Cognitive restructuring means changing the way you think.
When you’re angry, your thinking can get overly dramatic. When something goes wrong, you might tell yourself, “Everything’s ruined! Every is f***ed up!”
With cognitive restructuring, you replace those kinds of thoughts with more reasonable ones. You might tell yourself instead, “This is frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world.”
Try these strategies:
- Avoid words like “never” or “always” when talking about yourself or others. Statements like “This never works” or “You’re always forgetting things” make you feel your anger is justified and there’s no way to solve the problem. Such statements also alienate and humiliate people who might otherwise be willing to work with you on a solution.
- Focus on goals. Say you have a friend who’s constantly late when you get together. Don’t go on the attack. Instead, think about what you want to accomplish. State the problem and then try to find a solution that works for both of you. If that doesn’t work, take matters into your own hands. You might tell your friend to meet you half an hour earlier than you plan to arrive, so that he or she will get there when you do. Either way, the problem is solved — without damaging the friendship.
- Use logic. Even when it’s justified, anger can quickly become irrational. Remind yourself that the world is not out to get you and that you’re just experiencing one of life’s inevitable rough spots. Do this each time you start feeling angry, and you’ll get a more balanced perspective.
- Translate expectations into desires. Angry people tend to demand things, whether it’s fairness, appreciation, agreement, or just the willingness to do things their way. We are all hurt, disappointed, and frustrated when we don’t get what we want, but don’t let disappointment turn into anger. Some people use anger as a way to avoid feeling hurt, but that doesn’t make the hurt go away. Instead, become aware of your demanding nature and change your demands into requests. Saying you would like something is healthier than saying you must have it.
Credit: American Psychological Association
See more: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/controlling-anger.aspx