Posts tagged with "Dr. Crystal Clements"

Handling Your Anger

5 STEPS TO UNDERSTANDING YOUR ANGER AND HANDLING IT EFFECTIVELY IN INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

Anger can be a normal and healthy emotion. So why is it often so problematic? Here are a few signs that your anger may be harmful rather than helpful:

  • I’m often told I have a “bad temper”
  • Others distance themselves from me when I’m angry
  • Expressing anger leads to fighting
  • I don’t feel understood when I’m angry

Let’s take some time to understand anger in a different way.

As normal and as common as anger is, the emotion is frequently misunderstood and mishandled. In today’s day and age, we are taught that we are supposed to let others know exactly how we feel, which can be helpful at times; however, expressing anger is complicated for two main reasons. First, because it is often a secondary emotion, meaning that people often use anger to mask more vulnerable feelings such as hurt disappointment or fear. These feelings may be frightening because they can leave us feeling weak and helpless. This may cause us to resort to showing anger instead so that we can maintain a sense of control. Second, anger can be problematic because expressing anger, in the wrong way, can trigger fear, defensiveness and anger in the recipient. This may cause the other person to begin to protect him or herself instead of trying to understand you.

So What Is Anger?

In its purest form, anger can be a natural response to feeling purposely violated or wronged in some way. When we believe that someone has intentionally violated us, anger can give us the energy to stand up for ourselves. However, the way in which we understand and express our anger can either cause constructive or destructive results.

If expressing anger leaves you feeling misunderstood, or others feeling hurt, angry or shut down, these tips may help.

1. TAKE A MOMENT TO BREATHE

When you notice that you are feeling angry, slowing down your breath can give you a sense of self-control and peace. This will give you time and space to think about your process so that you don’t go on autopilot. If you feel tension in a particular part of your body, breathe relaxation into it.    

2. NOTICE WHAT YOU ARE FEELING

Notice the thoughts that are passing through your mind and the emotions in your body. Is there a tinge of sadness or fear? Are you longing for something? Do you need reassurance? Because many people fear that the other person won’t be there for them in the way they need, these softer feelings often get ignored.  

3. DISCUSS YOUR CONCERNS

Let the other person know that you have some apprehension about sharing your feelings because you fear that he or she won’t be receptive. For example, you may say something like “It’s hard for me to tell you what I need because I think you will judge me.” Once this is in the open, discuss this with the other person until you feel safe enough to share your more vulnerable feelings.

4. BE WILLING TO ADDRESS THE SOFTER FEELINGS

Acknowledging feelings such as loneliness and the desire for acceptance and appreciation can trigger feelings of vulnerability. However, expressing these feelings can connect you to others. When you let someone know your needs, if the dynamic is healthy, the other person will likely try to understand them and help search for a viable solution.

5. BE SOLUTION ORIENTED

Think about your intentions. What are you trying to accomplish by addressing your anger with others? Are you trying to hurt them in the same way you believe they hurt you? If so, this can feed into a destructive pattern of fractured relationships. On the other hand, if your goal is to resolve the issue so that you can build trust and harmony with the other person, then addressing your anger can be helpful. See my blog on Conflict Resolution for detailed steps on how to address conflict.

Understanding and addressing your anger in a way that restores harmony in your relationships can be easy when we focus on the right thing. Call me today for a free consultation so that I can help you change your relationship with anger from one that is harmful to one that creates peace.

About Dr. Crystal Clements:

Dr. Crystal Clements is a psychologist, who practices as a  registered psychological assistant in Downtown Los Angeles at Here Counseling. She works with adults, adolescents, couples and families to treat depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, and relational issues. She loves what she does and is passionate about helping people feel good about themselves and life. Dr. Crystal earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family Studies and MAs in Psychology and Christian Leadership from the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology. She earned a BA in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania. As part of her training, she completed an APA accredited internship in Health Service Psychology at California State University, Fullerton.

Contact her today for a free 15 minute consultation!

5 Steps To Effective Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution can be hard because we often fear that the other person won’t be open to what we have to say. We may think the other person doesn’t care about how we feel, or that they just don’t have the capacity to understand. This may cause us to try to force our perspective on others or avoid conflict resolution altogether. Whether you find that you engage in frequent arguments that leave you feeling frustrated and alone, or you tend to suffer in silence by avoiding conflict altogether, these conflict resolution tips may work for you.

1. CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF.

Take a moment to breathe and notice the feelings in your body and the thoughts that are passing through your mind. Do you feel vulnerable? Are you angry? Do you feel a sense of heaviness? Don’t judge yourself; simply take note.

2. THINK ABOUT YOUR GOALS.

What do you want to achieve from the conversation? What do you really want from the other person? Be solution oriented. If you want to make the other person feel bad, things probably won’t go so well. On the other hand, if you want the other person to understand you so that your relationship will be more harmonious, then you’re on your way to effective conflict resolution.

3. SHARE YOUR PERSPECTIVE.

Here is where things become technical. Now that you know how you feel and what you want, it is helpful to be thoughtful about how you express yourself. It’s common to assume that because you and another person share an experience, you will both feel the same way about it. However, because of our unique upbringings and experiences, we all view things a little differently. In order to let the other person know you are open to hearing their perspective, it is helpful to use “I messages.” (add link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-message) For example, instead of making a statement such as “you don’t care about me”, which could make the other person feel defensive, saying something such as “I felt like I didn’t matter to you when you didn’t call to check on me” lets the other person know how you interpreted their actions and gives them space to clarify their intentions.

4. USE NONJUDGMENTAL LANGUAGE

Think about what you find upsetting and describe it using descriptive, nonjudgmental language. For example, if you were offended because someone arrived late to a meeting, don’t say something like “You were inconsiderate or rude.” Try saying, “You were 15 minutes late, and it’s important that everyone arrive on time.”

5. CHECK IN WITH THE OTHER PERSON

Ask about how the other person experienced the situation. This gives the other person a chance to share his or her perspective, which may change your outlook. Continuing from the example above, in addition to saying , “You were 15 minutes late, and it’s important that everyone arrive on time,” you can check in with the other person by saying “Are you okay? Was there a reason you were late?”

While these steps seem simple, effective conflict resolution is a skill that takes time to develop. Incorporating these tips may feel difficult at times because they may trigger negative feelings that are rooted in the past. However, If you master these steps, you will find that your conversations will become more productive and you will be well on you way to building stronger and more meaningful connections with others.

About Dr. Crystal Clements:

Dr. Crystal Clements is a psychologist, who practices as a registered psychological assistant in Downtown Los Angeles at Here Counseling . She works with adults, adolescents, couples and families to treat depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, and relational issues. She loves what she does and is passionate about helping people feel good about themselves and life. Dr. Crystal earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family Studies and MAs in Psychology and Christian Leadership from the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology. She earned a BA in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania. As part of her training, she completed an APA accredited internship in Health Service Psychology at California State University, Fullerton.

Contact her today for a free 15 minute consultation!