Controlling anger before it controls you
Many people think that anger management is about learning to suppress your anger. …
The true goal of anger management isn’t to suppress feelings of anger, but rather to understand the message behind the emotion and express it in a healthy way without losing control
What is anger?
Anger is an emotional reaction towards someone or something that you feel has deliberately done something wrong to you.
It is a basic emotion but when its frequency, intensity and duration increase it is characterized as dysfunctional.
Anger management includes skills that help to recognize the triggers for anger as early as possible and expressing these feelings and frustrations in a cool, calm and collected way.
Effects of anger
Chronic anger can have serious consequences for your health:
- Physical health. Constant anger keeps your body in the state of fight and flight with an elevated level of stress. High stress and anger make you vulnerable to heart diseases, diabetes, hypertension, and insomnia.
- Mental health. Anger maintains a storm of negative thoughts in your mind which consumes a lot of your mental energy with a continuous decrease in your thinking and concentration ability. Chronic anger can cause stress, depression, sleep issues, and other mental health problems.
- Relationships. Anger can cause bitterness in relationships with friends, kids, family, and colleagues. People feel uncomfortable and hesitate to talk to an angry person.
- Career. Angry reactions to someone at the workplace erodes element of respect and hinders your future progress in the professional career.
Here are the ways to manage your anger
How to know your anger level
Anger thermometer is a tool that helps you to recognize and understand the anger.
Anger level is measured by rating your feelings when you get angry on the thermometer from 1 to 10 and describe what you feel when you get angry.
Identifying the warning signs of anger
So as to manage anger we should first identify the warning signs that is, the physical and behavioral responses to anger.
With insight about the causes of anger, the management techniques would function better.
Becoming aware of your personal anger signs helps you to take steps to keep your anger under control.
Practice Deep Breathing exercise
Deep breathing is inhaling slowly through nose while counting to four, pause for four counts, and then slowly breathe out through the mouth; counting to six.
Repeating the sequence will create maximum relaxation and reduces the stress that can turn into anger.
The best technique to manage anger is by distracting yourself in the situation of anger.
You can deviate your attention from anger provoking stimulus by counting backward from 30 to 0.
You may start at 100 if you feel blown.
Go for a walk
Walking exercise releases mood enhancing hormones and helps to gain control over your mind and reduces anger, stress.
Muscle relaxation exercise
Progressive muscle relaxation exercise (16 PMR) stretches and relaxes 16 muscles of your body to release tension.
It is coupled with slow deep breathing with repetition of phrases that relaxes you for example, “Relax”, “Take it easy”, “You will feel better”.
Anger coping thoughts
You can encourage yourself that you are in charge of your anger by saying anger coping statements to yourself.
Some examples are:
Take it easy!
I can handle this!
Maybe they want to make me angry. I’m going to disappoint them.
I can control my anger. Yes I have full control over my body and emotions.
Weighing the costs and benefits of anger helps you reflect on the disadvantages of anger on your health, personality, and relationships.
You may also see https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/anger-management/art-20045434.
Tear your anger into little pieces
Writing out your feelings, thoughts emotions when you get angry could be effective as it helps to let go of the feelings and disturbing thoughts from your mind on the paper.
Then tear it into little pieces and “throw the anger away.”
You can also imagine that your anger is slowly leaving you In little pieces as you throw it in the trash.
Some people find drawing to be relaxing. You can draw your anger and throw it away afterwards.
An effective strategy for improving emotional awareness is by recording relevant events in your anger diary.
It will help to keep a record of when you became angry, and for what reasons, which can help you understand the anger more comprehensively.
Shortly, anger diary will help you to recognize your temper before it reaches explosive levels.
Think before you speak
Count to 10 before you speak. Give yourself a time before you respond/speak.
This time will help you be calmer and more concise.
Find the most immediate solution
You might be angry that your child has once again left their room a mess before going to visit a friend.
You can shut the door; temporarily end your anger by putting it out of your view.
Look for similar resolutions in any situation.
It is an extremely useful and concrete relaxation technique that helps you to calm down, release stress and helping you to become aware of your mind-body connections.
Punch a pillow
If you are really angry and feel incapacitated to control it and want to express the anger then do pillow punching.
It will release your excess energy without causing harm to yourself and others.
Listen to music
Let music drive your anger away. Listen to your favorite music to relax you and lighten your mood.
Humor helps to reduce tension by lightening the situation.
Using humor also helps you to face your anger and deal with it in a lighter mood but avoid sarcasm.
Talk to someone you trust
Talking to a friend, siblings or anyone you love releases stress. You just need a good listening ear.
Expressing your feelings, thoughts, and perspective will make you ease and reduces your anger.
Take a good sleep
Lack of proper sleep continues the cycle of negative thoughts and makes you feel more agitated, stressed and short-tempered.
Seven to nine hours of sleep is considered a good quality sleep.
