Category Archives: Anger

Anger Management For Michigan Parents With ODD Children

anger management tips

The day-to-day struggles of having a child with oppositional defiant disorder can wear down on a person over time. Even the strongest parents have their breaking points, and it’s real easy to lash out at a child who doesn’t seem to understand or respect your authority. Having an outburst as a parent only makes the child’s ODD behaviors worse, and it does nothing to solve the problem at hand. Let’s take a look at some anger management tips for parents of ODD children that you can use to calm your nerves during an argument.

Identify Your Own Escalation

In a previous parenting guide, we discussed the importance of de-escalating ODD behaviors. As important as it is for you to know when your child’s anger is starting to escalate, it’s also important for you to notice when you personally are starting to escalate. Does your heart start beating quickly? Do you feel your ears getting hot? Do you ball up your fists? The physical signs alone may be enough for you to realize that your emotions are getting out of your hand.

Find Calming Strategies That Work For You

Once you recognize your own escalation, you can work on ways to calm yourself down. What works for you may not work for other parents in Michigan. Here are some different techniques you can try:

  • Count backwards before you say what you’re thinking. This refocuses your mind and also gives you a chance to collect your thoughts. Some parents only need to count from 10 to 1, and others need to count back from 50, 100, or more. Use whatever time you need to gather your thoughts before speaking to your child.
  • Practice deep breathing – in through your nose and out through your mouth. Deep breathing will slow your heart rate down and relax your body as a whole. Inhale slowly for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 2 seconds, and then exhale for 4 seconds. Repeat several times over until you feel yourself getting calmer.
  • Close your eyes. Give your brain a moment to take a break from the situation at hand. Focus on absolutely nothing – just the blackness around you. Your child may soon recognize this as a sign that you are getting upset, which could help to de-escalate the argument as a whole.
  • Use long-term relaxation strategies, like meditation, yoga, walking, individual counseling, etc. Talk to a therapist about your experience to find out other ways to keep calm in the moment and as a whole.

Minimize Stress In Other Areas Of Your Life

Stress can quickly shorten your fuse. If you’re worn out from work, bills, family conflicts and the like, you are more at-risk of lashing out in an argument with your child. Remove yourself from stressful situations, even if that means cutting ties with someone in your life. You need to focus on doing what’s best for you so you can be better prepared to handle your child’s emotional fluctuations.

Take Care Of Your Personal Health

Parenting a child with ODD takes a lot of energy. Eating a well-balanced diet and sleeping at least 6 hours a night will help you maintain your energy levels and personal health. When you feel better, you’re better prepared to take on stressful situations, like an outburst from your child. Your hygiene also has an impact on the way you feel, so make sure you take the time to shower, brush your teeth, wash your hair, etc.

Choose Your Battles Wisely

As with most relationships, not every battle is worth having. As difficult as it may be to let some things go, you have to figure out if the outcome of the argument is worth the strain it puts on you and your child. Do a quick cost/benefit analysis, where you assess the pros and cons of the fight you’re going to have with your child. If it’s something small like your child rolling his eyes or being in a bad mood, you may let it slide from time to time to save your energy for bigger fights that may come later on.

Get A Good Support System

You don’t have to go through this struggle alone. Having a strong support system will give you even more strength to deal with the difficulties that come with ODD children. Family members and friends are the foundation of most support systems, but you could also seek support from people at church, your family counselor, or other parents who have children with ODD. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed in the moment, call on someone from your support system and talk about what you’re going through.

In addition to surrounding yourself with good people for support, you need to be select about who you share your parenting experiences with. Not everyone understands oppositional defiant disorder, which means that some people may judge your parenting techniques or your child’s behavior because they don’t realize what’s actually going on at home. If you have a few family members who constantly tell you that you are a bad parent or that you have a bad child, they don’t need to be a part of your go-to support system.

