Use Psychological Distancing to Deal With Your Anger

Besides the fact that people are incredibly frustrated that our modern society is essentially destroyed by a virus, people have many other reasons to be angry right now. Whether it’s because they feel their personal freedom is under threat from the requirements for a face mask, or they fail to grasp the fact that people won’t do something as simple as wearing a face mask. to save lives – most people are pretty annoyed. And if yelling into your phone to play outdoors in Iceland didn’t help, here’s another technique worth trying: psychological distancing to handle your anger.

How to practice psychological distancing

If you have been in therapy at some point in your life, chances are you have received some type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This common method involves working with a therapist to help you identify and challenge your negative and / or imprecise thinking patterns so you can handle difficult situations and emotions more effectively. But as David Robson points out in a recent BBC Future article , it might even be easier thanks to psychological distancing.

According to Robson, the practice of psychological distancing “can involve imagining yourself looking back, provoking an event at some point in the future, or putting yourself in the shoes of a friend and asking yourself how they can advise you to respond.” In other words, pretend you are a character in a Charles Dickens novel, and you have the opportunity to look ahead to your potential behavior and then act accordingly. No, psychological distancing won’t magically make your anger disappear, but it can help you deal with it and process it more productively.

Another option is to talk about yourself in the third person when you are angry, and imagine that in this situation you are advising a friend, not yourself. This will give you some distance from the incident – and ideally more clarity – to help you approach the source of your anger in a healthier way.


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