How To Control Anger – The Complete Guide To Anger Management
Updated December 07, 2018
Reviewer Heather Cashell
If you suffer from anger management issues, you understand how insidious and uncontrollable anger can be. Waves of anger can wash over you like a restless ocean-or sometimes an unpredictable tsunami. But you can be prepared for these storm surges. Learning how to control anger is critical to overall mental and physical wellbeing.
Studies have shown that feelings of anger stimulate pro-inflammatory chemical signals, causing chronic inflammation as well as mental and physical disease. In addition, anger can alienate you from the ones you love. As Mark Twain astutely surmised, "Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." Do not let anger control your life any longer. With the following techniques, you can learn how to let go of anger and grab a hold of deep, lasting peace.
Try to See the Bigger Picture
Imagine your life as a pulse line with spikes of joy and pits of despair. If you travel along this pulse line, you will be caught up in the spikes and trapped in the pits. But what if you were instead the doctor reading the heartbeat? You would have a much more reasoned, calm, and accurate view of the situation.
If you want to discover how to deal with anger, the first step is to try to cultivate a more objective, level headed view of life. As much as you can, try to remove yourself from the immediate anger-inducing situation and picture it in the context of life as a whole. Chances are, it is not as large and looming as it may now appear to be.
Find the silver lining
If you have experienced a series of unfortunate events, you may wonder how to relieve anger. Start by trying to understand all of the different components and perspectives of an event. After all, hard times are a part of everyone's life. Life is defined not by what happens, but by our response to what happens. The most resilient and happiest people tend to gravitate toward the silver lining of each dark cloud. They don't ignore the cloud, but they choose to focus on the beauty that emanates from the cloud.
Learn to breathe
A leading psychopharmacologist, Candice Pert wrote a book entitled The Molecules of Emotion, which describes how tissues in the body are affected by chronic stress and negative emotion. Specifically, our cells carry around chronic stress and anger, leading to muscle tension and disease.
But breath renews and revitalizes the body. Through the breath, you can calm an anxious, angered mind, improve circulation, and reduce your risk for anger-related diseases like atherosclerosis. Not only that, but respiration directly affects the nervous system and can help balance the stress and relaxation response. You will learn how to control your anger if your stress response is balanced and not overactive.
Shake it off
Have you ever noticed how a dog shakes his whole body after a particularly vexing encounter? He does not continue to carry the anger and stress with him. Instead, he physically shakes it off. If you are beleaguered and worn down by anger and stress, try physically shaking it off through exercises like rebounding and dancing.
Anger is like trying to progressively tighten your grip as you slowly lose control. Of course, this situation is frustrating, and this is why anger is a vicious cycle. You become even angrier that you are desperately trying and failing to maintain control, and the cycle perpetuates.
If you really want to learn how to manage anger, you must let go both emotionally and physically. Envision your grip slowly releasing, or imagine blowing up a balloon full of all your anger and letting it go. Muscle relaxation techniques are a great way to physically let go of anger.
Usually, anger is not generalized; it is directed at a person. But carrying around this anger day in and day out is not doing you any favors. Forgiveness is how to release anger. The adage goes that the inability to forgive is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. Do not continue to poison yourself after a negative encounter; choose to forgive. It may not be possible to forget, but you can forgive and move on.
Mindfulness is a critical part of learning how to get rid of anger. Mindfulness is not so much a practice as a perspective. Instead of dwelling in the anger triggers of the past or fears of the future, you simply be in the present. Anger doesn't stand a chance if you quit ruminating about past injustices and start fully living in the moment.
If you are wondering how to deal with anger issues, add an exercise routine to your daily agenda. Researchers have found that exercise improves mental health and boosts mood. Just 20 minutes of exercise per day can reduce feelings of depression. After just five minutes of moderate exercise, you can begin to experience mood enhancement. Kickboxing, wrestling, and other heart-pounding, aggressive sports can help you learn how to channel your anger in a healthy direction.
Carry a Stress Ball
Stress balls are a great, innocuous outlet for releasing anger. Instead of suppressing feelings of anger or lashing out in anger, you can subtly express and release anger by squeezing a stress ball. You can take a stress ball to work, on vacation, or even use it at home. Whenever and wherever you feel angry, using a stress ball is a great way to learn how to cope with anger.
Stress balls work by stimulating nerves in the hand that connects to the limbic part of the brain where emotions live. Through this simulation, you will discover how to get over the anger.
Download a Mood Tracking App
Through new technologies, you can learn how to handle anger. For instance, many phone apps feature mood tracking logs, mindfulness tips, and other calming exercises. Because anger is such a common emotion, app developers are always trying to find new ways to teach people how to overcome anger.
Join a Support Group
If you want to know how to vent anger, you must first find people to listen. Anger support groups are a great way to connect with people who understand your feelings of anger and frustration and will support you in your effort to learn how to control anger issues. Through a mutual exchange of thoughts, information, and feelings, you will not only vent your feelings, but you will learn ways to quell anger at its source. In addition, the support you provide to others might take your focus off of yourself and your anger-inducing triggers.
Address unresolved issues
If you are carrying around traumas and unresolved issues, your subconscious ruminations on these issues may cause anger. No matter how long ago the trauma occurred, if you have not actively taken steps to address it, you likely still harbor negative emotions. Through journaling, meditation, and social support, you may gradually work through your past traumas and unresolved issues. But often, overcoming these issues and the anger they inspire may require the help of a mental healthcare professional.
Identify what is at the root of your anger
Anger is a secondary emotion; that is, another primary emotion-like fear or sadness-likely underlies your anger. To understand how to reduce anger, you must first identify the primary emotion. In other words, what is at the root of your anger? For instance, you may feel anger toward your boss because he didn't give you a promotion, but deep down, you are afraid that you won't have enough money to pay the bills. You must identify and work through the primary emotion before your anger will dissipate.
See a Counselor
Through anger, you attempt to gain control over situations that feel out of control. Because it is human nature to desire full control, anger can be addictive. Not only that, but anger breeds more anger. If you truly want to discover how to calm down from anger, you may need the help of an experienced online or face-to-face counselor. A mental healthcare professional can help you identify what is at the root of your anger and teach you strategies to calm the waves of anger. Do not face the raging tsunami of anger on your own any longer; you can get professional help today!