Everyone gets angry now and then, for a variety of reasons. Maybe something doesn’t go as planned and you become angry. Or, someone doesn’t treat you with respect and that causes anger to rise. Or maybe you’ve spent your whole life repressing your emotions, so when you do let them out, anger or rage is what rises.
Anger is a common emotion. As with all emotions, there are usually messages for us if we can tune into them and listen. A little bit of anger is quite normal and even healthy. If someone cuts you off in traffic, you may feel instant anger, as that can be quite scary and put your life in danger. The anger may serve as a set of emotions that can setoff your biological defense mechanism, so you swerve fast to avoid an accident. But once you know you’re alright, the anger subsides and you go on your way feeling calmer.
But what if your anger tends to come out full force? You tend to lash out, get instantly enraged, react harshly, and basically have a tough time managing that anger.
If you’ve got some anger management problems, it may help you to learn some simple anger management tools to help tame that anger.
Do you get enraged and flip out during rush hour traffic? Do you flip out when your child spills something on the rug? Do you get angry at your spouse and hurl injurious insults and curse words at them? Kick the dog when it isn’t listening? Throw things out of anger?
If so, you have a problem managing your anger. But the good news is that you can learn to deal with the feelings of intense anger and get it under control.
Here are some great anger management tips:
1. Take A Break
When you are in a situation where you literally feel the anger explosion about to happen, take time out to process the situation. Maybe you can go to your bedroom to cool off or go for a walk to the bathroom at work.
The point is to allow you to have time to diffuse so that you don’t start ranting and raving out of anger. Sure, you might have a great reason to be angry, but managing how that anger comes out is important. Once you calm down, you can then express your feelings in a more civilized way.
2. Don’t Be So Quick To Speak
Ever said something in anger that you regret later? Reacting in anger can come back to harm you later. In fact, many relationship breakups and/or job losses are due to anger management issues.
Learn to take a few minutes to process the situation before speaking. As soon as you feel that anger emotion rise, take several deep breaths. Your goal is to try to calm down before you speak. This way, you’re responding, rather than impulsively reacting. Choose your words wisely.
3. Blow Off Some Steam
What helps you blow off steam? Going for a walk? Cleaning the house? Dancing? Working out? Do something that will get your cardio going, as this tends to help release some of that pent up anger. Once you discover what helps you blow off steam, do those things regularly.
4. Determine Your Options
When anger or rage is about to explode, realize you do have options. For example, let’s say your kids’ toys that are scattered all over the floor. You’ve told them a few times to put them away, and they’re still there. This makes you very angry.
Know that you have options as to how to react.
You could start screaming, frightening your children immensely. You could frantically scoop up all the toys and throw them in the garbage, angrily telling your kids they had their chance.
Or, you could deal with the emotion of anger before you do anything.
Take several deep breaths. Recognize you have options, such as engaging your kids in “clean up” time with a fun song. Or, firmly, but lovingly set a boundary regarding toys and clean up. The point is that there are usually options when it comes to how you deal with anger.
5. Crack A Joke
Sometimes a silly joke or acting goofy will be all that is necessary to diffuse your anger. This also works well sometimes when you are dealing with someone else who is angry with you. Play around with it, though, as it will not work with everyone.
6. Take Deep Breaths
I know I’ve mentioned deep breaths already, but it’s worth repeating. Deep breathing can help you feel less angry. Take three to four deep breaths and focus on your inhale and exhale. Close your eyes if you can and simply concentrate on relaxing.
When you’re angry, your body has likely responded with a faster heart rate, your muscles constrict, and various hormones are released. Anger can be a defense mechanism that your body uses as an attempt to stay safe. Like fear, it puts you in that “fight, flight, or freeze” response to help better your chances at survival. Feeling angry may mean you’re in “fight” mode.
Purposefully relaxing by breathing slower and becoming mindful of what you’re feeling in the body can help reduce the sensation of anger. Take the time to pause, and then address the issue.
7. Seek Help
If you cannot get your anger issues under control on your own, seek professional help. There are plenty of anger reduction techniques that a therapist or coach can help you with. And, it doesn’t take long to learn them.
However, you will have to practice the techniques in real time as the anger pops up. But with the support of someone who is skilled at teaching anger management, it’s much easier than if you keep trying to do it on your own.
Everyone feels anger at times and that’s alright. It’s learning to process and respond to that anger that’s important. I hope these tips will help you out if you’ve been losing your temper. Managing anger is possible, but it may take time, practice, and perhaps a skilled professional if you’ve not been able to find success on your own.