a trigger to motivate you to resolve a troubling situation. Getting angry with your spouse can force issues to the surface so you can find a solution. Anger has led to the development of many charitable organizations. Anger isn’t always a bad thing. That extra energy and motivation can be put to good use.
But anger can also lead you to do something that creates an even greater challenge. Anger has the potential to create a tremendous amount of harm.
Learning new, more constructive ways to deal with your anger can improve your life tremendously.
The best way to handle your anger depends on how you deal with it now:
If you suppress anger, try to recognize when you’re suppressing angry feelings. Burying your anger can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, and passive-aggressive behavior.
Venting your anger in private can help you feel a sense of control without harming anyone else. This should be considered a temporary solution, since you’re not addressing the situation that fueled your anger. You’re just defusing your anger so you don’t magnify the situation.
The most important skill to develop is assertiveness. It’s challenging to express your feelings if that isn’t normal for you. Learn to let others know in a constructive way when they’ve upset you. Start with smaller things, and the bigger things will become easier.
If you dump your anger aggressively, challenge your unrealistic thinking. Aggressive behavior is commonly fueled by unrealistic expectations. People aren’t going to treat you fairly 100% of the time.
Your children aren’t going to listen to you 100% of the time. Your spouse won’t always give you the attention you desire. Accept it and realize that you’re making assumptions when you have unrealistic expectations. The behavior of others isn’t always about you.
Replace your unreasonable expectations with different thoughts. Seek alternate explanations for someone’s actions when you find yourself becoming angry. What are some other possible reasons for the situation at hand?
Learn to pause and think before you act. If you’re a dumper, you’re probably like a bull in a china shop, wreaking havoc without any thought about what you’re doing. Count to ten, take a deep breath, and then speak carefully. There is nothing stronger than maintaining control over yourself.
You can often prevent situations that make you angry. Do what you can to avoid issues before they get started. If there are people, places, or situations that seem to trigger angry feelings, attempt to minimize your exposure to those triggers.
Dealing with anger is a part of life.
Just because you might have learned unhealthy ways of dealing with your feelings of anger doesn’t preclude the possibility of learning new strategies.
If you’ve expressed your anger physically in the past, it would probably be a good idea to get professional help. You certainly don’t want someone to get hurt because you couldn’t control your anger. Consider what could happen to you, too.
Practice these strategies, get the help you need, and move forward with your life. You’ll be glad you did.
What triggers your anger and how do you deal with it? Please comment below.