Do you burst out when someone cuts you off in traffic? Does your blood pressure shoots up when your child refuses to learn? Fury, annoyance, rage; whatever you call it, anger is a powerful emotion. Unfortunately, it’s often an unhelpful one.
Anger is a natural human experience. Sometimes there are valid reasons to get mad like feeling hurt by something someone said or did. It can also be experiencing frustration over a situation at work, school or home. But uncontrolled anger can cause you your personal relationships and also bad for your health.
Furthermore, managing your anger doesn’t imply that you won’t ever feel angry. Life is full of challenges, and sometimes it is healthy and normal to experience anger. What you do with that anger is important, so you must learn the signs of anger and strategies to keep your reactions to situations positive and productive.
However, anger can take different forms. Some people feel angry much of the time, or can’t let go of an incident that made them mad. Others get angry less often, but when they do it comes out as explosive bouts of rage.
What are some strategies to manage my anger?
Although you can’t control how you feel, you can control how you behave. That means you can feel angry and express it without being nasty or aggressive. Ready to get your anger under control? Here’s how to tame your inner raging bull:
It’s hard to make smart choices when you very furious. Rather than trying to calm yourself down, avoid getting angry in the first place. Try to identify warning signs that you’re starting to get annoyed. When you recognize the signs, step away from the situation. You can also try relaxation techniques to prevent your fury from escalating.
Think before you speak
When you are angry or furious, it’s easy to say something you will later regret. Take a few moments to arrange your thoughts before saying anything.
Be real and admit your anger
Pretending you’re not angry does no good for you. Many people think that to admit your anger is the same as acting inappropriately on it. That’s simply not true! The difference in those two concepts is huge. Admitting that you are upset, whether to yourself, or as calmly as possible to the person you’re in conflict with can validate your feelings. This in turn can help you feel more empowered toward working toward a solution. This will also diminish the conflict within yourself.
Talk to someone who understands you
If there is a friend or loved one you trust, sharing your feelings with them can sometimes be helpful. But be aware that not everyone listens to difficult feelings in a healthy, supportive way. Some might just not be good listeners and could just try to bottle up your emotions for you.
Try to relax
Simple relaxation strategies, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help soothe angry feelings. If you practice one or more of these strategies often, it will be easier to apply them when angry feelings strike.
Engage in an enjoyable activity
Physical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities such as watching a comedy.
Let go of the past easily
Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation and strengthen your relationship.
Some people have a tendency to keep rehearsing the incident that made them mad. That’s an unproductive strategy, especially if you have already resolved the issue that angered you in the first place. Instead, try to let go of the past incident. One way to do that is to focus instead on things you appreciate about the person or the situation that made you angry.