Service members with PTSD may have serious problems with extreme and unpredictable emotions. Anger can be the most destructive one.
Left unchecked, anger can lead to aggressive or high-risk behavior that damages relationships, endangers your health or threatens the safety of others. Domestic violence and road rage are just two examples of anger running wild.
There are many methods to help you manage anger or other emotions that are causing you stress. Here are some general tips to get you started:
10 Top Tips For Tip-Top Sleep
Learn to Identify Your Emotion. This allows you to actively change the negative emotion and to set appropriate boundaries.
Effectively Communicate Your Emotion to Others. When you identify your emotion, tell others who are affected. If you are angry and identify it, say to your family, friends or co-workers, "Right now I'm feeling angry and I need to be alone. I'll get back to you."
In this example, you identified the emotion, you set a boundary and you gave assurance to people you care about that you are not running away from the situation. This is a healthy way to communicate.
Understand that fear or frustration often is the cause of anger. When you feel angry, STOP. Ask yourself — and do it aloud - why you are angry.
Even if you don't know why, by continuing to ask the question you are engaging the reason center of your brain — the portion that promotes rational thinking and helps to regulate emotions.
Identify the characteristics of your anger. The better you know your anger, the better you can deal with your anger. Ask yourself:
- "How often do I get angry?" Are you rarely angry or angry most of the time?
- "How intense is my anger?" Do you do a slow burn or are you a full-blown volcano?
- "How do I express my anger?" Do you lash out or can you walk away from a heated situation?
- "How long do I stay angry?" Does your anger fade quickly or do you hold on to it like a precious gem?
Find ways to cope with your anger. This is not as difficult as it might seem because the best coping skills are healthy activities that you enjoy.
First, understand why coping skills are necessary.
- They decrease the intensity of a bad feeling.
- They provide an alternative to destructive behavior.
- They reduce the chance of damaging your relationships; trust increases.
- They increase control over your life because you act out of thought, not out of emotion.
Secondly, put your coping skills into categories so you easily see what type of skill can be used in a given situation. Write down coping skills in these four areas:
- Physical — any activity that gets you moving. Taking a walk, playing basketball or going to a batting cage are good coping skills.
- Spiritual — any activity that promotes hope. Prayer or meditations are good coping skills.
- Emotional — any activity that calms you down. Listening to music; taking deep, slow breaths; or holding your pet are good coping skills.
- Intellectual — any type of brain activity. Good coping skills here include, for example, talking with people about your problem, researching an interesting topic online or doing a Sudoku puzzle.