Apologize When You’re In The Wrong

Some parents are afraid to apologize to their children even if they’re in the wrong. The idea here is that apologizing gives the child control of the situation, which will make them more disrespectful. In all actuality, the opposite happens. Apologizing when you say or do something wrong shows your child the value of a good apology, and it indicates that you respect your child just as much as you expect him or her to respect you. Be willing to admit your faults when they come up, and your child will be much better off for it.

Use the tips above and others that you get from your child counselor to manage your anger during an ODD outburst.

Relaxing Activities For Anger Management In Metro Detroit

anger management

Anger management therapy is designed to help people understand and control their emotions. Surrounding yourself with a calm, relaxing environment is a great way to keep anger triggers at bay. There are a number of relaxing activities in Metro Detroit that can get you out of the house and still help you manage your anger. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind.

Visit An Art Museum

Visit one of Detroit’s great art museums, like the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum or the Museum of Contemporary Art. If you are trying to avoid crowds, you could contact the venue ahead of time to find out if there are any school groups or tours going on during the time you plan to visit. While science museums have a tendency to be loud and full of activity, art museums usually draw in a quieter crowd. You can observe great work from a wide range of artists free of noise and stress.

Take A Stroll On The Detroit RiverWalk

The Detroit RiverWalk is a 3.5 mile walking trail right along the Detroit River. It provides awesome views of the city skyline and the river itself, and there is free parking nearby. You can choose to walk or ride your bike on the trail at almost any time throughout the year. This is a great alternative to running on a treadmill at the gym because it allows you to get out and see the beautiful city you’re living in, all while relaxing away your anger.

Tour The Detroit Historical Museum

Want to learn more about the history of Metro Detroit? There’s a whole museum reserved just for that. You can see permanent exhibits like “America’s Motor City” and “Streets of Old Detroit,” or you could tour some of the changing exhibits that come through the museum every few months. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in Detroit or how long you plan to stay – this is a fantastic opportunity to learn about America’s history just as much as it is for Detroit’s history.

See A Play Or Musical

The Detroit Opera House and Fisher Theatre are just some of the numerous places in Detroit where you can see a play a musical. The productions in these performance halls change regularly, so there is always something new to see and enjoy. This is a great alternative to movie theaters, which tend to be crowded and overrun with noise. Theaters are much more calming, and they often cost just as much to attend as a modern movie theater.

Attend A Concert For The Detroit Symphony Orchestra

What’s more relaxing than classical music, played beautifully by some of today’s greatest musicians? That’s exactly what you’ll get by attending a concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. If this is not your style of music, you could always research coffee houses nearby that may be featuring local bands or musicians. Some of the today’s top performers came from small beginnings just like that.

Support A Local Charity

Giving back to the community is yet another great way to manage your anger and improve your quality of life at the same time. You can donate your time, money, or personal resources to one of the many charitable organizations in Metro Detroit. Animal rescues, neighborhood sports teams, church youth programs, cancer research centers – the options are endless. Think about a cause you truly care about and find a way to contribute to it. Combine these lessons with the others you learn in your anger management counseling, and you will continue to be a happier, healthier you.

At-Home Anger Management Solutions

anger management

Anger is a natural human emotion we all face at some point in our lives. Some of us have an easier time controlling that anger than others. Whether you experience mild outbursts or complete meltdowns, there are some things you can do to improve your anger management and keep your temper to a minimum. Here are some at-home anger management techniques you can try on your own.

Think About What You Say Before You Say It

When you get angry, you tend to say things you may regret in the future – things you may not even mean at all. Rather than getting caught up in the heat of the moment, you need to take time to think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. If there is a comment that will have negative repercussions, you may reserve that for a time when you are less upset. At the very least, try to collet your thoughts so you can present them in a concise, productive form, instead of a haphazard string of ideas that come across in a negative light.

