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When the temperature heats up outside, oftentimes, so do our tempers. As busy people with hectic schedules, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by emotion when stressful situations arise.  We asked renowned clinical psychologist Dr. Dianne Bohorquez to off some advice about the importance of keeping your cool.  Here’s what she shared with us.

Cool It! Essential Tips on Stress and Anger Management

By Dr. Dianne Bohorquez

Our emotional health is an important part of ‘quality of life’, which is a balance of different aspects of well-being.  Our emotions affect our moods, which affect how we react to the world around us consciously, (sometimes unconsciously).  Mental health has to do with our ability to “think clearly and feel deeply.”

It is important to remember that stress is a part of our everyday lives.  The best way to cope with stress is to manage it as soon as possible to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed by it.  You can manage stress by mentally preparing yourself when approaching a stressful situation and thinking about how you will resolve it.  Having a plan relieves some of the anxiety that gets created when we are dealing with stress.  Once you have an idea of how you are going to deal with the issue, you have greater control over that stressor.

Anger is a common emotion that can be difficult to let go of.  When we suppress anger rather than resolve it, we are making ourselves vulnerable to becoming bitter or resentful.  In some cases, a rage can develop that we potentially do not have the ability to contain.  Due to the connection between the mind and the body, physical symptoms will likely emerge such as high blood pressure, stomach problems, headaches, or neck and shoulder tension.

The first step to managing your anger is to acknowledge it and try to understand it.  Breathe deeply to allow yourself the opportunity to think clearly and to avoid acting impulsively.  Identify what triggered the anger, and ask yourself why you felt angry about it.  In most cases, anger is usually a reaction to some sort of inflicted hurt or pain.  Once you understand the core of what angered you, you can focus on what to do about it.  Talk to someone you trust and vent about your anger, or distract yourself from it by engaging in something that you enjoy like music, exercise etc.  If you need to step away from a situation, then do so, because you would be protecting yourself from giving in to anger.  If you still feel angry afterwards, remember that it may take time to get over your anger. Give yourself the space and time to recover.

Every individual has likely experienced moments of stress that they have successfully overcome, such as studying for a test or applying for a job.  When presented with a stressor, feel confidant in your ability to prevail over it by relying on positive experiences from the past in which you proved to yourself that you could overcome adversity.  Take a problem solving approach by identifying what the priorities are in the moment, and break them down into manageable steps.  Remember to allow some time to nurture yourself as well, to relax and reenergize so you are able to respond to the challenges at hand.

It is important to remember that the future is unknown, and that can be a good thing.  It gives us a chance to have hopes and motivate ourselves to make a change for the positive.  If you find yourself stuck in a bad day, remind yourself that tomorrow is a different day and you can try again to make it a good one. You truly are in charge of your happiness and if you find that you are not happy, think about why and what you need to do to change that.  Sometimes it is the simple things in life that we overlook that may truly be the key to staying positive.  You can maintain a positive outlook by acknowledging the positives that you do have and keeping an open mind to opportunities that reveal themselves around you.


[learn_more caption=”About the Expert:” state=”open”] Dr. Dianne Bohorquez is a clinical psychologist with a background in health psychology. She graduated from UCLA and received her doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Bohorquez has worked in various settings such as Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, City of Hope Medical Center, UCLA Center for Culture and Health, and community based agencies. Her clients have ranged in age from 3 years old to 96 years old. She has also worked in research and has co-authored articles examining quality of life in Latinas with cancer. Currently Dr. Bohorquez is working in various mental health programs that address the needs of the underserved.[/learn_more]

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