How To Get Rid Of Anger To Improve Your Life
Updated June 01, 2020
Reviewer Laura Angers
Do you seem to experience anger on a regular basis? Do you struggle to get through a normal day without feeling angry about something? Even if you're only experiencing minor irritation or anger, it could be interfering with your life. Rest assured that other people have experienced these same struggles, and there are ways to make things better. If you learn about your anger and where it's coming from, you can find better ways to manage it.
If you struggle with anger, you may feel that your emotions are out of control. It may be that you don't want to act out in anger, but it just seems to get the best of you. However, it's possible to learn how to control your anger in a healthy way, so you can improve every area of your life.
In this article, we'll discuss in detail things you can do to overcome your struggle with anger.
Is Your Anger A Problem?
Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. Everyone experiences anger to some degree at some point in life. You might feel angry at the car that cut you off on the road, the boss who overlooked you for a promotion, or the partner who cheated on you. These are all valid reasons to be angry, and the level of anger you experience is going to be unique to you. However, many people struggle with extreme anger.
If your anger feels out of control, please know that you are not alone. In fact, the Washington Post shared that 1 in 10 people struggle with anger. There are situations that would make anyone angry and upset, but if you experience anger that seems excessive or that makes you feel like you're losing control, it could be a sign of something more serious.
You might have a problem with anger, and you might need professional help to deal with it. That's okay. You might be surprised by how people need help learning to manage their anger.
How to Know When Anger Is a Problem
If anger is completely normal and people get angry in different ways, how are you supposed to know if you have an actual anger problem? Well, there are several symptoms of an anger disorder, including:
- Having difficulty calming yourself when you feel anger
- Getting frustrated with yourself during or after an argument
- Breaking objects or punching something during an argument
- Accusing others of doing things behind your back (even when they're not)
- Becoming violent or short-tempered in response to minor issues
In addition, you may have specific feelings or emotional symptoms as well. These can come about at any time and may vary in severity. They may also manifest in any combination and may not seem to have anything to do with your anger, even though it's likely related. These are:
- Lack of sleep
- Social isolation
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, especially if you're concerned you might have a problem with anger, it's a good idea to seek professional help.
Get Rid Of Anger The Healthy Way
How can you process your anger in a healthy way? The following ideas may help.
Find an Activity to Use Up Your Energy and Emotion
There are plenty of sports and other activities that can help you burn off anger, and there are others that might help you express yourself in a new way. Some people need an aggressive activity to vent anger; these people may find an outlet in sports like kickboxing or wrestling. On the other hand, some people prefer a softer approach. Maybe you like singing, dancing, drawing, or other forms of art to help you process your thoughts and feelings.
No matter what you prefer, the key is to find something you enjoy. It's going to be different for everyone, and it may require a little trial and error, but you can keep trying things until something works for you. Being good or bad at something doesn't mean it can't help you. You may be terrible at kickboxing, but if it helps you get rid of the anger, it's worth pursuing.
Discover Where Your Anger Is Coming From
If you already know that you're experiencing anger in an unhealthy way, it's important to look at ways to address the root cause of your anger. This will likely require some internal work, and a mental health professional can be a great resource.
First, however, make sure you recognize that there is a problem and are ready to do something about it. It's not going to happen overnight, but it can happen. Then, spend some time thinking about your anger. What usually triggers it? Is it related to a certain person or relationship? Does it usually happen at a specific time of day? Again, a qualified therapist can help you think through these questions, but you can also journal or talk to a trusted friend. If you figure out what's causing your anger, you can take steps to address it.
Learn to Delay Your Reactions
For many, it's important to stop anger before it spirals out of control. Calming down when you're feeling angry can be extremely difficult. If you have an anger disorder, it becomes even harder. Sometimes, catching yourself in the beginning makes a huge difference.
First, find a way to catch yourself in the act. When something happens that angers you, you might realize you're angry in half a second and then react just as quickly. If you take a moment to think or breathe before you act, you'll create some space to respond skillfully instead of reacting poorly. Consider taking several deep breaths or counting to ten if it helps create a short pause.
Chances are you already know that yelling and screaming aren't healthy ways to disagree with someone, and they usually don't solve the problem either. How do you react when someone yells or screams at you? You probably get defensive, right? Or you may retreat altogether. The same thing happens when you yell and scream at someone else. That's why it's important to learn how to disagree in a more productive way. Taking a breath before responding is a great place to begin.
That breath lets you think before you react out of instinct. It gives you a moment to process what was said or done and what was meant as well. Maybe your partner said one thing, but (since you know them) you know they meant something else or didn't mean to speak so harshly. If you take a moment to breathe, you'll remember that, and you'll be able to respond appropriately. You can calmly ask them what they really meant, or you could share how their words made you feel.
Learn to Communicate
When you're angry, you probably don't want to explode. Instead, you likely want to stop something from happening or let someone know that their behavior is unacceptable. Communicating clearly and effectively is the best way to make that happen.
If you let someone know that they've hurt you or made you angry, it gives them the opportunity to change things. Maybe they didn't realize the effect of their actions. Or maybe they did, and you'll need to set some boundaries. Either way, practice communicating your feelings.
First, you need to realize you're angry, and you need to take a breath, so you can calm down. Then you need to understand why you're angry. Find the specific reason, so you can share it with the other person. You'll want to describe what happened and say, "When you did that, I felt angry." At this point, you can't control how they respond, but you just might be surprised. If this process feels difficult or even impossible, rest assured that you'll get there with practice, and a therapist can help you speed up the process.
Professionals with BetterHelp Can Help
A mental health professional will be able to help you better understand your anger and your unique situation. They can also help you learn to deal with your anger appropriately. Even if you don't have an anger disorder, you could still benefit from learning healthy ways to manage and express anger. A professional will be able to work through the steps with you and help you understand what to do.
Finding a mental health professional is easier than you think. There are plenty of them out there, including online therapists at BetterHelp. Thanks to BetterHelp's online platform, you can connect with licensed counselors all around the country. Instead of driving to an appointment across town, you can log on to the website from the comfort of your own home or wherever you happen to be. You can read reviews of our counselors below to learn how they've helped people with similar struggles.
"Since I started with BetterHelp and Leslie, she's been able to really help me understand the problems I've faced and how to manage my anger and problems."
"Steve is amazing and does a good job at making this seem like less of a counseling session and more of a conversation between friends. He helped me talk through my anger issues and road rage and gave me lots of problem solving tools. I highly recommend him!"
Not only does your anger hurt the people around you, but it also hurts you. Take steps to take care of yourself. You can learn to manage your anger, so you can enjoy your life more. You deserve to be happy, and to not have to deal with the consequences of your anger. Take the first step today.