I was taught the same method so you’re not alone. However, there is a better counting technique that actually does work to de-escalate your anger. Anger is the result of adrenaline rushing into the bloodstream. When this happens, the heart rate jumps from the normal resting bpm to an escalated mid-range level. The mid-level is often identified as the Optimal Zone to push you to take action. Athletics want to get into The Zone to have peak performance, and it can also work in your favor for work performance.
Adrenaline is a natural hormone that motivates us to take action. However, when too much enters our bloodstream too quickly, it can have a negative affect and we enter the Crisis Zone, where our heart rate jumps to over 175 bpm. That is a very scary thing to experience because clear thinking stops and we’ll do and say things that are totally out of character. We call this the Fight or Flight Zone and it never ends well. When the heart rate returns to normal, there is plenty of damage control needed.
Cycle Breathing is an easy technique to learn and can be mastered by all age levels. It is breathing in through your nose while slowly counting to 4, holding your breath for 2 counts, and then slowly exhaling through your mouth to the count of 4. Repeat this 4-2-4 Cycle Breathing for 1 – 2 minutes. Your adrenaline will remain at a normal level and you will be able to handle the stressful situation.
Caution: It’s never too early to start Cycle Breathing, but if you wait too late to begin, your diaphragm will be too constricted to permit a deep breath.