Tame Your Temper
Description: In this episode, Melissa and Maribeth (from ADD Professionals) provide strategies for overcoming anger when life becomes overwhelming.
ADDers can be impulsive and emotional and sometimes that means that we lose our temper. That can cause big problems at work, and even bigger problems at home. So, here is one way to tame that temper! And to tame it, we are going to use two of the great gifts of ADHD - our creativity and our imagination!
This is a wonderful strategy to help us remain calm, cool and collected when someone or something makes us angry.
The first step is to Stop, Relax and Think. Stop “freeze frame” to get control, then relax so your brain reconnects. Remember, anger actually disconnects the logical part of our brain. So, stop and relax, so you are able to think clearly. It only takes 3 seconds for the pre frontal cortex to reengage! That's about the time it takes you to take a deep breath in and out.
Then, use those few seconds to pause and pretend you are viewing the irritating situation from a distance, rather than actively participating - kind of like watching a movie.
Ok, here is a perfect example. You are at the soccer field and it is the finals. Your kid makes a score and the ref. throws a flag. You are the parent and you are furious! You are ready to pounce and probably make a bad scene and embarrass both you and your child!! So what do you do? First, STOP, step back and see the movie two different ways…. YOU get to choose how the movie will be played out (it only takes 3 seconds and it can make a huge difference!).
Let me recap, there is a challenging situation that makes us angry and we can even feel this anger in our body! When this feeling arises we are not to act immediately, but to take a 3 second pause to stop, relax and visualize the outcome you want in our head, before we say a word.
There is a name for this simple strategy. It is called “self-distancing” and it can really help minimize how angry and possibly aggressive we can become when someone or something aggravates us.
We are only angry because we are afraid that the situation will not end the way we want it to. However, often times our anger causes the situation to blow up and become even worse than our worst fears.
“Self-distancing” gives us the choice to play out the scene to our best advantage. We can actually visualize just how the scene will play out in our minds. We become the movie director in our own lives!
Your movie can end with you getting mad, or it can end with you going with the refs call, and teaching your child good sportsmanship!
There is good news! This technique can be learned quickly – and it can really help in the heat of the moment! It may take a bit of practice to stop and notice that “this is the time” to create the movie in your mind, but it is worth it when you know that it gives you back the choice. Remember, anger takes our choice away! Pausing gives it back!!
Stop, pause to relax and view the situation from a distance - like a movie. Then make the movie you want! You can tame that temper and make every movie have a happy ending!