Sheryl Isaacs is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She is currently working in Scotts Valley seeing clients in private practice.
Sheryl has worked with families and children that have experienced a wide range of issues including: anxiety, trauma, depression, autism, ADHD, developmental issues, behavioral issues, divorce,
bulimia, grief, communication and self esteem issues.
She provides parental coaching, child therapy, sibling counseling, family therapy, marriage counseling, and individual counseling.
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Who hasn't been so angry they couldn't think straight? This can happen when we get triggered emotionally. When we get triggered, it is impossible to act or speak rationally. Our limbic system takes over and we function without the help of our pre-fontal cortex, which is the regulator of our behavior. When we allow ourselves to "see red" we are literally at the mercy of our limbic system...we lose the ability to control our behaviors.
Our bodies receive a rush of adrenaline which puts us in that "fight or flight" mindset. If we can slow down our body 's response we can gain our control back. That is why you hear so many people say "count to ten." It literally can take as little as ten seconds to calm down our system. However, we must practice to do this!
Tips to NOT "Flip Your Lid"
1. Learn to recognize when you are angry so you can stop/slow this process when it begins.
What does your body feel like? Where do you "feel" the anger in your body first? What happens when you are angry?
2. Learn to recognize what your anger triggers are to help you be more aware of when anger occurs.
Which situations are you most likely to angry in?
3.Take a time out and walk away.
Engage in deep breathing or change your focus of attention.
4.Journal incidents of anger writing exactly what occurred.
Look closely for patterns that occur. What was the "trigger"? This could be words, actions or behaviors. Is there anyone else in your life that the behavior, words, actions remind you of? Do you have a life-pattern of becoming angry in this type of situation?
5.Try to unmask the feeling under the anger: fear, hurt, frustration,disappointment, jealousy, shame, embarrassment, anxiety. Then think about what thought you are linking to that feeling.
When did you first feel this way and think that thought? If you believe what you are thinking what does it mean about you?
6. Help yourself see that this cognitive distortion that you are believing about yourself is not true.
What is the evidence against this negative self belief? Make a "truth" card with evidence against this negative thought to carry with you.
7. Spend more time in activities that relax you.
What helps you feel peaceful and calm? Activities do not need to be long...maybe a cup of tea with honey, a favorite cup of Joe from Starbucks, reading a favorite poem or taking a walk around the block.
8. Have some fun!
What makes you giggle or laugh? What activities make you feel centered and connected with others?
9. Increase your physical activity.
Go to the gym. Ride a bike. Take a dance class. Run up and down your stairs. Play with the kids at the park.
10. Try something new.
Master an activity that you haven't done before...rock climbing, dancing, woodworking, writing.
We all have the ability to master our anger. It takes practice and awareness to do so. If you are facing a chronic issue with anger therapy can help you increase your awareness and help you uncover the emotions underneath. You can learn tools and techniques that can help you stop/slow your anger before it amps up!