10 Anger Management Tips To Help You Stay Calm
For most of the time, anger is a perfectly normal useful emotion. Anger can drive you to take action to protect someone. Anger can also make someone stand up for a person who is being bullied or harassed. Anger also has the power to create revolutions and social movements that lead to a socially positive change.
That said, anger is not always healthy and if it is expressed incorrectly, then it can create problems. It can cloud your judgment, leading you to lash out at people around you or act aggressively, which can escalate situations even further and lead to unwanted negative consequences.
Uncontrolled anger issues can damage personal or professional relationships, lead to legal issues, or even result in violence. So, if you find yourself getting angry frequently, or if you experience very intense anger as a result of minor provocations, then you may need to consider anger management in order to help you avoid getting angry and find ways of managing your anger more healthily.
What is anger management?
Anger management techniques are designed to help you avoid getting angry, keep calm if you find yourself getting angry, or express your anger more healthily to avoid negative consequences.
These techniques may take the form of coping mechanisms that help to calm you down or distract you from situations that are angering you, or they may focus on changing the way you think in order to avoid unhealthy anger altogether.
Anger management is good for your social, physical and mental wellbeing. It helps to avoid mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and certain types of eating disorders that can result from anger issues.
It also helps to reduce the physical impacts of excessive anger, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Most of all, it helps you avoid hurting those around you when angry, helping to preserve relationships and avoid damaging them.
Anger management strategies
If you are looking to manage your anger to a higher standard, then here are some of the best anger management techniques that’ll help you to tame your temper and train yourself to have a better reaction to anger.
1. Identify triggers
Being honest about what causes your anger is a good first step to managing anger, as you can form plans and coping techniques suited to your specific situation.
Think carefully and objectively about the situations which cause you to be angry, and honestly evaluate whether you believe your anger in those situations is justified, useful, or healthy. That’s because, in some situations you may be right to get angry. For example, if you witness or experience workplace bullying.
However, if you aren’t expressing anger healthily, then you need to recognize this and identify what is causing your bad mood. It could be inconveniences or frustrations such as bad traffic; stressful or frustrating environments, like a high-pressure workplace; or specific people or relationships that are toxic, unhealthy, or abusive.
2. Create anger management plans you can rely on
After working out what may be causing your anger issues, you should work out how you’re going to deal with those causes.
Do your research into different anger management strategies and work out what could be useful to you. Write down different situations that may cause you to get angry, then plan what anger management technique you can use in each situation to keep your anger in check.
Once you’ve made these plans, put them into action. Keep being honest with yourself, evaluating whether the techniques are working, and try new techniques if they don’t. Try to be disciplined and stick to your plans — you may not see results straight away, which is why it’s important to stick with your goals and not give up.
3. Recognize the signs of anger and be ready to de-escalate
Thinking about anger in an abstract way when identifying what triggers your anger and making anger management plans is one thing; recognizing when you’re actually getting angry is another.
You may notice either a mental or physical warning sign that you’re getting angry — racing thoughts, clenching your fists without realizing, and feeling like your face is hot or flushed.
It’s important to pay attention to these signs before your anger boils over into unhealthy responses like angry outbursts, shouting or aggression. Try to remain self-aware, and if you feel yourself beginning to get angry, focus on de-escalating the situation and remind yourself of the techniques in your anger management plan.
4. Remove yourself from the situation
One of the simplest and most effective ways to calm down and avoid unhealthy anger is to simply remove yourself from any situation that is making you angry. So, if you’re involved in a heated discussion, then it could be a good idea to just walk away, cool off and take a breather.
Removing yourself also works from an abstract sense. Say for example you have a particular relationship or friendship that is causing you to get angry frequently. Then, this could be a good time to give yourself some space from that person for a day or two and evaluate whether the relationship may be harmful or toxic.
You can then sit down with the other person and try to resolve whatever issue may be causing these conflicts calmly and reasonably. If you find this isn’t possible, then it may be time to evaluate whether it may be healthier to cut off the relationship completely rather than stay in a situation that is causing you anger issues.
5. Use relaxation techniques to calm down in the moment
If you do find yourself getting angry and leaving the situation isn’t an option, then relaxation techniques can help you to calm down and avoid unhealthy, angry responses. There are a range of different relaxation techniques to try, for example:
- Breathing techniques: Slow, deep breathing can lower your heart rate, leaving you feeling calmer to reduce anger.
- Muscle relaxation: Focusing on relaxing your muscles can relieve both physical and emotional tension.
- Visualization: Visualizing your anger as a physical object and then imagining it dissipating, moving away, or disappearing can help you to calm down.
Different relaxation skills work better for different people; try out a variety to find the ones that work best for you. It may help to practice them when you’re already calm, creating a mental association between the technique and feelings of relaxation.
6. Exercise regularly to de-stress
Exercise is a great method of stress management as it releases various endorphins and hormones that can make you feel happier and more relaxed. Exercising regularly reduces stress and anxiety, and can provide you with a distraction and need an outlet for your angry feelings.
7. Distract yourself
If you feel angry, you can try to distract yourself with physical tasks or entertaining pastimes in order to help you stop thinking about whatever is making you angry. You could do chores like vacuuming, tidying, or cleaning dishes, which can contribute to a sense of order and control.
Alternatively, you can do something you enjoy, like reading, playing games, or watching your favourite TV show (comedies are especially helpful in lifting your mood). Distracting yourself allows you to come back to whatever is causing your anger with a clearer head, helping you to deal with anger more healthily.
8. Express yourself and discuss your issues
Keeping your anger bottled up can be unhealthy and lead to further stress or frustration. Instead, you should find ways of expressing your feelings and thoughts calmly and healthily. Organize to talk with the other person involved in a conflict calmly and rationally, or discuss the issue with a friend or family member who isn’t involved to gain an outside perspective.
It may also help to keep a journal to express your thoughts and feelings privately and allow room for introspection. This also allows the chance to monitor your progress by reflecting on how the way you deal with your anger has changed since you began your anger management plan.
9. Change the way you think
Often, your anger can be driven by the way you think. If you tend to obsess over problems, thinking only of their negative impact and how they’re getting in your way, then this can easily lead to you getting angry, as you’re fuelling your own frustration through negative thoughts.
Instead, think about the ways you can solve the problem or mitigate its impact, and try to find any positives or silver linings that may come from it. If you do find yourself with intrusive angry thoughts, try mentally telling yourself to keep calm or repeat relaxing mantras to refocus yourself and think more positively.
10. Talk to a professional
Although you can try to handle your anger alone, if you don’t think your anger management plans are working then it may be best to talk to a professional. For example, you could try taking anger management classes which may give you more structured guidance and expert answers on how to control anger.
Alternatively, you may find it helpful to talk to a psychotherapist or other mental health professional, especially if you believe your anger issues may stem from a deeper root cause such as mental health issues or past trauma.
Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD have all been linked to anger issues; a therapist can help to unpack the underlying causes of your anger and give professional advice on how to improve your mental health in order to control your anger.
Professional help is especially important for children and adolescents with anger issues, as they may not have developed the maturity or emotional intelligence to work through their issues by themselves. Therapists can provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment that can help young people form a more healthy relationship with anger and improve their mental health and well-being.
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