Managing one’s emotions by learning to understand them can feel overwhelming. It can be easy to get caught up in the feeling without being confident in your next right step. While this can be due to a lack of coping mechanisms, it can also be due to a lack of awareness. We may not realize anger can be an underlying emotion rather than a primary one when we feel irritable, frustrated, or unhappy with ourselves. Understanding our emotional ranges, norms and experiences can help to validate our own experiences and encourage more sustainable management techniques for when we feel angry in the future.
Here are a few things to think about that can help you to understand the process and possible benefits to your mental health of managing your anger and other emotions healthfully.
Avoiding Your Emotions May Lead To Suppression
Repressing instead of expressing it when you’re angry can lead to an explosive emotional response. Instead of reaching a solution through these moments of emotional catharsis, they may lead to feelings of self-defeat—possibly adding further complications to your emotional landscape. Additionally, holding onto your anger could lead to physical, emotional or spiritual harm within yourself.
This can be combatted with healthy emotional sharing techniques that are rooted in communication. For example: If you want support from someone and it is safe to do so, you might consider telling them what you need, how they can help if they choose to and why you may be experiencing these frustrating emotions.
Understanding Your Emotions Can Allow For Honest Personal Assessment
Venting your anger as it appears can be a healthy start that can prevent emotional repression. However, understanding why you're upset can allow for more effective redirection of your response.
You may know more about your emotional state and management techniques than you think. For example: You might choose to take a few deep breaths to help you to calm down when your temper is boiling. You may also be aware that getting caught up in emotions may prevent you from clearly seeing the situation leading to false judgment, being unintentionally hurt or misinterpreting another's feelings.
If you’re in the beginning stages of understanding your emotions, there can be first steps to take that can help you to feel more in-control and aware. For example: You may choose to determine what is causing your anger by assessing the situation and your feelings. You can then ask yourself why you're feeling angry, understand the problem logically and consider how to communicate your feelings without hostility. Then, you may feel more empowered to determine what you want to accomplish and take practical actions to achieve the goal.
These types of practical internal narrations and dialogue can lead to a healthier emotional processing process and can help you to avoid emotional repression.
Let’s take a look at a few helpful ways you can remain introspective and efficient as you work to master and truly know your feelings and emotions.
Recognizing And Preventing Triggers Can Lead To A Reduction In Hostile Behavior
Does your body send signals before you have an angry outburst? These physical signs can be a first-line indication of anger in many. If you begin to feel physical symptoms of anger, you may choose to take a time out from the situation when things are escalating.
As you do, you can practice recognizing physical signs before anger strikes such as muscle tension, heavy breathing, headaches, trouble concentrating and increased pulse before they escalate to emotional extremes.
A possible benefit to being aware of how your body reacts to anger-related triggers is that it can allow you to take steps to calm down before the tension reaches a breaking point—such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation techniques. massaging tense areas, stretching or stepping outside for fresh air.
You may also consider patterns that can lead to anger in your life, taking steps to limit exposure to those triggers. Certain patterns that can be especially triggering can include placing the blame elsewhere, jumping to conclusions or overthinking certain elements of a situation.
Opening Up To Others Can Help You To Manage Your Anger
In many cases, if you're used to keeping things bottled up, resolving the conflict may feel difficult to do. Choosing to think about the situation alone can cause more emotional distress initially, which can prompt more feelings of anger. If you are able to do it, however, giving others a chance to assist could provide a new perspective on the situation that can open the door to forgiveness and a peaceful mindset.
You are generally the person who knows you the best. Remaining receptive to your needs at every step of this process can help you to have a more fulfilling emotional experience.
Observing Viewpoints Of Others With An Open Mind Can Help You To Release Feelings Of Anger
While you don't have to accept the opinion of others, you may find benefit from trying to be respectful. As you do this, you may find that you learn that you don't have to come out on top after every argument, and you don't have to have the final say to have a valid viewpoint. Rather, you can know when to let go by agreeing to disagree. This can help you to avoid offending others by acknowledging their feelings, while staying truthful to your personal experiences and viewpoint. Being open to understanding others in this way can help you build skills that can help you to resolve conflicts, as you practice practical ways to respond in emotional duress.
