If You Struggle To Control Your Temper, Try These Anger Management Tips
Anger by itself can be a healthy emotion. However, when anger motivates maladaptive behaviors, it can be unhealthy. If you've noticed your anger getting out of control, there are a few ways you can manage and control it in healthy and productive ways. You're not alone, and anger challenges are treatable.
Healthy strategies for coping with anger
Suitable anger management strategies can be vital for keeping anger from harming your health and relationships. Studies have shown that severe anger is associated with various health risks. Below are a few strategies you can use to healthily cope when anger-motivated behaviors start to impair your daily life.
Meditation offers a chance to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings. You might already know what makes you angry. For example, perhaps it's how a loved one behaves, an aspect of current events, traffic jams, money problems, or dissatisfaction with your life. However, getting angry without knowing the cause can also be possible.
Whatever the case, meditation allows you to sit quietly and settle into your headspace, gathering your thoughts and observing them as they pass. You can concentrate on breathing, recite a mantra, or follow a guided meditation on releasing anger. Guided meditations can be helpful for those who are unfamiliar with meditation techniques.
Anger management groups
Anger management support groups can be an option if you struggle to control your anger-motivated behaviors. These groups may be hosted by an organization, non-profit, or clinic. You may also be able to find peer support groups led by others with anger challenges. An online search can help you find options in your area.
The format for support groups is often informal. Once you meet at the location, you and other members may sit in a circle to talk about the parts of your life that may motivate your anger and ways to improve your behavior. There may be a group leader to mediate the conversation and suggest coping mechanisms you can try in stressful situations.
Some individuals may appreciate this option because it allows a sense of not being alone. Experiencing frequent anger when everyone else seems to have control over theirs can be challenging. Hearing that others are experiencing the same challenges may cause you to believe you are less isolated in your anger.
Another way to manage and reduce anger is to participate in healthy physical activity. Exercise has been proven to have many benefits and can reduce stress and improve mental health and well-being.
There are various ways to exercise, so you can experiment to find an activity you enjoy and that is effective for you. For instance, you can try running, biking, hiking, swimming, or walking. If you prefer to take an exercise class, try a dance, spin, boxing, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, or Judo class.
You can also consider trying yoga classes. There are many kinds of yoga, and it can be a valuable way to get a physical workout while you improve your mental health. Some find that yoga helps them perceive themselves and their life more calmly and positively.
Another way of coping with anger is talking to a therapist. In therapy, you can work with a trained professional to explore inciting events that cause you to feel anger and the thoughts that may lead to anger-motivated behavior. Your therapist can also help you learn and incorporate effective anger reduction and management techniques.
Get support with online therapy
Some people experiencing challenges controlling their anger may be self-conscious about seeking help, given the negative connotations often associated with anger. In this case, they may be more comfortable seeking therapy virtually than traveling to an office for an in-person appointment. With online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp, you can meet with a therapist from anywhere you have internet—including your home.
Research has found online therapy a practical option for addressing anger. For instance, one study concluded that four weeks of therapy delivered over the internet could be effective for those living with anger challenges and aggression.
Why is my anger triggered so easily?
If you are triggered easily, there may be many factors behind your short temper. For example, the way you were brought up in a home where your parents, siblings, or caregivers reacted to situations with anger, you may have internalized this as a valid response and carried it into adulthood.
Anger can also be a secondary emotion. It can be very challenging to process emotions like grief or sadness; using anger can be a coping mechanism that we may not even be aware that we are using.
A short temper can also be a symptom of several mental health disorders, including some anxiety disorders, depression, intermittent explosive disorder (IED), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What emotion is behind anger?
Many emotions can be behind anger. Everyone gets mad sometimes, and anger in itself can be a primary emotion. But sometimes, it can be easier to get angry than to work through grief, sadness, confusion, or frustration.
Is anger a part of ADHD?
Anger can be a part of ADHD. People with ADHD may experience emotional dysregulation, which can include things like excitability and impatience but may also include angry outbursts or irritability.
Is anger a symptom of bipolar disorder?
Irritability and anger can be prominent symptoms of bipolar disorder. This can apply to people with any diagnosis that fits under the bipolar disorder category in the DSM-5, including bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, cyclothymic disorder, and unspecified disorders that meet certain criteria.
Can anger issues be cured?
It may not be accurate to say that anger issues can be “cured,” but with the right interventions, they are manageable. Some healthy ways to help control anger may include meditation and physical activity, like taking a brisk walk or run, practicing yoga, or even dancing in your living room.
Joining an anger management group can be an effective option, too. Various groups and organizations host anger management groups. These meetings are often informal and can be an excellent way to meet other people who are going through something similar and may be able to offer coping mechanisms that have worked for them.
Talking to a therapist can also be an effective way to learn your body's anger warning signs and anger triggers and how to manage them. Therapy can help you explore the events and thoughts that lead to your anger and learn how to reduce and manage it.
What pressure point helps anger?
While there are no pressure points that correlate specifically to anger, there are many that may help decrease stress, which can relate to anger. There are generally three points you will press on: your wrist, forehead, and sternum or breastbone. You should spend about three minutes holding each point.
Is a punching bag good for anger management?
Some research indicates that non-contact boxing, or boxing that does not involve hitting another person, can have many mental health benefits. Studies show that non-contact boxing, like hitting a punching bag, can provide a significant reduction in symptoms of a variety of conditions, including some that may contribute to feelings of anger, like anxiety, depression, and PTSD, and provides “a cathartic release of anger and stress.”
How do you release bottled-up emotions?
There are some anger management exercises you can do to help yourself find an emotional release, including:
- Writing or journaling. Writing about your emotional experiences can help you get in touch with how you’re feeling and find emotions that you may not have known you were experiencing. Journaling about how you feel can also help you release any built-up emotions.
- Meditating. Meditation can help you get in touch with your emotions, identify them, and release them. If you’re new to meditation, you can find apps and websites that can guide you through the process.
- Talking with friends or family. Talking to someone you trust about your negative thoughts can help you process your situation and identify how you’re feeling. They may be able to help you see things from a new perspective or help you figure out what to do next.
- Connecting with a therapist. If you have pent-up emotions or a difficult time controlling anger, talking to a mental health professional can help you determine where those emotions are coming from and what you can do to manage them in a healthy way. This option can be helpful for people who do not feel comfortable talking to someone they know or who want support from a trained counselor or therapist who will remain unbiased and non-judgemental.
What happens when you get too angry?
If you get too angry and do not know how to express it in a healthy way, it can create many problems. People who have unexpressed anger can become passive-aggressive, attempting to indirectly get back at the people who made them mad instead of dealing with it by confronting them, or being cynical or hostile. People who have trouble controlling anger constructively may constantly put others down or make cynical comments and may be less likely to have successful, supporting relationships.
Do breathing exercises help anger?
When you get angry, you may try to breathe deeply for a few moments, but does this really help? Yes, breathing exercises can help with anger outbursts. Anger can affect your body in many ways, from stress hormones to sleep to concentration. Recent research shows that slow breathing techniques promote changes in the brain and cardiovascular system that “increased comfort, relaxation, pleasantness, vigor and alertness, and reduced symptoms of arousal, anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion.”
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