Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion.
But it’s unhealthy when it flares up all the time or spirals out of control. It can lead to problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life.
Anger can make you feel as though you’re at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion.
The goal of anger management is to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes.
You can’t get rid of, or avoid, the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reactions.
The good news is that getting anger under control is easier than you think. With insight into the real reasons for your anger and these anger management tools, you can learn to keep your temper from hijacking your life.
The consequences of out-of-control anger
- Out-of-control anger Hurts your physical health: Constantly operating at high levels of stress and anger makes you more susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, a weakened immune system, insomnia, and high blood pressure.
- Out-of-control anger hurts your career: Constructive criticism, creative differences, and heated debate can be healthy. But lashing out only alienates your colleagues, supervisors, or clients and erodes their respect.
- Out-of-control anger hurts your mental health: Chronic anger consumes huge amounts of mental energy, and clouds your thinking, making it harder to concentrate or enjoy life. It can also lead to stress, depression, and other mental health problems.
- Out-of-control anger hurts your relationships with others: It causes lasting scars in the people you love most and gets in the way of friendships and work relationships. Explosive anger makes it hard for others to trust you, speak honestly, or feel comfortable—and is especially damaging to children.
Consider these anger management tips to keep your emotions in check.
1. Think before you speak
Angry people tend to jump to—and act on—conclusions and some of those conclusions could be very inaccurate.
The first thing to do if you’re in a heated discussion is to slow down and think through your responses.
In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret.
Don’t say the first thing that comes into your head, take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.
2. Express your anger once you’re calm
If you decided that the situation is worth getting angry about and there’s something you can do to make it better, the key is to express your feelings in a healthy way.
As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but non-confrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.
3. Get some Exercise
Physical activity can help reduce the stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger level escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.
It releases pent-up energy so you can approach the situation with a cooler head.
4. Change your Environment
Sometimes it’s our immediate surroundings that give us cause for irritation and fury. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you and make you feel angry.
Give yourself a break. Make sure you have some “alone time” scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful.
A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what’s ahead without getting irritated or angry.
5. Identify possible solutions
Sometimes, our anger and frustration are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives.
Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child’s messy room drive you crazy? Close the door.
Is your partner late for dinner every night? Schedule meals later in the evening — or agree to eat on your own a few times a week. Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything and might only make it worse.
6. Personalize your Statements
To avoid criticizing or placing blame — which might only escalate the situation at hand — use “I” statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific when expressing yourself anger can be a tremendous source of energy and inspiration for change.
For example, say, “I’m upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes” instead of “You never do any housework.”
7. Don’t hold grudges
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.
8. Use Humor
“Silly humor” can help defuse rage in a number of ways. On the other hand, it can help you get a more balanced perspective of things. Use humor to help you face what’s making you angry and, possibly, any unrealistic expectations you have for how things should go.
There are two cautions in using humor. First, don’t try to just “laugh off” your problems; rather, use humor to help yourself face them more constructively. Second, avoid sarcasm; that’s just another form of unhealthy anger expression.
What these techniques have in common is a refusal to take yourself too seriously. Anger is a serious emotion, but it’s often accompanied by ideas that, if examined, can make you laugh. 🙂
9. Practice relaxation skills
Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing, relaxing imagery or repetition of a calming word or phrase, such as “Take it easy” can help calm down angry feelings.
You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation is highly recommended.
10. Know when to seek professional help
If your anger is still spiraling out of control, despite putting the previous anger management techniques into practice, or if you’re getting into trouble with the law or hurting others you need more help.
Learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Seek help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control or it causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you.
With these anger management tips, one should be able to put his/her anger in check, because anger itself can cause a lot of damaged if not properly managed.
Ask for help when you need to, seek counsel from professionals and keep you head clear regularly.