How Can I Help Myself?
Techniques from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or compassion-focused therapy (CFT) can be helpful for learning how to manage the way you respond to provocation so that the impulse to react aggressively is diminished or controlled. You can learn how to recognize and deal with the triggers, and how to take advantage of the restraints. If you take a positive approach where your ultimate goal is lasting ‘good temper’, you can successfully handle the most provocative situations. For example:
Keep an anger diary
Every time you get angry or irritable, fill in a page of your diary, noting both the trigger and your response. Later you can use the entries to help you analyse the pattern of your anger, and this will help you to address the problem.
Learn how to make a fair and reasonable appraisal of the situation that provokes your anger, rather than one that is selective, say, or an over-generalization. Often you’ll be able to re-frame your initial appraisal by searching for the good aspects of the situation, or by viewing it from a different perspective. This strategy soon becomes habitual and is very effective in diverting anger and irritability.
Once you become familiar with these techniques, you will be able to put together your own tailor-made action plan that will keep you – and those around you – in a much happier frame of mind; and, equally important, you will be able to maintain this manifest improvement to your life.