Accepting How Your Emotions Affect You Can Reduce Internal Strain
Some forms of anger may not be "bad" or a "problem." Self-shaming dialogue can cause more harm than good, which is why it can be more helpful for many to accept their emotional experience rather than run from it. Often, our emotions go beyond a single dimension and can point to unaddressed needs or invalidated feelings.
For example: Feelings of anger don't always mean that you’re acting out or feeling bitter about something. These feelings of anger can also surface when you’re standing up for your feelings and accepting your unique voice.
Accepting this experience, rather than shaming yourself for feelings of anger, can lead to a more validating moment in your emotional journey. It can also show you the range of emotional experiences that can occur, offering you further insight into your own emotional management process.
Exploring New Emotional Concepts Can Facilitate Change
For many, this step may look like learning productive steps to take to eliminate energy related to unproductive or inappropriate feelings of anger. Engaging in activities such as mindfulness exercises, meditation and anger management can be helpful here.
Connecting With Professionals For Help: How Can Online Therapy Support Anger Management Efforts?
Engaging in online therapy options can empower you to explore ways in which you can manage your emotions. You can then use what you learn to create a plan for handling future conflicts and emotional strain, possibly supporting a higher quality of life for yourself. While you can also do this in an in-person therapeutic setting, many may not feel ready for that step—as it entails being vulnerable with a new person in a completely unfamiliar environment.
In this case, online therapy can be helpful—eliminating the strain and shame that can occur when you’re attempting to be emotionally transparent in a new environment.
While online therapy can be helpful, others may appreciate learning how those supportive strategies can make an impact.
Online therapists who teach anger management techniques can offer tools, resources, understanding and kindness in the face of difficulties with anger in a safe and peaceful environment—such as your home or another safe place.
Is Online Therapy Effective For Those Living With Anger?
Online therapy has been clinically suggested to be just as effective as in-person therapy for a variety of mental health conditions and states—including when it comes to anger and emotional management. A study published through the Karolinska Institutet has found that just four weeks of online therapeutic intervention helped to lower instances of clinical participant experiences and outbursts related to feelings of anger.
Encouragement: Learning Constructive Anger Management Can Take Patience
Making changes to how you handle your emotions might not happen overnight. It can be helpful to shift your expectations and goals, choosing instead to take things a day at a time—fully engaging in whatever therapeutic task lies ahead of you. Practicing new methods regularly can make your experience more productive and fulfilling.
If you’re not sure where to start with this process, you may consider spending time analyzing your anger—working to understand what causes it and how it can affect your life. You can then allow yourself time to adjust to new habits and adopt new ways of thinking that might encourage more emotionally productive behaviors. You can also assess how you handled the situation by keeping a journal of your actions.
What If Someone You Know Needs Help?
What happens if you’re reading this article for someone else? For example: Maybe you've noticed someone you know having issues controlling their anger.
It is important to prioritize your personal emotional, physical and mental safety first at every point in this process. It can also be helpful to remember that you may not be able to help them to effectively control their outbursts. However, you might be able to set boundaries to deal with the situation as you assist them in working through some of the steps listed above. As you do this, you may choose to let them know what you will and will not tolerate to keep yourself safe.
If or when you want to address any concern about their anger-related experiences, you might choose to do so when both of you are calm. If they aren’t able to calm down during their episode of anger, you may consider leaving the situation and getting some space. It can be helpful to remember that you can always remove yourself if you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or threatened in a situation.
As you move through this process, you might consider continuing to encourage your friend or family member to seek professional help for their anger—letting them know you support the idea if you feel safe to do so.
In this sense, online therapy can support a more fulfilling experience in one’s emotional well-being, including if you feel like you struggle with anger issues. With the added “distance” of online therapy, many people might feel more comfortable sharing things that they might not be willing to mention in other, more personal 1:1 scenarios. BetterHelp can connect you with an online therapist in your area of need.
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