Handout 1: Three Choices to Reduce Anger
It is not enough to know what happens to us when we get angry. We also need to know how to control our anger.
Here are three choices for reducing the feelings of anger. Learn them together, and use them help one another manage anger. All are intended to slow down your body's reaction to anger:
Choice 1: Stretch
Stretch your arms way up over your head. Reach with your fingertips for the ceiling, as high as you go. Breathe in (1-2-3) and out (1-2-3-4).
Put your hands on your shoulders with your elbows pointed out. Breathe in as you twist slowly to one side. Breathe out as you twist to the other side. Twist back and forth, gently stretching your body with each twist. Keep breathing (in 1-2-3 ... out 1-2-3-4).
Clasp your hands behind your back. Bend forward while you bring your arms up, behind you, stretching gently to raise your arms toward the ceiling. Breathe in (1-2-3) and out (1-2-3-4) twice.
Straighten up and drop your hands to your sides. Roll your head gently to one side, then the other, back and forth. Keep breathing.
Choice 2: Squeezing
Grab a pillow, and suck in a big lungful of air through your nose.
While you're breathing in, squeeze the pillow as tightly as you can. Even if it's a small pillow, scrunch up your face, and stiffen the muscles in your legs. Keep your while body in that giant squeeze while you count 1-2-3 in your head.
Next, loosen your grip on the pillow and relax everything while you breathe out, counting 1-2-3-4.
While you're relaxed, take a slow, deep breath in (counting 1-2-3) and out (counting 1-2-3-4).
Then breathe in and squeeze again.
Go through this pattern five times: breathe in, squeeze and hold, release and breathe out, breathe in and out one time with squeezing, then start again.
Choice 3: Tapping
Cross your arm to make an X across your chest.
Tap your right shoulder with your left hand, then your left shoulder with your right hand. As you tap, count in your head. Tap once for each number you say to yourself.
Breathe slowly, but don't count your breaths. Count your taps instead.
Keep going—right, left, right, left, right, left—tapping back and forth, over and over again, until you get to 100.
Keep your arms crossed and take two extra breaths, slow and relaxing, in and out through your nose. In 1-2-3 ... out 1-2-3-4 ... pause. In 1-2-3 ... out 1-2-3-4 ... pause.
Then start tapping again until you get to 100.