Anger is a natural emotion that we’re all bound to experience throughout our lives. This is a perfectly normal and healthy response to situations and experiences that are threatening or frustrating. However, there are times when the anger that you feel is disproportionate to the trigger or is simply a secondary response to other feelings like guilt, sadness, or loneliness. When you experience this type of anger that is beyond the normal range and it causes destructive behavior (verbal or physical), you have an anger management problem. If not dealt with, this can adversely impact relationships, work, and also your mental health and wellbeing.
Simply suppressing anger and not expressing it is not the solution however, which is why you should learn not just how to control anger, but also how to reduce anger.
9 Tips To Manage Your Anger:
Take A Timeout
When you start to feel anger take control, remove yourself from the situation and take a timeout before responding. Countdown hundred to zero or vice versa and this will give you time to cool down and collect your thoughts before you say or do something that you might regret.
Breathing starts to become shallow when you are stressed or angry, with faster and smaller breaths. You can consciously reverse this pattern of breathing with slow and deep breaths. Doing this for just a minute will lower your heart rate and promote relaxation, helping lower both levels of stress and anger (1).
Take A Walk
Physical activity is always helpful for releasing and relieving anger, so it would be a good idea to go for a walk or even exercise when you start to lose control. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins or feel good hormones that will help you relax and feel calmers (2).
Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation
To instantly lower your levels of anger consciously tense and then relax individual muscle groups in your body one at a time. As you tighten and relax each muscle, also inhale and exhale with slow and deliberate breaths. This method of progressive muscle relaxation is commonly used as stress reduction and relaxation technique (3).
Look For Solutions
If you’re serious about learning how to control your anger, the next time you start to feel angry try to shift your focus from the trigger to a solution. How can you solve the problem and look for a solution that works for both you and the person who has made you angry? Try to identify solutions and be ready to find a middle ground or compromise.
Use De-escalation Techniques
An angry outburst will only raise tempers and worsen a situation that may already be fragile. Instead, use non confrontational language to express your views so that a conversation doesn’t escalate into an argument. To do so, avoid direct criticism or accusatory sentences, instead using pronouns like ‘I’ and ‘we’, showing your personal involvement and that you’re in this together.
Writing can be cathartic or an emotional release and that’s not just the case for writers! Journaling is regarded as an effective tool for stress reduction and anger management, often recommended by therapists to patients with chronic stress and anger problems (4). Putting your thoughts and feelings into words can help you introspect and calm down before you react in ways that are harmful.
There’s no better way to release tension and improve your mood. The next time you’re wondering how to manage anger, crack a joke, but not with sarcasm that targets anyone. You could also look at funny videos or animal videos that crack you up. This will lighten your mood and help you react more effectively and productively to situations or people that are troublesome.
You don’t have to wait until you’re ready to have an outburst to begin meditation. Embracing a daily morning practice of meditation will help you become more mindful, focused and in control of your emotions (5). This practice will also teach you how to avoid anger to begin with.