Avoid alcohol and drugs
Drugs lower your inhibitions and make it difficult for you to control anger.
Even high level of caffeine makes you irritable and prone to anger.
You can prevent an outburst by rehearsing what you’re going to say or how will approach the problem in future.
This rehearsal gives you time to role-play numerous possible solutions.
Imagine forgiving the other person
It is difficult to resolve a conflict without forgiving the person.
Imagine yourself forgiving the person, it assists you to at least think in lighter frame of mind about that person and lowers your anger towards them.
Try to gain perspective by putting yourself at other person’s place and think that now your anger is rationalized or not.
Practice good listening skills
Listening will help to improve communication by developing feelings of trust among people.
Good listening skills can assist you in dealing with hostile emotions.
This approach clarifies misunderstandings without getting into fight.
Seek help before you cross bottom line
Anger is an emotion experienced by everyone but if your anger turns to aggression and outburst, you need to find ways to deal with it.
Controlling anger is a challenge for everyone at times initially.
If you don’t find these tips helpful then consult a therapist or mental health practitioner who would work on underlying factors that contribute to anger and other emotional issues.
Anger is completely a normal human emotion but when it gets out of control it becomes destructive leading to various issues in personal and interpersonal relationships and health problems.
But we can manage anger by keeping control on our body, practicing deep muscle relaxation, distracting our mind, monitoring our thoughts, adding music, drawing, sports and humor in our life.
Also, think before you speak, keep a record of your anger, identify warning signs, release excess energy through exercise, avoid drug abuse, talk to a trustworthy person, find immediate positive solution, improve your communication skills, have a good sleep and consult a mental health practitioner if your anger is getting out of control.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is anger a mental health problem?
Feelings of anger or violent acting out can be related to many different underlying difficulties including depression, anxiety, addictions and other mental health problems.
What is anger issues a symptom of?
Emotional Symptoms of Anger-Related Problems
Constant irritability, rage and anxiety are possible emotional symptoms.
If you feel overwhelmed, have trouble organizing or managing your thoughts or fantasize about hurting yourself or others, you could be experiencing an anger disorder or another issue.
How can I control my short temper?
20 Effective Ways to Control a Bad Temper
Take a timeout. If you feel your temper slowly rising, remove yourself from the situation completely.
Don’t carry your temper. …
Keep a journal. …
Practice relaxation techniques. …
Take a walk. …
Take a class you enjoy. …
Change your mindset. …
Why do I get so angry so fast?
In other cases, an anger problem may be caused by early trauma or events in a person’s life that have shaped their personality.
In some cases, hormonal changes can also cause anger, as can certain mental disorders
What can I do to stop being angry?
Here are seven easy ways to stop feeling angry.
Exercise. Anger is – at base – an energy that expresses itself in and through the body. …
Use your anger as motivation to make a change. …
Watch or listen to something funny. …
Shift your focus. …
Do something — anything! …
Write it out.
How do I control my anger outbursts?
Start by considering these 10 anger management tips.
Think before you speak. …
Once you’re calm, express your anger. …
Get some exercise. …
Take a timeout. …
Identify possible solutions. …
Stick with ‘I’ statements. …
Don’t hold a grudge. …
Use humor to release tension.
What are anger triggers?
There are many common triggers for anger, such as losing your patience, feeling as if your opinion or efforts aren’t appreciated, and injustice.
Other causes of anger include memories of traumatic or enraging events and worrying about personal problems.
Are anger issues genetic?
University of Pittsburgh researchers have found that behaviors such as anger, hostility and aggression may be genetic, rooted in variations in a serotonin receptor gene.
How do I know I need anger management?
Everyone can benefit from anger management but we are not aware of the tools and techniques to do so.
Some common behavioral signs that show you need to manage anger are:
– You get into argue easily
– You blame others for anything that went wrong
– You are impulsive and react to situations
– You easily get frustrated, agitated, and intolerant
– You are revengeful
– You are defensive and feels other people trigger you all the time
Is anger management a kind of therapy?
No. anger management is psycho-educating someone.
This means we teach you tools, practices, and coping strategies then enable you to handle challenges and feel in control.
These techniques are effective and help to bring a positive change in you with every passing day.
Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below.
Faupel, A., Herrick, E., & Sharp, P. M. (2017). Anger Management: A Practical Guide for Teachers. Routledge.
Health line “How to control Anger”
Hall, T. M., Kaduson, H. G., & Schaefer, C. E. (2002). Fifteen effective play therapy techniques. Professional psychology: Research and practice, 33(6), 515.
Anger management: 10 tips to tame your temper. (2018, May 4). Retrieved from Mayo clinic “Anger management art”
Holland, K. (2019, September 13). How to Control Anger: 25 Tips to Manage Your Anger and Feel Calmer. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/how-to-control-anger.
Nelson III, W. M., Finch Jr, A. J., & Ghee, A. (2012). Anger management with children and adolescents.