I’m a 15-year-old boy. My problem is that I get aggressive and often short-tempered with others. I even show my anger in front of my parents. I can’t share my problems with anyone; my best friends don’t listen to me and one of them is not talking to me. I’m unable to concentrate on my studies due to this. Please help me out.
Looks like you’re feeling helpless at being unable to do anything about your anger and its consequences.
First, understand your anger: Find the real feeling underneath the anger. E.g., if you can’t share your problems with anyone; if your best friends don’t listen to you; when a friend doesn’t talk to you… how do each of these make you feel? You get angry when you yourself don’t know what you are really feeling. When you’re angry, you may end up taking your anger out on someone/something else, making things worse. You can look up the ‘Anger Iceberg’ worksheet online and use it to understand your anger.
Observe and list the warning signs that you’re showing. For example, do you tend to tremble? Does your mind go blank? Do you breathe heavily? Note these down.
Manage your anger: Use the S.T.O.P. technique. When you know you’re getting angry, first Stop doing anything and just wait. Then Think about what is making you angry and label the feeling, e.g. I feel…. Then think about the Options you have to calm yourself instead of showing your anger. Maybe you could go for a walk, listen to calming music, breathe slowly… Finally, Proceed to do what you need to do next, e.g. you can go ahead and express your feelings.
You can ask yourself: How can I express myself in a way that will truly express my need instead of simply reacting to the person in front of me. Over time, you will learn to find what really bothers you and manage it well.
Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.