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4 D’s additional way to manage anger

4 D’s additional way to manage anger 4 D’s additional way to manage anger
Sandra Schiele, Counsel House

We have entered our sixth week of tele-health at Counsel House (owned by Terry Lawton) in Corydon, where I practice as a licensed behavioral health specialist.

Last week, we talked about how anger begins with an activating event, something that happens to or around us. These events trigger faulty thoughts leading to feelings of anger and unhealthy reactions. We discussed tracking these then disputing each faulty thought, replacing them with healthy thoughts, resulting in healthy feelings and behaviors. We call this the ABCDEF journal.

Today, we will talk about the 4 D’s.

When we experience an activating event, we often reply with automatic reactions or autonomic responses. Most began as a conscious reply to the trigger but, over time, they became subconscious, automatic reactions or unconscious, autonomic responses. At any rate, the reactions and responses became habit.

Let’s use the activating event of there being a decrease in access to certain goods like toilet paper, bleach, hand sanitizer, elastic, and face masks. Many faulty thoughts result, which, in turn, lead to anger and unhealthy reactions.

Using the 4 D’s, the first step in interrupting the pattern of anger is to “delay” the initial response. Don’t respond with the act of anger. Delay the temptation to yell or cuss at the clerk. Delay the impulse to push your shopping cart into the cart of someone else who was fortunate enough to find a small package of elastic.

After you have delayed your automatic or autonomic response, now it’s time for step 2. “Distract” yourself with something constructive and healthy. Such distractions can either be cognitive or behavioral. We can distract ourselves by using positive thinking or looking at the situation from multiple perspectives. We can reassure ourselves that these goods will be available at some point. We aren’t the only ones without hand sanitizer. We can distract ourselves with healthy behaviors like journaling, exercising, drawing, etc.

After we’ve distracted ourselves, the third step is “decide” on what we will do to address the activating event. Given we’ve had sufficient time to distract ourselves and come up with an appropriate response, then we decide on what to do next.

The fourth “D” stands for “do” it. We’ve come up with a healthy solution and now it’s time to do it. If that means we sigh because we couldn’t find the bleach or we call the store to inquire when they may have some available or we check another store, we can feel rest assured that these are more appropriate responses to the anger we initially felt.

In the next column, I will cover another anger management strategy. Until then, stay safe, stay positive; we will get through this together.

If we can be of assistance to you or a loved one, contact us at 812-738-3277 or via email at [email protected].

For 24/7 crisis and information services, you can also call Louisville’s Hope Now Hotline at 1-800-221-0446.