Want to control anger ?
Remember S T A R R
Five quick steps to Stop Anger before it escalates
Anger can sometimes escalate almost instantaneously. People with anger problems find that this happens quite often. Even if you don’t get angry often, there are times when anger begins to escalate, and having a tool we can use to diffuse the anger is very helpful.
Here is a quick five step approach that can help. It is called the STAR-R approach, from the book “Preparing for the Drug Free years” by J David Hawkins.
The acronym stands for Stop, Think, Ask, Reduce, Reward.
Here is how it works:
STOP. Look for the signs, physical and emotional, that you are getting angry. Is your voice getting louder? Does your face feel hot? Jaw Tightening? Shortness of breath? Feel like you want to run? Each of us needs to recognize what our anger signs are. The more we are aware of these signs, the sooner we may be able to maintain control and possibly avoid a negative situation.
THINK. Slow down and try to think what the possible outcome of becoming angry might be, what are the possible consequences of my actions for myself and the other person? Trying to picture the potential consequences may be the key to help engage our brain to think first before we blurt out something mean or hurtful or even engage in physical contact.
ASK. What am I really angry about? Is it this situation, or something else that I am bringing into this situation? What do I want? What has this person done that I am angry about? Does the “offense” justify this reaction? Perhaps we are getting upset with our kids or spouse for something they did, but the real issue is being stressed because of work or financial problems. Since it is often easier to yell at our kids or spouse rather than deal with the real problem we need to try hard to get to the real root of the problem. Most anger comes from “unmet needs”, or “unfulfilled expectations”, so it is important to determine what the real issue is here.
REDUCE. Perhaps the best way to reduce the anger or diffuse the situation, may be to take a time out, take a walk, exercise, listen to music, whatever you have done in the past that helps you relax and take your mind off of the situation. Tel the person you are angry with that you need to stop and do something to calm down, and go do it. Agree to talk about it at a later time, when both sides are not upset. (For tips on ways to reduce anger click here to download
Ten Tools you can use to control Anger)
REWARD. Reward yourself. Tell yourself that you did a good job controlling your anger. You have avoided a potentially negative situation that could have destroyed a relationship, injured someone emotionally or physically, and have repercussions that last for years. Good Job! Do something nice for yourself to reinforce that behavior and work on making the STAR R approach a new habit. One that enhances relationships rather than destroys them.