The final article in the series about various coping skills to control anger will look at the following:
- Music therapy
- Pet therapy
- Herbs, herbal medicine and teas.
26. Music Therapy
As William Congreve noted in ‘The Morning Bride’ (1697), “Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast”. How true! Whether through listening or playing a musical instrument, music has the power to affect our mood and emotions at a deep level. Interestingly, although listening to soothing choral or classical music has traditionally been advocated as helping people to relax, a study by Sharman and Dingle 2015 found that ‘extreme’ loud and chaotic music counters anger and inspires calmness.
Also, some people find it very relaxing to listen to the sounds of nature, such as the sea lapping on a beach, a running stream, rain falling or birds singing. Fortunately, it is possible to obtain CD’s of such sounds or find them free online via sites such as YouTube etc. These de-stress, relax and help people with sleeping problems and can provide a useful tool regarding how to control anger.
Although known anecdotally for millennia, numerous studies in recent decades have demonstrated that the restorative and therapeutic power of sleep is vital for both emotional and physical well being e.g. Chen et al. 2006. Proper and regular sleep helps to de-stress both mind and body, thereby minimizing outbursts of anger caused by the individual being irritable and tired e.g. Shin et al. 2005, Ireland and Culpin 2006.
Additionally, taking a power nap during the day can help recharge your batteries and re-energize yourself. Limit the nap to 20-30 minutes, otherwise you will not only have a problem with waking and feeling groggy afterwards but you also risk disturbing your main sleep patterns and biorhythms.
There is considerable research to show the beneficial effects of massage therapy. Massage comes in various forms (e.g. Shiatsu) and can include rubbing, kneading and manipulation to soothe our feelings and reduce tension. It can also be coordinated with various beauty treatments and aromatherapy to enhance the relaxation process. In addition, as the price of massage recliner chairs has fallen, they have become increasingly popular in the home and office environment.
29. Pet Therapy
As we discovered in the article entitled Anger and Children – Apologies, Compassion and Forgiveness, owning or being around animals can be highly beneficial both physically and emotionally. All age groups can gain from caring for a pet and numerous studies e.g. Hanselman 2001, have shown that this can include helping to reduce stress and anger.
30. Herbs, Herbal Medicine and Teas.
Many people today are unaware of the role that herbs and herbal medicine have played in treating various medical conditions throughout the ages. In the book by Jordan Jones entitled ‘Herbal Medicine: Good Health Naturally! Learning How to Unlock Nature’s Medicine Cabinet’, it is pointed out that:
“Our ancestors discovered the key to unlocking nature’s medicine cabinet through millennia of experimentation and observation of the world around them. The knowledge they painstakingly acquired enabled them to use nature’s resources in a highly skilled and targeted manner, in order to tackle numerous health related issues in a holistic fashion.“
It continues with:
”It is surprising how few people realize that a significant number of commercial pharmaceutical medicines are in fact derived from plant and herb extracts. Therefore, rather than pumping ourselves full of additives at the expense of our bodies and for the financial benefit of large corporations, it makes complete sense to return to the original source: herbs and herbal medicine.”
Therefore, though seemingly simple, herbs can still have a role to play in treating a range of conditions including stress and anger issues. Many herbs have de-stressing properties such as Catnips, Licorice, Rosemary, Siberian Ginseng and St. Johns Wart. Kada Kava provides stress relief by tackling insomnia and anxiety.
…and finally a bonus list of:
Other Ways to De-Stress and Control Anger
- Turn off all electronic gadgets (e.g. laptops, phones) and relax.
- Get a stress ball.
- Lie in the sun or watch it set.
- Read a good book.
- Do some gardening.
- Watch a feel-good movie.
- Spicy foods are reported to cause the body to release endorphins.
- Have a swim.
- Enjoy a passionate evening.
- Eating or drinking citrus fruit raises norepinephrine which reduces stress.
- Have a good laugh.