Just like happiness and sadness, anger is also a natural emotion. While some people get angry very rarely, others may have an extremely short temper. Flares, flashes and outburst are some of the common words used to describe anger. But anger is never fruitful and it can be dangerous for both physical and mental health.
In a recent study, published in the journal Cognitive Therapy and Research, scientists stated that Hostile Bias Modification Training is a technique which can help in improving anger-related outcomes such as bias and aggression.
Hostile Bias Modification Training
Hostile Bias Modification Training (HBMT) is a technique in which the trainees were exposed to three types of word fragments: ambiguous, aggressive and non-aggressive.
- Ambiguous fragments, which could form both aggressive or non-aggressive words. For instance, KI_ _ could become KILL or KIND.
- Aggressive fragments, which can only form only aggressive words. For instance, W_ _PON can be used to form WEAPON.
- Non-aggressive fragments can only form non-aggressive words. For instance, FR_ END can be used to form FRIEND.
For this study, the participants were asked to form only non-aggressive words. They were told not to respond if they could not think of a non-aggressive word. The results of the study showed that after 24 to 46 hours, the participants were less hostile and showed lower levels of aggression and anger.
While this training needs to be studied further before we could benefit from it in our day to day lives, here are some other basic tools that are currently recommended to help control anger:
1. Walk away
It is probably not the easiest way to respond to a situation that is making you angry but a great way of refraining yourself from saying something in the heat of the moment which you might regret later. Whenever you get angry, walk out of that room and go to a secluded place. Take your time, breathe in and think about the consequences and harm that your words can cause. Once you are calm, speak up about your thoughts, concerns and needs in an assertive about calm manner.
2. Mind your words
When you are angry, you tend to say things in a disrespectful way. Try not to use the words that belittle or criticize the other person or put complete blame on them. Do not use words like “never” or “always” in your argument as your choice of words can make a lot of difference. Adopt a problem-solving attitude; instead of pointing of what is wrong, make a suggestion for the future. For instance, rather than saying “you always come late”, you can say “I would appreciate you coming a little early next time”.
3. Music therapy
Music has the power to change our mood within minutes. Music has a calming and soothing effect on the mind, making us feel relaxed. Music has been used as a potent tool by various psychiatrists for the management of anger in people. A study published in the journal Sage in 2015 stated that people who received music therapy in their anger management program had better coping skills as compared to those who got regular anger management therapy.
4. Relaxation exercises
Whenever you get angry, remove yourself from the situation and practise simple relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation for 10 minutes and if possible, some simple yoga asanas. Yoga will help calm your mind and centre your thoughts. You may even find other techniques like going for a walk in the park or colouring to be more suitable for you.
5. Let things go
You may never be able to find peace if you hold grudges. If you don’t forgive the people who angered you, you may feel angry all the time and it could affect other, unrelated aspects of your life as well. Hash out the issue, express your feeling, try to resolve the negative feelings and eventually forgive these people. This act of forgiveness could also strengthen your relationship with your loved ones.
For more information, read our article on How to control anger.
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