Give Yourself Time To Calm Down

This concept ties in with the one above. Give yourself a moment to calm down before continuing with the argument or discussion that you are in. If you know you have issues with anger, you may let your spouse know about this cooldown period ahead of time so he or she knows to give you your space when you need it. You don’t necessarily have to leave the room to enjoy quiet time. Just avoid the conversation for a few minutes and wait for your adrenaline levels to drop. After that, you can approach the conversation from a better, more collected point of view.

Schedule Stress Breaks Throughout The Day

If there are times of the day that consistently stress you out, schedule a few five minute breaks in between. For instance, if you work in a store that gets particularly hectic around lunch time, try to excuse yourself to the restroom in the middle of the hype just to clear your head. If you have a meeting with a stressful client once a week, take a break shortly before the meeting so you can clear your head. If you set yourself up with a clear state of mind, you will have a better chance at conquering a difficult situation with grace – not anger.

Express Your Anger In A Clear, Controlled Manner

There is nothing wrong with letting people know you are upset. It’s all a matter of how you approach the situation. Bottling up your emotions will only lead to a bigger blow up later on, so it’s ideal to let your anger out when you feel it come on. However, you need to take time to gather your thoughts so your expression doesn’t come across as violence. Let people know what you are upset about and why you are upset about it so together, you can come up with a solution for the problem.

PRO TIP: Use “I” Statements When Expressing Your Anger

Instead of saying “You never do this” or “You did that,” try phrasing your statements through the use of the word “I”. Example: “I am upset that you did not offer to take out the trash when you filled the bin.” If you consistently point fingers at other people, they may start to resent your statements, which will only further your anger. If you can express yourself in a way that does not directly assign blame on someone else, you can come to a solution faster and easier.

Focus On The Solution, Not The Problem

One of the biggest reasons why people have trouble controlling their anger is because they focus on the reasons why they are angry, not the solutions that could eliminate their frustrations entirely. Try to shift your mind from the problem to the solution. What can you do to make the anger go away? What could be done in the future to avoid this problem in the first place? If you’re stressed out because all of your bills come out at the same time, talk to the service providers about adjusting your billing dates. If you’re angry about your teenage daughter’s messy room, find an organization system that will make it easier for her to keep the space clean. Once you identity a solution for your anger, you can focus your energy on making that plan a reality.

Find Safe Ways To Release Your Energy

Something as simple as a consistent exercise routine could do wonders for your built-up aggression. Finding a way to channel that energy into something productive will go a long way in helping you control your anger from day to day. If you already work out, jog, or walk on a regular basis, consider joining a mixed martial arts class or playing a new sport. The change of pace may be just what you need to feel better throughout the day.

Watch Shows And Movies That Make You Laugh

Humor can be an effective way of relieving anger. Try watching shows or movies that you know will make you laugh when you have free time or when you get home from work. Lightening the mood can help you forget about the stress of the day and process stressful events in a healthier manner. You should also surround yourself with people who make you laugh, or who help you put matters into a clear perspective. Surrounding yourself with a positive support system will greatly improve your anger management therapy as a whole.

Use Relaxation Techniques To Calm Yourself Down

Relaxation techniques are designed to reduce feelings of anger and clear your mind. You could start with deep, heavy breathing – inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. You could also try meditation yoga, listening to peaceful music, or anything else that may reduce the stress and anger you feel building inside of you. Every person has his or her own unique way of relaxing. You just have to figure out what yours is so you can use it as needed.

Seek Professional Help When You Need It

The at-home anger management techniques are effective enough for some people, but others need additional assistance in order to fully get control over their emotions. If you are putting others or yourself in harm because of your anger and rage, you may need professional anger management therapy to help you overcome your inner frustrations. Your counselor or therapist will help you identify the triggers that set off your anger so you can recognize and avoid them as much as possible. He or she will also help you process memories from the past that may be influencing the way you interact with people in the present. Finally, your anger management counselor will come up with creative ways for you to channel your emotions and control your anger so it does not put others at risk. You will ultimately have a better grasp on why you feel the way you do and what you can do to conquer those feelings moving forward.

