6 Steps To Break The Cycle Of Rage Attacks

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6 Steps To Break The Cycle Of Rage Attacks

Do you often feel irritable, annoyed, in a rage, or just generally grouchy? Do you find yourself snapping or wanting to snap at everyone around you?

Maybe your irritation explodes into anger and rage. Perhaps you don’t know why you feel so on edge all the time.

Why do you react the way you do, anyway?

If this sounds like you, then it's time you learned how to deal with rage before it's too late.

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Those of us who grew up watching Sesame Street will remember the character "Oscar the Grouch." His mission in life was to be as miserable and grouchy as possible.

Even though he was a puppet, the inspiration for his character came from rude, grumpy, and snarly people the creator ran across in New York.

Now, I guess you could say that Oscar has a reason for being grouchy, angry, and lashing out in rage every now and then. He’s green, his fur is matted, and you can’t see his nose, so I’m not sure he has one... 

And to top it all off, he lives in a garbage can. I’d be angry, too!

But what's your excuse for being upset or fighting with your own rage all the time?

Here are 3 reasons you might struggle with rage, and 6 steps you need to take to deal with it.

1. You're depressed.

If the average person was asked to describe someone who was depressed, their answer would probably go something like this: Someone who's sad all the time, doesn’t want to interact with others, shows low motivation, and stays in bed a lot.

And while those behaviors are common signs of depression, some signs can be more subtle — like being more irritable and angry with everyone and everything around them.

Although symptoms such as irritability, anger, and lashing out with rage are not key to a depression diagnosis, these symptoms are pretty common in depressed people and can be associated with more severe, chronic, and long-term depression.

Depression can sneak up on you. People are programmed to consider overwhelming sadness as the first sign of depression, but in reality, the above symptoms can develop over time and can be harder to pinpoint.

2. You're overly anxious.

Anxiety symptoms are actually symptoms of stress. Now, stress responses are your friend if you're in danger and you need to take appropriate actions. But stress responses can also be a foe if you use them too often or on a constant basis.

People with anxiety disorders fall into the later category and are stuck with that feeling all the time.

The more stressed a body becomes, the less patience it has. The behaviors and physical ramifications related to an individuals anxiety can make normal day-to-day problems seem more difficult and overwhelming, leaving you irritable most of the time.

Your system is always on high alert. And because your body becomes overly stressed, when a challenge arises, it can seem dramatic and magnified. This can cause you to react — or overreact — in an amplified manner by lashing out.

RELATED: Why Am I So Angry? How Anger Management Can Help Harness Your Emotions

3. There are significant health reasons.

Bad moods can happen for any number of reasons, but sometimes, they might not have anything to do with your life circumstances. If you're always feeling on edge or irritated and can’t figure out why, you might want to make an appointment with your primary care doctor.

Many medical reasons can cause a shift in moods and irritability, such as hormonal imbalances, hyperthyroidism, sleep issues, chronic pain, and diabetes.

I’m not saying that because you have bad moods you have a health issue. But if you are frequently irritable, it isn't a bad idea to see your doctor to make sure a health issue is not to blame.

Here are 6 steps you can take to regain control when you're feeling rage:

1. Take a deep breath and count to five.

Inhale through your nose, count to five, and exhale through your mouth slowly. Repeat this 10 times.

Sometimes, this is all it takes and the moment has passed.

2. Assess what made you irritable and angry.

Say to yourself, “I’m angry because___.”

Sometimes, vocalizing the issue can help you to look at it logically instead of emotionally. You might even come to the conclusion that it is something trivial that won’t matter to you in a few days or weeks to come.

3. Own it.

Admit to yourself that you have been irritable and that it makes you feel lousy. Now, consider how the people around you feel if they have been on the receiving end of your irritability and didn’t deserve to be treated in that manner.

4. Extend grace instead of wrath.

You have the power to choose how to react. Instead of cursing at the next car that cuts you off, consider that they might be in a hurry because of an emergency.

5. Focus on what really matters.

In the grand scheme of things, just how important are those issues that always seem to be “getting your goat”? Try switching your attention to the more important, good things in your life that make you happy.

6. Take a break.

Sometimes, you just need a physical break from the situation.

Take a short walk, find a quiet corner to gather your emotions, get a cup of coffee. It will give your mind a chance to put things in perspective. If nothing else, it will protect you from the opportunity of saying something you might regret later on.

There are always things in life that cause you to become irritated at times. It happens to everybody.

It's concerning, however, if you're experiencing angry outbursts due to things that normally wouldn’t have bothered you in the past. Or, maybe your irritability feels extreme. Perhaps you feel your rage is out of control but you're unsure about the cause.

If anger and rage is significantly impacting your social, occupational, or other areas of functional life, it’s probably time to seek out help. Your rage may be due to an underlying mental health condition.

Once you figure out the cause, you can better find a solution so you can focus on being happy more often than being full of anger.

RELATED: 5 Best Ways To Control Anger So You Can Find Peace Without Medication

Kris Henderson is a personal development coach. You can get your anxiety under control by taking the FREE 5-Day Anxiety Detox Challenge. If you would like more personalized support, contact her.