Staying In Control Of Your Emotions: Strategies To Release Anger Productively
Have you been experiencing anger lately and wondering why it can be so hard to control? If so, you’re not alone. Many of us may be familiar with the emotion or with the effects that it can cause.
Below, we’ll be discussing ways to change this pattern, possibly helping you to experience and resolve anger in a healthier way.
What causes rage and anger?
Pent-up anger is generally regarded to be a common emotion—but sometimes it can feel challenging to keep rage under control. Learning how to release your emotions appropriately may help you stabilize your moods, have healthy relationships, and improve your overall health.
Strong emotions such as rage can be triggered by both internal and external factors. External triggers can be a result of outside influences, such as a coworker spreading rumors about you or a person cutting you off in heavy traffic. Internal triggers, conversely, may involve brooding about personal issues or obsessing over negative experiences from the past. Learned behaviors, inherited tendencies and brain chemistry may also play a role in the severity of these feelings. Learning how to release these emotions in a healthy way can greatly improve your mental health.
Did you know? Research shows that therapy can help with anger management. In one study, for example, 75% of people with anger management problems benefited from therapy.
Anger can be caused by several factors. Genetics and physiological factors can play a role in emotions, even at an early age. Additionally, learned social and cultural behaviors may also affect someone’s ability to handle strong feelings like anger.
Family background can also play a role. For example: People who grow up in families that are chaotic, disruptive or not skilled in expressing emotions may have more difficulty managing anger.
If you are experiencing trauma, support is available. Please see our Get Help Now page for more resources.
Strategies and ways to release intense anger
Everyone handles moods differently, so you might try several strategies to determine which ones work best for you when you’re feeling angry. We’ve listed a few for your consideration below:
Get physical exercise
Physical activity can be a great way to express anger and put yourself in a better mood. The chemicals activated in the brain while doing the physical activity can be natural mood stabilizers.
Working out can also help you to redirect your anger into a healthy activity. Although exercise may not solve the problems that caused your initial mood, it can neutralize the difficult emotions so that you can think more clearly about solutions.
When you’re feeling angry, your breathing may increase. You may find that you take short and shallow breaths. This can trigger other physical symptoms, such as high blood pressure. Breathing exercises may help you to calm down from the body’s fight-or-flight alertness.
To start, you might practice taking slow, controlled breaths. You may imagine the air going in through your nose all the way to your lungs. Then, you can follow the breath as it leaves your body.
You might also try counting as you breathe. For example, you can inhale while counting to four, hold your breath for another count of four, and then exhale counting to four again.
Progressive muscle relaxation exercises
When you feel rage, you may notice that your muscles seem to tense up throughout your body. One way to release rage is to address this tension. You might try slowly tensing and relaxing each muscle group one at a time. These muscle relaxation techniques may help your body recover from the muscle-tightening response to anger.
Guided meditations can sometimes help calm rage or other emotions. Several websites offer guided meditations for calming the nerves. You could even install a meditation app on your smartphone to use whenever you’re angry, or you may even use it a few times a week as a preventive strategy.
Write it out
Sometimes writing thoughts and emotions on paper can help to get them out of your head. If you believe that this may be helpful to you, you might consider journaling, writing poetry or writing a letter or email to someone who wronged you (that you may or may not send). Writing can sometimes help organize your thoughts and may provide insight into the situation.
When you write, you might try to avoid focusing only on the adverse aspect of the event or situation. Instead, you can try to brainstorm solutions or how to handle things differently in the future. You can write until you feel that your feelings of rage are expressed.
Let go of the situation, feeling, memory, or person (even family)
Sometimes it can be best to walk away from the source of anger. It could be permanent or temporary—but either way, it can be helpful to take a break from the triggers consistently causing rage.
Change the way you form your thoughts
When you feel rage, “black-and-white thinking” can be common, and it can be easy to perceive problems to be much worse than they are. Cognitive restructuring may help you replace negative thoughts with more rational ones. Below are some tips for changing your thinking:
- Avoid words like “always” or “never” when thinking or talking about the person or situation making you angry. These absolute words may serve to justify your rage and alienate others helping you find a solution.
- Understand rage has a way of quickly making thoughts irrational. You might try taking a few breaths as mentioned above and then trying to determine if your thoughts are irrational, you might try replacing the irrational thoughts with more logical, constructive thoughts.
- Translate expectations into desires. It may be easy to demand fairness, or appreciation when you’re feeling angry. That doesn’t always sit well with others, however. Instead, you can request what you’d like to see happen as a desire. It may not always work, but this type of assertive communication may help get your point across in a much more amicable manner.
Talk to an online therapist about your anger
Some people who experience intense anger may find benefit from turning to therapists, who are generally trained to provide insights into thought processes one may have. They can also offer evidence-based strategies to constructively and assertively deal with rage.If a traditional therapy setting is not right for you, BetterHelp offers convenient online therapy sessions. You can talk to a licensed therapist from the comfort of your own home via phone or video chat. You can also contact your therapist in between sessions via in-app messaging, and they’ll get back to you as soon as they can.
How do you express anger in a healthy way?
According to Mental Health America, a few healthy ways to express anger can include the following:
- Singing along with angry music
- Completing a challenging workout
- Writing in a journal
- Stepping away from the situation
If you’re living with uncontrolled anger, chronic anger, or frequent angry thoughts, it can be best to seek professional help so that you can get to the root of this powerful emotion and address it accordingly.
How do you help someone with anger issues?
If you’d like to help someone with anger issues, try to remain calm and give them space when they’re angry. You can help them identify their triggers and encourage them to seek help for their anger. It can be crucial to focus on your own well-being, and if their anger spirals into abusive behavior, it’s best to remove yourself from the situation.
If you or a loved one is witnessing or experiencing any form of abuse, please know that help is available. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline anytime at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Why can't I control my anger?
If you’re unable to control your anger, it usually indicates that you don’t have the emotional regulation skills you need to manage anger in a healthy way. Anger is a normal emotion, but when you don’t have control over your anger expression, your relationships, career, and other areas of your life may be negatively impacted. As angry events affect your loved ones in many cases, it can be crucial to discover an alternative route to coping with anger.
How do you release anger without hurting someone?
You can release anger by:
- Taking a break from the situation
- Identifying solutions
- Using humor
- Employing relaxation techniques
How do you release trapped anger?
Journaling, practicing yoga to regulate the parasympathetic nervous system, and engaging in creative outlets can help you release trapped anger. It may also be a good idea to work with a licensed mental health professional who can guide you through this process.
How do you manage stress and anger?
You can keep stress and anger at manageable levels by incorporating self-care into your daily life. When you’re experiencing a lot of stress or anger in the moment, you might try deep breathing, grounding exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, mantras, or visualization with relaxing imagery.
Do I need anger management?
If you have a short temper, experience violent outbursts, live with persistent anger, and have noticed that your loved ones avoid you when you’re angry, then anger management may be beneficial.
Similarly, if your anger has negatively impacted your personal or professional life, then anger management may be necessary to teach you healthy ways to release this intense emotion.
If you feel comfortable, you might also ask a trusted friend or loved one whether they believe you could benefit from getting help for your anger.
Why is it important to manage anger and stress?
Excessive anger and stress can harm your health, relationships, career, and overall quality of life. By managing stress and anger, you can enjoy life and regain power over your emotions.
How do you keep calm?
Deep breaths, relaxation strategies, meditation, and exercise are just a few ways to remain calm.
Does anger ever help?
In some cases, anger may lead you to make positive changes in your life. It can be a helpful tool when expressed in a healthy way.
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