Monday, August 04, 2008

Time Out!


Seems that almost everyone I'm seeing currently has some kind of anger issue. Practical Man thinks that's kind of ironic seeing he thinks I can be a little grumpy myself on occasion. Really?

Although we're socialised to believe anger is wrong, anger is actually a natural, healthy emotion. Anger is a signal that something is our environment is not right. Blocking it can result in both physical and psychological health problems. Anger exists on a scale from mild irritation to outright fury. What is important about anger is the level and how we express it. When expressed appropriately, we defuse stress and frustration and others can understand that we're upset. When expressed inappropriately, with blame or aggression, we fail to get our message across. People switch off or become defensive and situations often snowball.

One of the techniques people have been mentioning to me that they've been using to manage their anger is timeout.

It's true that timeout can be an effective tool when used properly. However, for many people this translates to leaving the situation in a distressed state, often getting into a car and driving or going for a drink. Not so good. We're less likely to be in control of our behaviour when we're riled up. Let's face it, an angry driver is never a safe driver.

So, do you use timeout when you're at boiling point?

DO
Take the time to explain to the people you're with what you are doing and why. Avoid inflammatory statements such as 'You're driving me crazy'.
Leave the situation for approximately an hour.
During your timeout, try to do some exercise, followed by a relaxing activity to calm yourself.
Take time to objectively identify your thoughts and feelings.

DON'T

Stay away more than one hour.
Drive.
Take drugs or alcohol.

After your time out, return and see if others are ready to talk. If not, be prepared to wait until things have cooled down.

4 comments:

Psychgrad said...

Some days I feel like people are so different that it's amazing that anyone can get along. Other times - I don't understand why it isn't easier to just get along.

Teresa Lynne said...

Hey, I used to have the blog "Peace of Mind," but now have a new one "Psychological Perspective." (Tery)

So many people have issues, we all do, and a lot are filled with anger and frustrations that is for sure.

I don't know, I think time out needs to be utilized sufficiently. Sometimes a simple long walk by yourself can do amazing things. :)

lishlove said...

I've always been taught from a young age to recognise that i'm feeling angry (or any other 'destructive' emotion) and take time out. for me, i would usually lie down on my bed on my own and listen to some music, or read a chapter of a book - something else to concentrate on for a while so that when i return to the problem/issue at hand i can step back and look at it from different perspectives (i.e. other people's). It's as simple as just putting yourself in someone else's shoes. I hate it when people blame me, so why should I think I have the right to blame and point the finger at someone else?

Now, as I'm much older and living in a house with 5 other girls at university, I am the best person to get in an argument with, apparently!

It's difficult in the heat of the moment but it's definitely better in the long-term!

Great post :)

phd in yogurtry said...

John Gottman, PhD has done studies of couples and anger. He has used physio measures of heart rate, etc. He says that we need a minimum of 20 minutes to allow our phyisological selves to return to pre-anger baseline.

He also recommends that when people take a time out, to first say when they plan to resume the conversation. "I need time to calm myself down. Let's talk about this again in an hour." Or "over the weekend when we have more time."

Excellent topic! I used to get, and stay, a whole lot more angry than I do lately. It seriously runs in my family.

I have been using a lot of the anger mgmt techniques I preach. Can fortunately say its very helpful. But it does take a lot of time, patience, practice, willingness. Daily dose of magnesium glycinate seems to help me too.