This week is Well-Being Week. If you are feeling frustrated with the challenges of the new learning environment, anxious about plans for Christmas or just completely fed up with your house mates, then now might be a good time to get some advice about how to manage these feelings.
Here Justine Devenney, Student Support and Guidance Tutor for the School of Architecture and Design shares some practical advice to help students over the weeks and months ahead (whatever they may bring.)
Managing Anger and Frustration.
These are challenging times for students both academically and personally. We’ve all had moments of anger and frustration which get misdirected at housemates, friends or family.
We know anger is rarely a helpful reaction and will often regret things said or done in anger, but what can you do when there feels like there actually a lot to be frustrated about? This guidance outlines some practical strategies. These may be effective in helping you find more constructive ways of dealing with strong emotions, through these challenging times.
Worried about how to manage your anger?
- First take a step back and reflect on ‘why’ you’re angry. By trying to address what you are ‘really’ cross about you can take the first step to sorting out the problem that is behind the outburst.
- Once you have worked out ‘some’ of what you’re feeling angry about you can start taking control of your situation. It can help to write down ideas and feelings as a first step to getting some perspective.
- When you feel anger building or an outburst coming on take a breath and count to 10.This can stop you from reacting too quickly. Count to 10 as soon as you notice you’re having an angry reaction. This can be enough time to pause before speaking or shouting. Ask yourself is it really a good idea to express your first thought. Take time to calm yourself and reconsider.
- Listen to the other person. If you’re angry about something someone did or said listening to their perspective may help. If you can understand their view on the problem, hopefully you can work out what can be done differently in the future. So be prepared to listen. You might want to discuss with someone neutral who can see both sides.
- Be prepared to say sorry, or that you were wrong, sometimes holding on to resentment just makes things worse. Letting things go even if you still feel angry can be the way forward.
- When you feel angry try and breathe deeply and slowly. Really think about how you are breathing. This can help calm you down. It also takes your attention away from your anger, just like when you count to 10.
- Take some space/time out. Walking away from a situation can sometimes prevent overreacting too quickly. It gives you some time to breathe and think about other choices you can make. If you need to return to the issue that caused the problem – maybe plan what you want to say by writing it down. A bit of space can help you see things more clearly.
- Try some self-talk. Self-talk means that you say to yourself the sort of things you might say to a good friend “Come on, it’s not that bad,” or “Let it go.” “Calm down” Try repeating such phrases when you first notice anger is building.
- Lighten up – life is complicated enough at the moment. Ask yourself ….is this really worth getting angry about? Can you find humour in the situation? In the bigger scheme of things does it really matter? Remember, though, that if you are involved in an angry situation with someone else, they may not think it’s funny at the same time you do. It usually works best if you can laugh at yourself rather than someone else.
- Change the dynamic – there are things you can do to try to prevent anger from building up in the first place. These are not quick fixes but if practiced regularly do help change negative behaviours.
- Practice deep breathing.
- Take regular exercise and get outside to get rid of built frustrations/boredom.
- Make playlists to listen to, to change your mood – cheer you up or relax you.
- When you feel frustrated – switch to doing something different for a while.
- Keep connected with people who know you well and who you trust.
These tips and strategies may help you find more constructive ways of dealing with anger and frustration. Sometimes though despite your best effort anger issues might escalate into aggression or negative patterns of behaviour. If anger is affecting your ability to study or feel safe there are various support services within the University that may be able to help you.
If you are worried about your anger or someone’s behaviour posing a danger to yourself or others do speak to your Student Support and Guidance Tutor firstname.lastname@example.org who will be able to refer you to further support.
Services that can help
The Residential Life Team can help with difficult issues in Halls. https://www.brighton.ac.uk/brighton-students/your-student-life/my-wellbeing/residential-life/index.aspx
The Counselling and Well Being Service can provide time-limited counselling to help you overcome difficulties and hopefully enjoy better mental health and wellbeing throughout your studies. https://www.brighton.ac.uk/brighton-students/your-student-life/my-wellbeing/need-to-speak-to-someone/index.aspx
Togetherall provides a safe space online to get things off your chest, explore your feelings, get creative and learn how to self-manage your mental health and wellbeing.
The Disclosure Response Team. If you are experiencing any form of harassment, discrimination, violence or abuse, please know that you do not need to suffer in silence. You can disclose an incident to us, either with your name or anonymously. If you identify yourself, our Disclosure Response Team can then help you get the support you need. You can also disclose an incident that you have witnessed. https://www.brighton.ac.uk/brighton-students/your-student-life/my-wellbeing/violence-and-abuse/index.aspx