To find out more about our anger management programs in Michigan, contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers at (248) 244-8644.

 

What’s Hiding Behind Anger?

Why We Get Angry

Everyone is familiar with anger. We’ve all been there. You feel it building. It is slow at first, like a locomotive, then faster, then stronger. Now at full speed, it seems like it cannot be stopped. Like a destructive force, controlled by an out of this world energy, we act, speak, and think in a way that just doesn’t make sense or seems out of character. What was that? Why were we angry? What can we do about it?

What is anger? At its core, anger is simply an emotion. Anger is defined as a strong feeling of displeasure, annoyance, hostility, or antagonism. Anger can be considered a secondary emotion. It is the response to other emotions having been triggered first. Anger is the emotion needed to engage the “fight” in the Fight or Flight Response System. It is a protective force utilized when dealing with a real or perceived threat.

The expression of anger tends to be primarily behavioral. The source of anger tends to be primarily emotional. However, anger can be expressed in both overt and covert ways. Not all who struggle with anger will act out in a visible manner. Not all will have a “quick temper” or be “hot headed” as we have come to label those who display anger. Some may be passive-aggressive. Some may bottle it up and let it build and then explode visibly. Others may turn their anger inward and become withdrawn, isolated, and/or depressed.

Why do we get angry? We get angry about what is happening in the world around us. It is our internal response to external stressors. Common emotions known to trigger anger are anxiety, shame, sadness, fear, frustration, guilt, disappointment, worry, embarrassment, jealousy, and hurt. All of these emotions are experienced as negative and are perceived as threatening to our well-being. Simplifying it and breaking it down to a purely primitive sense, we get angry because we feel a need to protect ourselves. For example, a young boy receives a bad grade in class (environmental stressor) and is feeling disappointed and embarrassed (internal trigger). He knows he will get into trouble at home (perceived threat). Later, when a classmate talks to him (also a perceived threat), he pushes him and yells “leave me alone.” The boy’s disappointment triggered his anger and therefore an angry behavior.

What do we do? Given that anger is displayed in many ways, some of which being aggressive and unsafe behaviors, always assess for safety risks first. If there is a threat to oneself or others– do not engage but call in the proper authorities. If safety cannot be guaranteed, it may be necessary to contact emergency services. Though it’s imperative to address the emotional triggers to truly work through anger, safety must be dealt with first.

Whether there is or isn’t a safety issue, take a break and walk away. No matter the situation or scenario, it’s always best to let cooler heads prevail. Once everyone is calm, you can begin the discussion about emotional triggers and work on validation. It is imperative to validate the emotions driving the behavior. This is where true change is made. It is important to spend time listening and communicating, keeping in mind not to blame or shame those involved. When demonstrating true understanding, it builds trust and respect and can impact the outcomes of future experiences with anger. If the trigger emotions and the associated anger are not validated, then the angry behaviors will not go away. In fact, if one were to focus only on the undesired behavior, it is very likely that the anger and behavior will get worse. Remember, thought behaviors create an observable issue, anger is an emotion. You must deal with the emotions.

Consider this scenario: If a person is punished for crying then they are taught not to cry because it is a punishable offense. Now, they may have stopped crying but the sadness that caused the crying continues. Furthermore, it is likely that their sadness will become worse while they attempt to hide it in order to avoid getting punished. Their emotions and external stressors are likely to become internalized contributing to increased feelings of anxiety and depression.

This is true in anger. If all we do is punish the outburst and offer no way to calm the reason for the anger, the anger is likely to get worse. Once the emotions have been validated and worked through, address the behavioral issues that arose during the episode. Be clear and specific about boundaries and limits. “It’s ok to be angry, but it’s not ok to kick holes in the wall.”   Provide consequences for undesired and inappropriate behaviors, when appropriate. Consequences can be tricky because it could be a trigger to increased anger. If there are any positives that can be taken from the interaction, they should be highlighted. “I saw that you were really angry and I noticed that you didn’t flip the furniture. I really like when you try so hard.”

