BAM! Body and Mind
Your Life
BAM! Guide To Getting Along

BAM! Guide to Getting Along

It goes something like this: Sparks Fly + What Does It Mean? + Blood's a Boilin' + Talking to Yourself = Your Are Full of Anger!

Cool Rules

Ever notice how quickly people get angry? It seems like people can go from totally happy to totally ticked off in no time at all. In fact, the feeling of anger is actually a series of reactions that happen in just 1/30th of a second.

The amazing thing about anger is that it's not a basic emotion like, say, happiness. It is actually a secondary emotion and it is supposed to help keep you safe and protect you from danger — the ole' fight or flight thing! But if it gets out of hand or if you try to ignore it, it can lead to some serious issues. Here's how to break the chain.

Here is a simple way to remember how to deal with anger:
A - Avoid. Don't let your anger or other angry people control you.
N - Never use your body or voice to hurt others.
G - Get away from the situation so your feelings don't overwhelm you.
E - Evaluate your choices. Think before you react!
R - Responsibility. Remember, you are responsible for your choices. No one can make you angry, you allow yourself to become angry. And you can choose not to get angry too!

Stop it at the first spark.
Lots of things can trigger anger, like losing a soccer game, having to deal with your bossy little sister, or your computer crashing when you're in the middle of IM'ing your pals or writing a school paper. The important thing is to figure out what is really making you angry. Is it the same thing every time or do different things bring you to the boiling point? If it is always the same situation, person, or thing, try to avoid it. And if you can't avoid them (cuz' you know your little sister isn't going anywhere), think of different ways you can keep from getting angry. Instead of hurling the computer out the window, think about how you avoid it crashing to begin with, like not having your email and a game going at the same time. If losing the soccer game has got your goat, use your anger as motivation to improve your skills.

Hey, man! What's it all mean?
So, snaps for figuring out how to spot the things you know make you angry. But, your little sister is still driving you nuts. Since she's staying put, you've got to figure out a way to handle your anger that won't make things worse. This brings us to the second link in the chain. To avoid it, all you need to do is try to look at things from her point of view — you're older and she wants to hang with you because she thinks you're cool. With that in mind, it's easier to keep your cool. Spend some time just with her so that she won't need to stalk you when all your friends are over. You might even find out that she's not half bad. By changing the way you deal with her and understanding her point of view, you can break the anger chain before you even notice you're mad!

Blood's a boilin'
Well, ok, but your still furious. You've tried to change your reactions to the things that you know make you crazy, you're busy looking at everything from everyone else's point of view, but you can still feel your temperature is rising. Well, that's you're body responding to your feelings. You get hot and your muscles might start to tighten and you start breathing harder. Don't let it get the best of you — there are things you can do to stay in control. Take some deep breaths, focus on relaxing your muscles, and s-l-o-w down!

Talkin' to yourself?
The next link in the chain comes when you catch yourself thinking or saying something in reaction to what's happening to make you mad. We've all done it — we think things like "He's so stupid" or say to a friend "You're always so mean!" before we can stop ourselves. If you catch yourself doing this, take a minute to think. Try to remember that your dealing with a person who may not know how you feel. Stay calm. Lashing back won't get you anywhere. So try to talk to your friend, let him know he hurt your feelings, and then try to move on.

What you've got to do with it
Image of Kristie walking a dogThe way you feel in a situation depends on your background — you may be used to people keeping their feelings in and not talking about them, or you may be used to people exploding and yelling when they are angry. Neither of these reactions is necessarily good. People who bottle up their feelings can end up exploding later, or become depressed. People who vent and yell just tend to keep the anger cycle in motion. The trick is to deal with your anger so that you can learn how to not get riled up in the first place. Try these suggestions to help you stay calm, cool, and collected.

That's the way the story ends...
Isn't it amazing how many things come in between the first spark and being really mad? The whole chain happens so fast because we train ourselves to react in a certain way without even knowing we're doing it. But if you learn to recognize the steps in between, you can break the chain before you lose your cool. No matter how hard you try, you won't be able to avoid getting angry in every situation. You just have to decide the best way to respond. Anger doesn't have to be negative — if you handle it the right way it can actually clue you in to dangerous situations and make you a stronger person.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A
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