How To Stop Lashing Out When You're Always Stressed & Ready To Snap

Photo: Ekateryna Zubal / shutterstock 
Two women on a city street arguing

Do you frequently find yourself angry, upset, or just stressed out and saying hurtful things to your partner? Things that are meant to wound and can't be taken back later, no matter how much you regret them? If so, you probably wonder what’s really going on with you.

Being angry so frequently would suggest that you could use a personal check-in session and some self-reflection time. There are many external factors in today's world that could certainly influence your mood, as well as your attention to your health and wellness. This includes exercise, sleep, and nutrition habits.

You — and the people around you — deserve better than frequent lashing out and paying attention to these habits can help and should be your first stop in trying to avoid lashing out so often.

In addition, try taking a break. Before you say something that will hurt your partner, press pause. There is power in pausing as it breaks the pattern of reacting from emotion and allows you to respond from logic instead.

RELATED: 10 Little Communication Tricks That'll Lead To A Much Deeper Love

How to maintain calm when stress is your default condition 

If "stressed out" has become your new normal, you may want to slow down to rotate and balance your life before you inadvertently dump your frazzle on your partner in a hurtful way.

If you're angry all the time, however, your emotions are controlling your actions and typically will hurt others — especially those you love most.

RELATED: Stepping Back From The Edge: 7 Tips For Managing Uncontrollable Anger

Here are three practices you can adopt to help you stop lashing out when you're stressed out

1. Use visualization to change your pattern of behavior

To calm down, begin with a pause by closing your eyes. Watch an angry scene in your life like a movie, and notice exactly what you're doing. What do you look like? Your posture? Your facial features?

Next, focus on what the scene sounds like. What is your volume? Loud or soft? Your tone? Sarcastic or critical? Defensive or judgmental?

Now, notice what it feels like. Do you feel any tension in your body? Stomach pain? Headache or nausea?

If there was a smell and taste associated with this angry scene, what would it be? Pungent and bitter? If you don’t have either, associate a smell that repels you and a taste that disgusts you.

Open your eyes! Now, that you are incensed by your own behavior, re-write the scene, but first, come up with your motivation, and you may want to go smell and taste something pleasant to help change your mindset.

RELATED: 7 Ways To Show You Still Care When You're Mad At Someone You Love

2. Determine your motivation to sustain the change

What would be your motivation? Does the thought of your inability to control the sharpness of your tongue and its ability to slash through the heart of your partner hurt you?

In the angry version of you, what did your partner look like? What was their posture? What did they sound like? What do you imagine they felt like?

Do you think they may get tired of this movie marathon? Of the smell and taste it leaves with them? Have you been too busy seeing yourself that you haven’t even noticed them?

If you truly do not want to break their heart, or yours, write a new script. In the new scene, the calm version of you, how do you want to look, sound, and feel?

What’s that? A smile? A gentle touch? A pleasant tone?

Are you sitting across the table from them, looking them in their eyes? Are you smelling and tasting gardenias or fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies?

RELATED: 30 Unsexy Communication Habits That Make A Relationship Work

3. Express your feelings without being hurtful

Even when there is conflict, it doesn’t have to be rude or ugly. You should always express your feelings by having an open and honest conversation with your partner. 

But you will not resolve your issue by communicating from a place of anger. Being angry all the time is exhausting for you both. Angry communication is critical, blaming, humiliating, attacking, and heartbreaking.

Get in touch with your emotions, and know yourself well enough so that you can pause and reject the repulsive angry version of yourself that may break your partner’s heart with your emoting behavior and cutting words.

Then, press play on the pleasant calm version, where you and your partner connect and solve the issue at hand in a mutually respectful way, deepening your trust and maturing your love.

RELATED: 5 Signs Your Husband's Anger Issues Are Destroying Your Marriage (And What To Do About It)

Ann Papayoti, PCC, is a relationship coach, author, and speaker helping people help themselves through losses and transitions. She helps people untangle from their past and heal their hearts.