The experience of anger often is an intense one for all parties involved. It is for this reason we continuously hear the phrase “anger problem.” If you feel that you or someone you love is experiencing anger so frequently and so intensely that it seems out of control, then it may be necessary to talk to a professional. A therapist can help someone struggling with anger to learn to control their anger using behavioral strategies or emotional regulation strategies. Furthermore, through individual and/or group therapy, a therapist can help identify and work to resolve the root emotional causes that contribute to anger.

Though anger is a normal emotion, it can be a dangerous emotion. It is experienced in so many ways for so many reasons. The problem lies in our outward expression, our inability to understand, and our focus on the behaviors. If true resolution is your goal, then you must know what’s hiding behind the anger.

If you or someone you know could use help in working through their anger, a Perspectives of Troy Counselor can help. Call 248-244-8644 to schedule an appointment.

How Hunger Impacts Anger Management

Anger Management And Hunger

Back in 2010, Snickers released a Super Bowl commercial promoting the slogan “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” While that was intended to promote the positive attitude you can get from eating a candy bar, new research shows there may be some merit to that statement after all. Brad Bushman, a professor of Communication and Psychology at Ohio State University, explains how being “hangry” (angry from hunger) is a real possibility.

Understanding this may help you better control your anger by satisfying your hunger pains before they alter your mood.

Why Hunger Makes People Angry

The pre-frontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for self-control. It uses up about 20% of the calories you take in. If there aren’t enough calories available for the pre-frontal cortex to thrive on, you lose your ability to control yourself, at least in part. This could inhibit your anger management therapy and it may hurt relationships with people around you.

Until now, the idea of being “hangry” was more of a societal assumption than anything else. Bushman and a team of researchers from the university conducted a study comparing the reactions of pairs of people drinking lemonade. One set of people drank artificially sweetened lemonade, while their opponents drank lemonade with real sugar. The pairs were asked to push a button to blast a loud noise into their opponents’ ears. Participants drinking the artificially sweetened lemonade created longer, louder noises to impose on their opponents than those who whose sugary needs were “fully satisfied.”

Using Food In Your Anger Management Therapy

Being hungry is no excuse for being mean to others, but Bushman’s research sheds some light as to why you may feel more irritable when your stomach’s growling. To combat the feelings of “hanger”, try to eat snacks throughout the day to keep your stomach full and happy. You do not have to develop a food addiction just to stay pleasant. Keep some nuts or dried fruits in your desk at work to keep your calories up without eating full-blown meals every time. This will boost your energy levels and aid in your anger management at the same time.

Food Won’t Cure Your Anger For Good

If you have difficulty controlling your anger, you will need more than food to get your emotions on track. The anger management therapists at Perspectives Of Troy are here to help you identify the source of your anger and find healthy ways to combat it in the future. With professional counseling and proven treatment options, you can improve your mental health and quality of life moving forward. Contact us today at (248) 244-8644 to schedule an appointment for your anger management treatment.

Can You Be Addicted To Rage?

Can You Be Addicted To Rage

Every human being faces anger triggers in life – events, statements, or memories that cause them to instantly feel upset and aggressive. Some people act out on this instant aggression, while others find ways to cope with and suppress their feelings.Those who choose to succumb to their triggers are often referred to as “rageaholics,” implying that they are in fact addicted to rage.

Is rage addiction possible though? Could you truly get addicted to being angry? In this article, we will take a closer look at the mindset of rageaholics and show how this condition relates to other forms of addiction.

Yes, You Can Be Addicted To Rage

Rage addiction is more common than most people realize. You may even have someone in your life that suffers from it and has never been diagnosed. What may be assumed to be an anger management problem could actually be full blown rage addiction. Without treatment, it will only get worse and distance the sufferer from the people he or she loves most in life.

