During and after my divorce my anger was triggered by an Elton John song. Every time I heard Sacrifice, my jaw would clench, and I’d want to punch something. Don’t ask me what or why but that song triggered something in me that caused me to want to go postal.
A trigger is a smell, taste, image or place that sets off a memory or flashback to a place or event. Triggers can cause pleasant or unpleasant feelings that, during and after divorce can illicit either good feelings or, bad feelings. In this article, I want to discuss those bad feelings. Specifically anger.
You may be new to the divorce process or years into your new post-divorce life, whatever stage you are at, it is still possible for something to trigger feelings of anger over past events.
Below are 5 ways to deal with triggered anger during divorce.
Mediation is a great long-term anger management technique. Meditation enables you to have better control over your emotions and, can also help you feel a deep sense of inner peace and calm. Deep breathe during periods of anger and use a mantra, on a regular basis, and you will notice how well you become at stopping your feelings of anger before you are overcome and lose your temper.
If possible, when your anger is triggered, head out the door and go for a brisk walk. Or, throw your jogging shoes and run like hell, away from the anger. When your heart rate goes up, endorphins kick in and soothe those feelings of anger. And, if you make exercise a regular part of your daily routine, you are less likely to be triggered.
“Exercise, even a single bout of it, can have a robust prophylactic effect” against the buildup of anger, said Nathaniel Thom, a stress physiologist at The Naval Health Research Center. In other words, regular exercise reduces anger’s ability to impact you negatively.
Talk About It:
If you are someone who experiences relief once you communicate your feelings, then talk about your anger. Find a good therapist or a trusted friend and vent. Talking is a valuable tool but only if you don’t overuse it. Venting is great but not to the point your friends start avoiding your calls and emails.
Do Something That Makes You Happy:
I love romantic comedies, Pillow Talk with Doris Day takes me away to a place where negative emotions can’t intrude. If I’m off kilter emotionally, I pop a movie in and am transported to a happy place. Love to dance? Put on great music, turn the volume up and dance away your angries. Having an activity that makes you feel happy and carries you out of the reality you are feeling is a great tool for alleviating anger when triggered.
Invest In a Punching Bag:
Some anger isn’t resolved until you’ve hit something, not someone but, something. If you want to strike out, hit a punching bag. Or, take it out on a pillow. This tool is especially useful if you are going through the divorce process and feeling powerless. Exerting your own strength without doing what you wish to do…hitting your ex or strangling his attorney, can cause a sense of empowerment. This is also another way to get those endorphins flowing and regain a sense of peace.
Controlling the effect anger has on you, especially during and after divorce, can be difficult. With regular use of the tools above you will eventually master those negative emotions when triggered and enjoy living a happier, more productive life.