Do You Tend To Fly Off The Handle
“When angry, count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
Do you tend to fly off the handle:
– say things in the heat of the moment that you later regret?
– lash out at the people that you care about?
– display behavior that seems out of your control?
– yell, scream or snap at people when something isn’t being done exactly how you want it?
– intentionally do things just to get the other person upset?
– have you ever been called a “hot head” or friends and colleagues refer to you as having a short temper?
If any of these scenarios or similar experiences sound familiar to how you react when upset, here are 7 strategies to set you on a better path:
1) Identify The Common Triggers. You have specific triggers that cause you to overreact. You have a button and every once in a while, someone knows exactly how to push it. If you know what your buttons are then you can prepare strategies to prevent a blow up. This is the first step of gaining self-control. Identify the things that bother you the most. Examples of triggers could be rejection, criticism or even something that has nothing to do with you, like people who are opinionated or judgmental without knowing all the details of a situation.
“Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
2) Stick With The Basics. Always make sure that you get enough sleep and that you fuel your body with food and water. Never be so busy that you neglect to take proper care of your body or you will be a candidate for flying off the handle. By prioritizing your wellness, you will help lower your risk of overreactions.
“Getting angry doesn’t solve anything.” ~ Grace Kelly
3) What’s Going On In Your Head? Pay attention to your thoughts. If you fly off the handle it is because you are looking at what is happening in an irrational manner. You are looking at things more negatively than you should. Ask yourself these questions:
How would other people see this?
How would other people handle this?
Don’t take things personally; even if they might be. Don’t retaliate even if you were attacked. Find a way to be more patient and understanding.
“Speak when you are angry – and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” ~ Laurence J. Peter
4) Explore How Your Past May Be Affecting This Moment. Overreactions are usually tied to your past experiences and how things may have bothered you. Can you name how? If not; it is worth the time and effort to explore the underlying reasons that are ultimately going to ruin your future. People who overreact tend to push loved ones away and wind up alone. Seek the help of a therapist if you need help in figuring out the source of your overreactions.
“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.” ~ James Thurber
5) Don’t Bottle Up Your Feelings. If something has been bothering you for a really long time you are likely to fly off the handle. Address issues as soon as they arise or as soon as you are able. The goal is to get things out of your system so you can move on and have more peace in your life. Seek out a friend that you can vent to. If you don’t have someone to vent to, put it down on paper or consider seeking therapy as a safe outlet.
“He, who kindles a flame towards another; often burns himself.” ~ Chinese Proverb
6) Does Your Body Give You An Early Warning? Do you notice tension in your neck, your forehead or in other muscle groups? Does your heart pound prior to a blow up? Your body will give you signals when you are exposed to situations that cause stress. Try to notice these triggers and signals so that you can be aware of stressors in the future. If you learn to pay attention to these signals, you can often prevent an overreaction.
“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
7) Change Your Tune. When you are upset it is easy to start thinking the worse. Once you realize that you are upset, you need to start redirecting your thought processes. You need to be looking for ways to view what is happening in a positive and more rational manner. I suggest you say things like: “I can handle this.” “This is not as bad as it seems” or “I choose to experience peace of mind as opposed to conflict.”
“He who angers you conquers you.” ~ Elizabeth Kenny
Mark Webb is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice at South Georgia Psychiatric and Counseling Center in Valdosta. He is the author of How To Be A Great Partner. Mark has been in the field of helping individuals and couples since 1986. He has a vast amount of experience and he can have a very positive impact on your life and your relationship. If you are looking for individual or marriage counseling, please call his office in Valdosta, Georgia and his staff will help you set up an appointment.
South Georgia Psychiatric and Counseling Center
2704 N. Oak St. Blg B-3
Valdosta, Georgia 31602