In a previous section, we talked about the importance of breathing to relax your brain and muscles.  We also mentioned in previous sections how important space can be in a conflict and how you can use time outs to your benefit.  Now let’s take our practice of relaxation up a notch.  Let’s dig in a little more on the importance of relaxation and its role in anger management.

In order to maintain a more steady emotional state and become less reactive to situations, you need to be proactive and plan relaxation into your life.  You need to plan breaks just as much as you need to plan meals or meetings.  Routine times of relaxing can  help defuse bouts of anger.  Relaxation helps to level your mind and boost your emotional wellbeing, working to make you more likely to respond to things in a healthy way.

Relaxation helps keep our body out of that fight, flight or freeze mode we talked about before.  It allows us to access the parts of our brain that controls our reasoning and logic.  Relaxation also works to keep us grounded, as opposed to all revved up and spinning out of control.   Ask yourself now when do you feel the most in control, when you are calm, relaxed and breathing slowly or when your heart is racing, you’re breathing fast and you are amped up?

It is important to clarify that relaxing does  not have to be the practice of sitting with self-awareness.  The do-nothing of meditation can actually be quite the challenge.  The goal in this section is find reprieve from challenge and for your mind, body, and spirit to rest so you can recharge your personal energy.

A Brief How To 

Perhaps you can think immediately of the best way to relax.  We recommend avoiding alcohol or recreational drugs, as these may help you feel relaxed initially but coming “down” from them usually means adverse reactions.  Using substances to manage your emotions also takes away your ability to manage them on your own.  It creates a dependence on something outside of yourself to manage your own thoughts and emotions.  Substances also often will distort, bury, or distract you from gaining true insight into your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

Here are a few things that you can do to relax in a healthy manner:

  • Read a book

Make Time 

The idea of taking time to just relax may seem overwhelming.  Maybe you feel you don’t have enough time in the day.  We will talk about time management later but for now let’s focus on making relaxing a priority.  Set aside a half hour to relax after work.  Try waking up earlier to start your day with some time relaxing.  Ensuring that your mind and body are in a good, sound state reduces the likeliness of unhealthy communication and reduces your emotional sensitivity.

Communicate with others at home in order to let them know how important your relaxation is.  Offer others free time to relax as well.


Try four of the activities listed above to relax.  Take thirty minutes for each activity to practice relaxing over the next four days.  Try tensing and then relaxing your muscles before drifting to sleep.  Start at the top of your head and work your way down your body, moving down to your face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, back, chest, stomach, legs and feet.  Take note of how it feels.

Write down relaxing methods you really enjoy.

Keep track of your anger and successes and setbacks.


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Respecting Others

We have talked in depth about self-acceptance and positive self-talk.  We have talked about boosting self-esteem and creating boundaries to maintain when dealing with others. These are all ingredients necessary to cultivating self-respect. We’ll end our exploration of Domestic Violence with some thoughts on respecting other human individuals.

But how can you respect others?

One way is to communicate assertively and not lead people on, manipulate them, or be verbally abusive to them.

How to Show Respect

Respecting and empathizing with others goes hand-in-hand, so you will encounter some things in this section you are already familiar with.   You must be authentic when you display respect to others.  This means maintaining a non-judgmental, non-criticizing perspective.

Here are some ways you can do that:

  • Remember everyone is different.  They have lived different lives, they view things differently, and they communicate differently.  Embrace differences as not better or worse but just differences.
  • Listen.  Stay focused on their words, posture, and tone of voice.  Listen actively.  If you feel you don’t understand, ask!
  • Remain open-minded.  Accept things, agree to disagree, and receive any criticism as feedback.
  • View the situation from their side of things.  How would you feel if you were them?  How else could you view this situation?  What else could be going on?
  • Be polite.
  • Be accepting, not just of the positive traits of people but of the less desirable traits as well.  Accepting does not mean you have to change your boundaries or standards but accept that other people are entitled to be who they are.
  • If you feel you may be stepping over another person’s boundaries, then ask.  Listen and notice if the other person is showing signs of discomfort or discontentment.

Remember that everyone deserves respect, no matter their job, their income, or their way of living.  Everyone is unique and we are all humans trying to live on the same planet.  Respecting everyone will open opportunities that may not have otherwise been available to you and will help in your communication with others.  It will also help problem solve, resolve conflicts, and build strong, fulfilling relationships.


Show more warmth and compassion towards others than you normally would.  Try not to be overbearing, but going out of your way to make a kind gesture can be really satisfying.

Practice listening mindfully to everyone who speaks with you.  Give them your full attention.  Read over the list above.

Make room in your day for relaxing and for practicing self-awareness and breathing.

Track your anger and rate it.

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Office: 347-246-7133
FAX: 347-246-7133