Rage outbursts are times when we lose control of our reasoning ability and negatively affect different areas of our lives. Personal relationships deteriorate or are broken and work relationships can be affected and compromised. They worsen social situations, prevent proper communication, encourage aggression, and can affect our overall physical and mental health.
What are Anger and Rage?
Anger is a normal emotion that alerts us that we are being attacked on our integrity, violating our rights or failing to meet our needs, in such situations, the adaptive is feeling angry, hurt, frustrated or disappointed. However, when this emotion seizes us or is disproportionate to the damage suffered, we experience an episode of rage, harming ourselves and our social environment.
Understand that it is not possible to be perfect or require others to be perfect
The first thing to keep in mind is that not all people like us nor we like them. Also, understand that things will not always go as we would like; It is the first step in responding to adaptively and reducing anger/rage episodes.
3 wrong mindsets that lead us to rage outbursts:
- “I must do things well and earn the approval of others. Otherwise, I am bad.” This belief often leads to anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt.
- “Others must treat me well. They must be kind and fair to me. They should treat me the way I want. Otherwise, they are bad and deserve punishment.” This belief leads to anger, passive aggression, and violence.
3. “The world must give me what I want and not what I don’t want. Otherwise, it is terrible and I cannot bear it.” This belief leads to procrastination.
How to control anger and avoid rage
We must know that to control anger episodes, it is necessary to understand our thoughts since they are the cause of disproportionate reactions and it is in our hands to change them for other rational and adaptive ones. The most common thoughts associated with irrational beliefs that generate our anger are:
● to describe a situation as terrible. e.g.: “It is terrible that this happened to me.”
● thinking that someone or something should be different from what it is. e.g.: “He should not have done that”, “He should not act that way”.
● thinking that what happened is unbearable or intolerable. e.g.: “it is intolerable that they treat me like this”, “I cannot bear that situation”.
● Generalize and label someone for a specific fact. e.g.: “He has acted badly, so he is a bad person and must be punished.”
The most important thing is to modify those thoughts and we will have the necessary ability to calm down and react to an imminent outburst of anger. If you feel very overwhelmed you can practice “time out”, this consists of leaving the situation that causes us anger, to reduce our activation, when this is possible.
Another method to control these episodes is to practice relaxation and meditation to reduce our activation into an outburst of raw anger. This through breathing techniques and keeping the mind serene to remove any negative thoughts and thus lower the stress we feel at the moment.