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Wednesday 21 March 2018

How to Go From Anger to Calm

When you're in the midst of being upset with your child and your face gets redder and redder by the second and your heartbeat throbs at a quicker rate, how do you stop the escalation and immediately bring your whole body back to a calm state? How do you go from anger to instant calm?

Below are some of the ways from the sunnah and science.

1. Seek refuge with Allah

Train yourself to say, "A'uthu billahi minnashaytan-nirajeem" upon being angry. It is hard to think of anything else when all you can think about is your anger. But if you can remember to seek refuge with Allah from shaytan then it's the first step to calm.

Narrated Sulaiman bin Surd: While I was sitting in the company of the Prophet, two men abused each other and the face of one of them became red with anger, and his jugular veins swelled (i.e. he became furious). On that the Prophet said, "I know a word, the saying of which will cause him to relax, if he does say it. If he says: 'I seek Refuge with Allah from Satan.' then all is anger will go away." (Al Bukhari)

2. Take deep breaths

When your heart is racing then you need to bring it back to a normal beat. The quickest way to do this is to do deep breathing. As you breathe in slowly with your nose, the large amount of oxygen that comes in and fill up your lungs raises your abdomen. As you slowly breathe out through your mouth, the carbon dioxide gets released and this whole process slows your heartbeat and relaxes your body.

In addition, if you concentrate on your breathing: your inhaling and exhaling and how many counts it takes you to do both then it will help you to redirect your thoughts. The more you think about your anger then the angrier you'll become. So when you can focus on something else other than your anger, it will go away. 

There are different ways to count to help you do deep breathing. You can inhale for a count of 4 and hold for a count of 4. Then exhale for a count of 4 and hold for another count of 4 until you repeat again for at least 5 rounds. Another way is to breath in as you con=unt for 10 then breathe out as you count for 10. Do this at least 3 times.

3. Remember that Allah is watching you

We tend to forget that Allah is watching us and that our actions are recorded daily. If you can remember Allah then you will not likely react to your anger. You will remember the importance of being patience with your child. Allah says in the Quran:
Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest. (Quran 13:28)
The above 3 steps are for when you're in the moment of anger and you need to calm down quickly. If you haven't calmed down after these quick steps then tell your child that you need a few more minutes to regroup and continue with the discussion. Take a step away from your child and do these next steps:

4. Make wudu

Go quickly to make wudu and cool yourself down. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Anger comes from the devil, the devil was created from fire, and fire is extinguished only with water. So when one of you becomes angry, he should make wudu.”

5. Find a quiet place to sit or lie down

In order for you to find your calm, you need to go and find somewhere quiet to sit or lie down. The Prophet of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "When one of you becomes angry while standing, he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise he should lie down." (Sunan Abi Dawud)

The purpose is not for you to keep thinking about your anger because mulling over it will only make you more angry. The purpose is to really reach a place of calm where all your anger is gone before you come back to your child to brainstorm a solution.

6. Use imagery to travel to your calm place.

Once you've found somewhere quiet to sit or lie down then you can use imagery to focus your thoughts on calm rather than your anger. Imagery is where you picture in your mind a calming scene like a mountain, meadow, rainforest, island beach - whatever is a calming place for you. You need to use all your senses to imagine it so you'd imagine what it looks it, sounds like, tastes like, feels like on your skin and body, and smells like.

Using imagery has been found to increase dopamine levels so you will feel more relaxed and happy. Once you've reached your calm place then you can come back to your child and have a more reasonable talk with him about his action and then try to get him to come up with ways with finding a solution to his action.

These are the 6 steps that should take you to a calm place so you can be logical and reasonable in your response. Remember to do the first three immediately then continue with the next three if you need to.

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