People with borderline personality disorder or narcissist personality disorder, referred to as “borderlines” and “narcissists,” often become addicted to rage because they are unable to control their sudden mood swings.Victims of abuse, neglect, or severe trauma may also turn into rageaholics over time. Whatever the case may be, the fact is that it is possible to be addicted to rage. If you feel that this may describe your situation, you need to get help right away to take control of your life again.

What Causes Rage Addiction?

Rage controls an area of the brain that changes your body’s central nervous system. Some people can experience a “high” feeling from these changes, similar to what one might feel with drugs or alcohol. As the person begins to use rage as a source of control, the addiction grows and the aggression gets more intense. The rage soon becomes the central emotion in the individual’s life, masking all other feelings of joy, hope, depression, passion, and everything in between.

Signs Of Rage Addiction

If you or someone you know may be addicted to rage, watch for these signs:

  • Verbal, Physical, Or Emotional Abuse Towards Others
  • Excessive Cursing
  • Name Calling
  • Threatening Behavior
  • Pointing And Yelling
  • Sarcasm, Even When It Is Uncalled For
  • Throwing Objects At Others
  • Experiencing Temper Tantrums
  • Bragging About Power And Control
  • Criticizing And Degrading Others With Blunt, Aggressive Comments
  • Road Rage
  • Mixing Anger With Substance Abuse
  • Unpredictable Behavior
  • Denying Anger Outbursts
  • Fantasies Of Revenge

Rageaholics can learn to conquer their aggressive tendencies with counseling and rehabilitation. Contact Perspectives Of Troy today at (248) 244-8644 to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed therapists. Together, we will help you fight the rage and regain peace in your life.

Use Delayed Gratification To Keep Your Cool

Delayed Gratification

We know from scientific experiments dating back nearly a half century and continuing today, that when we choose to “wait” for something or “hold off” in taking or getting what we want, we benefit in many ways. Research that built upon the original Marshmallow Test, a series of studies that examined delayed gratification, has uncovered many meaningful conclusions about our development both intellectually, emotionally and socially. (I would suggest googling The Marshmallow Test as there is a tremendous amount of information on studies stemming from the original research).

Delayed Gratification And The Marshmallow Test

Walter Mischel, the original researcher on “waiting” or “delaying taking what we want”, coined the terms Hot and Cool Systems. He proposed that individuals make choices based on a continuum that spans emotional driven or factual based decision processes.   The individual who functions with a Hot System is driven by pure emotions. The Cool System represents a more reflective, somewhat strategic individual, who plans their choices based on data that they are presented with. It could be argued that the Hot System is present when we are focused on the “here and now” and the impulsive activities that we engage. The Cool System is more in the forefront of our thinking when we are planning the future, and functions, in part, by practicing delayed gratification. Longitudinal studies are showing that employing delayed gratification as early as pre-school can contribute to building character, expanding the developing brain, and can even be a predictor of success’ later on in adulthood.

Some might think that we are either born with a Hot or Cool System. Not so says the research! The author of the Marshmallow Test has spent decades scientifically showing that we can train ourselves to operate in the Cool System and enjoy the increased benefits of the behaviors and decisions of delayed gratification.

We are now in the season when most of us enjoy many celebrations and spending time with family and friends. During our celebration we look forward to giving and receiving gifts as expressions of our affection. Let’s challenge ourselves to think past our personal wants and provide a gift for someone else that may have much less than we do. Let’s challenge ourselves to wait until the prescribed time to know what we received as a gift…no peeking.   Let’s challenge ourselves to carefully reflect on how to spend monies we received as gifts. Finally, let’s challenge ourselves to not be so quick to react if our expectations of the holidays are not what we had envisioned. Operating out of our Cool Systems by delaying our wants is something that we can practice in the upcoming months and perhaps even for a lifetime. Just be cool.

Harry Broomfield PhD

Director

Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers