Ten Anger Management Tips To Help You Control Your Anger
Anger can often feel complicated and negative. However, it may be a healthy emotion when managed and expressed productively. Anger could help you care for others in certain situations, succeed in the workplace, or even become more creative. However, angry feelings can also have a negative impact on your life if they impact your behaviors or causes disruptions.
Unhealthy expressions of anger, such as anger driving, may lead to poor decisions. Uncontrolled anger can cause mental and physical health concerns (for example, it can make your blood pressure rocket), as well as interpersonal conflict. And yet expressing anger in a healthy way is not a skill that comes naturally to everyone. If you’re looking for ways to control your anger, there are several valuable tips to reduce stress, improve relationships, and enhance your overall well-being.
1. Talk Through Your Feelings
Repressing anger or other negative feelings can be an unhealthy practice, which may lead you to misplace feelings or let them out in unintended ways. Additionally, research shows that repressing emotions can negatively impact your health. For this reason, one way to express your anger may be by discussing it.
When you feel angry, consider talking to a trusted friend or family who might understand your emotions and the situation that led to them. Or, if you’d like to talk to a professional, you can reach out to a therapist who can more thoroughly address anger concerns.
When angry, it can be hard to look at a scenario unbiasedly. In addition to empathizing with you, another person might provide insight or a perspective you hadn’t considered.
Getting things down on paper can be a valuable way to understand better what you’re feeling and vent your emotions. Studies show that expressive writing, like journaling, can improve your overall mental health. When angry, grab a pen and paper and start writing down your thoughts.
Much like expressing your anger by talking about it, being able to put words to the feelings you’re experiencing can help control anger and help you feel better. Labeling your feelings has been a proven method of improving your mood.
Keeping a journal can also be helpful in the future because you can look back and identify specific triggers that commonly led to unhealthy expressions of anger.
3. Remove Yourself From A Situation
Many circumstances could lead to problematic anger. For example, being in a crowded area may cause you to feel stressed and, as a result, angry. Or you may find that disagreements with your partner frequently lead to elevated stress levels. Avoid sarcasm and other negative responses, and give yourself space.
In cases like these, consider walking away from the situation if you can. Taking space could provide you with time to process as you work through your emotions and let your anger pass.
If you and your partner are angry, consider taking a moment to be alone and cool down. You may not be able to remove yourself from every situation, but this can be a solid strategy in specific settings.
Numerous studies have shown that exercise has a positive impact on your mental health. Staying active can not only release mood-boosting endorphins but also help take your mind off the source of the anger you’re feeling.
If you feel anger escalating, and are having trouble letting it out in a healthy manner, go for a quick run, lift some weights, take a brisk walk around the block, or participate in other enjoyable physical activities.
5. Identify The Root Emotion
Often, anger arises after we first feel a primary emotion, such as sadness, embarrassment, or anxiety. For example, you might experience anger as a secondary emotion to a situation such as grief after losing a loved one. If you’re experiencing unhealthy anger, consider whether there is another emotion you felt first.
Because anger is often an immediate and powerful feeling, you might only focus on it when you experience it. However, if you can also acknowledge and work through the root emotion, you may be able to address both simultaneously. If you’re having trouble identifying the source of your feelings, consider creating a mood chart or printing one out to remind yourself how emotions may feel or look.
A treatment that has often been successful in helping people relax and manage their emotions is acupressure. Evidence supports acupressure’s efficacy when managing symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety disorders, all of which can lead to unhealthy or misplaced anger.
Acupressure stimulates specific points in the body, which correspond to different bodily systems and organs. If you decide to pursue acupressure, be sure to work with a professional with the requisite knowledge and experience.
7. Take Advantage Of Anger Management Classes
There may be classes you can attend that aim to help you work through your emotions, learn anger management techniques, or connect with others living with anger. These could be in-person support groups, online classes, or face-to-face sessions with an expert in anger management. It can be easy to stew in your own bitterness when you feel anger, but these type of classes can help you change behaviors.
Try a Google search for available classes or ask for a reference from a medical provider. Some people find that attending a class with people experiencing similar anger challenges can help them better understand their concerns.
8. Lower Your Stress Levels
For example, if you experience stress when sitting in traffic, try to utilize routes that avoid congestion or leave at a time when the roads are less busy. If that’s not possible, consider utilizing deep breathing techniques as you drive or listening to a guided meditation to help promote more positive feelings.
Various relaxation techniques can help you alleviate stress, including aromatherapy, mindfulness, and other forms of meditation. When you identify which events affect stress, you can then reduce the amount of stress you are dealing with. Avoiding such a situation may cause a dramatic decrease in your anger levels.
Meditation could help you clear your mind, avoid self-judgment, and relax. One study found that meditation could decrease anger regardless of whether the person had experience practicing it. There are several different types of meditation that you can choose from. If you are strapped for time, you can practice deep breathing exercises that may calm your body in just minutes.
A few basic practices common to most forms of meditation, though, are quieting your mind, focusing on your breath, visualizing a relaxing scene, and relaxing your body. When you breathe deeply and give yourself quiet time for a few moments, it can lower high blood pressure and help negative feelings subside. If you’re starting out, a guided meditation can take you through the steps, give you helpful tips, and provide you with affirmations.
Mindfulness refers to a state in which you draw your attention to the present moment, whether that’s your thoughts, feelings, or surroundings. While mindfulness can be considered a form of meditation, it may contain everyday applications that differentiate it and make it particularly useful for anger management.
For example, you can practice mindfulness while completing tasks like washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, or working. This practice can be beneficial if work is a trigger for your anger.
As you’re performing a task, pay attention to the sensations you’re experiencing. Notice your breathing, feel your senses, and acknowledge your thoughts. When you’re attuned to your emotions, you may be able to identify anger and its sources more quickly as it arises.
Managing Anger With Therapy
If you’re looking to find the root cause of your emotions, learn anger management techniques, or address other mental health-related concerns, therapy may be available. Consider online counseling if you’re busy or don’t want to drive to an appointment.
Research shows that online therapy can help reduce anger and the adverse effects of unhealthy expressions of anger. In one study, researchers found that online therapy could effectively reduce problematic anger, noting a significant decrease in levels after treatment. The results of this study can be added to a growing number of other studies that point to online therapy as a helpful way to address various mental health concerns.
Your therapist may help you reach your goals by helping you learn to identify anger expression, teach skills for controlling anger, practice relaxation skills, and promote healthy activities like deep breathing exercises and enjoyable physical activities. They may also work with you on anger adjacent issues like personal relationships and substance abuse.
With an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can participate in therapy remotely through video, voice, or in-app messaging. Additionally, you’ll have the option of messaging your therapist outside of sessions.
If you’re having trouble identifying anger sources or managing your anger, let your therapist know the details and ask for some anger management techniques. You’re not alone in your feelings, and a therapist may be a significant support.
How do I manage my anger?
Controlling your anger before it controls you usually comes down to understanding anger and where it comes from. When you are not angry, take the time to learn about the physical and psychological components of the emotion and why you might have the responses you do. This can help you respond to your anger in a healthier way.
In the moment, some of the best ways to control anger are to take short breaks from frustrating situations, which gives you the time and space you may need to process your feelings and respond calmly.
How do I stop being angry and aggressive?
Anger is a natural and normal emotion to experience, so while not always productive, there is nothing inherently wrong with feeling anger. That being said, while aggression is a common response to anger, it is usually not an appropriate response. If you find that you are becoming aggressive - if you throw things, scream, or physically intimidate others - at even mild irritation, it may be time to seek professional help in understanding anger and your relationship with it.
You may then choose to implement changes in your daily life that diffuse tension and help you manage your overall emotional state, such as getting more physical activity, keeping a journal, and/or seeing a therapist regularly. You may also work with that professional to find a positive way to express your anger such as funneling it into a creative outlet.
What are the 5 keys to controlling anger?
Dr. Christian Conte, author of Walking Through Anger: A New Design for Confronting Conflict in an Emotionally Charged World and Level V Anger Management Specialist from the National Anger Management Association, describes five keys to controlling anger.
- Don’t be attached. Dr. Conte suggests that you be truly open to new ideas and experiences instead of clinging to your existing perception of the world. He notes that it’s important to separate your ideas from your sense of self.
- Don’t take things personally. Dr. Conte notes that most often, what we perceive as personal slights are in fact general statements. He suggests learning to recognize when someone is lashing out rather than making a personal attack.
- Learn when to let things go. Dr. Conte says that an important part of anger management is letting go of your set view of how a situation may turn out and learning to adapt to the unexpected.
- Be aware of what’s going on in your body. Dr. Conte advocates for mindfulness and learning your personal health cues to head off anger caused by physical or mental discomfort. He considers mindful practices to be a powerful tool in anger management.
- Learn how to say what’s really going on with you. Dr. Conte says that proper communication is another powerful tool to controlling anger, as the right word of phrase can allow you to express yourself in a positive way even when you are frustrated or upset. This can help release tension and lead to more productive outcomes.
Why do I get so angry so easily?
A person might be more predisposed to anger due to a range of factors including socioeconomic influences, chronic stressors, and certain mental health conditions. They may be more prone to unproductive anger responses if anger was not modeled in a healthy way in their childhood, such as when a child refuses to comply with a request and the parent responds inappropriately with unequal punishments or aggression. Anger problems may also stem from unrealistic expectations placed on the self, frustration at daily stresses like a traffic jam or tight deadlines, or underlying larger stressors such as dissatisfaction with life or relationships.
How to handle emotions?
A common phrase is to “control anger before it controls you,” meaning that you should seek to respond to your emotions logically rather than letting yourself respond to things emotionally first. While it’s important to feel your emotions and process them fully, it’s also important not to take your emotions out on others, so learning to diffuse tension and communicate using an appropriate word or phrase for your feelings can go a long way toward handling emotions in a mature and productive way.
How do you express anger in a healthy way?
You can release tension associated with anger by performing physical activity, writing down your emotions, taking short breaks, or giving yourself a calming word to repeat.
What are the 3 R's of anger?
The 3 R’s of anger are a system of responding that is used to manage anger problems.
- Recognize your anger for what it is. Put a name to your feelings.
- Reflect on what caused the anger. It might be frustration, such as when a child refuses to listen, or stress, such as unrealistic expectations at work.
- Respond to your anger rationally. Take the time to respond personally using the tips to control anger found in this article and communicate your emotions with a calming word when necessary.
Why do I have anger issues?
Anger issues may stem from a number of things including trauma, childhood experiences, and mental and physical health conditions. It’s best to seek a professional to understand where your anger responses come from specifically.
What are the 4 A's of anger?
- Agree or Admit to the facts of the situation
- Acknowledge the impact they have on you and others
- Apologize for any wrongdoing on your part
- Act to correct that wrongdoing
Why do I cry so easily?
Crying is a natural response to physical or emotional overstimulation. Some people cry more easily than others because they simply have a lower threshold for overstimulation. There is nothing wrong with crying as a response to fear, sadness, happiness, pain, or anger.
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