How to manage your anger? 10 techniques that work.

Oct 3, 2014Counselling

No matter how old you are, things are likely going to happen in life that might push your buttons and make you want to scream. Expressing anger and letting your emotions out is a great way to relieve stress and say what you have on your mind.

However, many people deal with stress and anger in a very different ways. If you do not have control over your anger, it may become something that is detrimental to your family and personal friendships. It could even become an issue at the workplace and it’s possible you could lose your job. Therefore, here are some tips to consider for how you can manage your anger.

1. Take the Time to Relax

It’s ironic that we teach children to count to 10 to gather their emotions, but that lesson seems to go out the window once we get a bit older. However, taking the time to gather your thoughts and calm down can be a great way to control your anger. During this time, you can evaluate and rationalize your thoughts. This can then be incredibly helpful for then approaching the situation that made you angry with a clear head as to why you feel the way that you do. This will then allow you to express your feelings better, which will have a positive influence on trying to get your point across to the person or situation that upset you.

2. Create Some Solutions

During the time that you are taking to relax, it might be helpful that you write down how you feel. A thought-web or anger journal can help you make note of the issues that you’ve experienced and emotions that you’ve felt, as well as what may set you off at any given moment. Not everyone has the time to write things down immediately, due to work and other obligations. However, if the anger is brewing inside of you all day long, consider writing it down once you get home in the evening. That will help you sleep easier and avoid being angry the following day.

3. Don’t Place Blame

People may do things that make you annoyed or angry. However, it is you that has to accept the fact that it’s bothering you. You can start with “I” statements to determine why the situation makes you angry, in order to better deal with it in your mind. That doesn’t meant that you take all of the blame for the problem, but learning why it upsets you or makes you angry is a great way to get to the root of the problem.

4. Take Your Mind Off of It

Exercise is a great way to relax and blow off some steam. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone who gets angry likes to run on the treadmill or hit the gym. Instead, find what it is that you like doing, whether it be listening to music, playing video games, drawing, reading or anything else. If you can let your mind relax by doing something that you like, then you likely won’t be stewing over whatever it was that made you angry. Anger is a natural emotion that everyone feels. However, it’s important to make sure that it doesn’t become an unnatural and overblown problem. Therefore, consider these tips for managing your anger and you can start working to be better with emotional management.

5. Develop Coping Strategies

Anger is a coping strategy. While some individuals may withdraw or bottle up their emotions when faced with certain stress, you may instead project that outward as anger. This is the mind defending itself. Developing new coping strategies and defence mechanisms can be very useful in overcoming anger. One popular coping mechanism is humour. It can be hard to stop taking yourself so seriously, but it is an easy decision to make if it’s a choice between lashing out our laughing. There are other coping mechanisms, of course, and you’ll have to find one that works well for you. A long walk might help. Some people like to take long drives when they are angry. This may or may not be constructive. It’s counter-productive to wallow in anger. A walk may be better simply because there’s more to look at than pavement.

6. Take a Breath and Identify the True Cause

If you can’t identify a source of the anger directly, then the issue may simply be generalised stress in your life. If you’re lashing out about something to your partner, for example, take the time to see if what you’re angry about is legitimate. It can be difficult to do this in the heat of an argument; it takes practice like any other useful skill. If you find that what you’re arguing about is something trivial, think about the bigger picture and take stock of your life. Anger can always be harnessed in healthy ways, and more often than not if you take a step back you may find out that the real cause of your anger is something that was in your blind side the whole time. Sometimes anger works like electricity: it passes through people like wires. If you’re angry at someone, think about the last time someone was angry at you. Odds are that you’re passing that anger along if you can think of someone right away.

7. Identify your Triggers

You need to identify what triggers your anger or outbursts. This goes hand-in-hand with identifying the true cause of your anger. They are slightly different, though, because you need to be in a calm state to identify your triggers. By their nature, triggers can’t be recognized in real time. If you’ve followed the tip above about writing things down or keeping a journal, give it a look over every once in a while. You’ll likely be able to pull out patterns. Remember that anger is not always directed at it’s true source, so there are actually two types of triggers.

There are triggers for anger and there are triggers for outbursts. It can be useful to identify the triggers for your anger, but it is extremely practical and helpful to identify as many outburst triggers as you can. If you find that you lash out whenever your son doesn’t finish his homework, for example, you can learn to control yourself so you aren’t hurting someone you love when they have nothing to do with what is really angering you.

8. Turn the Feedback Around

If you are the type of person who almost always feels some level of anger or hostility, consider this: is it logical for you to feel that way constantly? It’s not healthy to live with that kind of pent-up hostility all the time, and it really is only a matter of time before you turn it either inward or outward. Anger tends to be destructive when it reaches critical mass. You know how ugly it can get.

One way to fight against this constant undercurrent is to break the cycle. Anger is a lot like the feedback you hear from speakers too close to a microphone. It starts off slow: the microphone picks up the signal from the speaker. The sound comes out of the speaker and is picked up again by the microphone. It goes on and on in this cycle until it very rapidly becomes a deafening noise that makes it impossible to focus on anything else. You need to break that cycle, even if you have to do it artificially. In the case with the microphone and the speaker, one way to break the loop without unplugging either is to put another sound into the microphone. You need to do that with your psyche.

Focus on another emotion. Make it a goal every day to find something to laugh about. Or find something that reminds you of love, or friendship, or something positive. If you wear a smile on your face, you will eventually become happy.

9. Remember that Anger is Healthy

Anger is a healthy emotion to have. Not all anger is dangerous or “bad” in some way. In fact, anger can be a positive force in your life if you use it properly. Don’t beat yourself up over your anger. Instead, take a step back, remember that anger is a healthy emotion, and try to identify the source of the anger. You may not get rid of the anger. You may not even short-circuit an outburst or prevent a fight. But you will probably gain some insight. Use your anger.

10. Let Other People Know

You should let the people around you who care about you know that you are working on your anger issues. Everybody has a unique way of dealing with anger, and usually people are willing to share. At the very least, they’ll know that you are trying to improve and that you are aware of the problem. It will make your apologies more meaningful and constructive. You will, of course, have to stick to your word.

If you apologize for something to someone, stop doing it. With the help and support of your loved ones, you can become a less angry person. You will feel much better as you start to let go of those burdens, and the people around you will be happy to help. It’ll make their lives better too. Keep that in mind and you’ll have all the inspiration you need.

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