5 Tips to Help Keep Your Anger Under Control
We all feel particularly frustrated and annoyed from time to time. Anger is a normal human emotion and one which we can expect to experience on the odd occasion. In some instances, feeling angry is an instinctive response and it can be both healthy and functional. This type of anger can assist us to become aware of danger in our surroundings (e.g. when we and/or a person we love is at risk of getting hurt, such as a young child).
Anger that is unable to be controlled can wreak havoc not only upon the angry individual’s emotional, physical and mental health, but uncontrolled anger can also negatively impact the lives of those around them. Angry outbursts that are without a purpose and are dysfunctional can leave an angry person and their loved ones feeling confused, distressed and exhausted. Where a person suffers from regular angry outbursts, their anger is often disproportionate to the issue at hand, lasts for some time and can significantly affect a person’s interpersonal relationships as well as their career, if left unchecked.
If you are concerned your anger (or that of someone you love) is beyond what is considered normal, you may wish to read our article ‘How To Tell If Your Anger Is Normal: Signs You Are Having Trouble Managing Your Anger’. (This particular article also covers the physical and emotional symptoms of anger).
Let’s take a look together now at some general tips that may assist you to keep your anger under control when you feel your anger building, from identifying your triggers and any symptoms you experience as a result of feeling angry, to taking care of your physical, mental and emotional health.
Tips That May Help You to Manage Your Anger
Identify your anger triggers and physical and/or emotional anger symptoms
Work on becoming aware of the physical and emotional symptoms of anger that you experience when you feel yourself becoming angry. For example, perhaps you clench your jaw, your palms start sweating, your heartrate increases, or you feel flushed in the face. (For more information on the physical and emotional symptoms of anger, please read our article ‘How To Tell If Your Anger Is Normal: Signs You Are Having Trouble Managing Your Anger’).
It can help to keep a notepad or diary handy whereby you make some brief notes each time you feel the onset of anger as to (i) what specifically triggered your anger, and (ii) your symptoms (i.e. warning signs). By identifying what triggers your anger and how your body and mind respond, you may give yourself the opportunity to deal with your anger, and save it from spiralling into an angry outburst.
Take a moment to process your thoughts before you speak and focus your energy on solutions to the problem, rather than the problem itself
Feeling very angry when it is perhaps unnecessary to do so can leave us saying (and in some cases, doing) things we regret. Take a moment or two to gather your thoughts when you feel anger building inside of you and consider briefly the advantages and disadvantages of getting angry in response to the situation at hand. You may find that getting angry is not always to your advantage and not always necessary. It can be largely beneficial to focus your energy into coming up with solutions to the problem at hand, rather than reacting angrily to the problem itself.
Express your thoughts assertively and use “I” statements
Once you have taken a few moments to decide what you wish to say, express your opinion or frustration with assertion and remain as objective as possible. It is possible to express your concerns and requirements to another person/people, without the need to intimidate them, personally offend them or get them largely offside. Approach your response without the need for confrontation as best you can.
It is not uncommon for a person who has trouble managing their anger to criticise, belittle and blame others, rather than taking personal responsibility for their own thoughts and actions. When you feel angry, do your best to use “I” statements rather than “you” statements. For example: “I was concerned for your safety when I did not hear from you this morning”, rather than “It is selfish of you to arrive at work one hour late without telling me”.
Try your best to empathise with the other person’s situation. Empathy can help us to recognise that the intentions of others in the majority of cases, are not to cause us personal hurt or harm, which can save us from feeling very angry (and exhausted or resentful as a result). Where a person has upset you, whether intentionally or not, forgiving them can also help you to relieve yourself of the need to feel angry long after a situation has concluded.
Practice deep breathing or engage in a relaxing activity when you feel your temper rising
When you feel your anger brewing inside of you, save it evolving into an angry outburst and instead practice some deep breathing or do something you find relaxing. Here is a simple deep breathing exercise you might wish to try next time you begin feeling angry: sit or stand comfortably and take a deep breath in for four seconds, gently hold, and then breathe out for four seconds. Repeat this sequence as necessary until you are able to restore a feeling of calm inside (as best you can).
Other relaxing activities you may wish to occupy yourself with in order to relax and restore a calm frame of mind once more include mindfulness meditation, reading, drawing, listening to music, gentle stretching or taking a stroll (e.g. outdoors or around the office building). Try to pinpoint some activities you can practice anywhere, anytime, so when you begin to feel an angry outburst coming on, you can engage in a relaxing activity no matter where you are or what you are doing and work to reduce feelings of anger.
Look after your physical, mental and emotional health
Taking part in regular exercise that you enjoy is vital not only for strong physical health, but also good mental and emotional health. Exercise is also a fabulous, natural way for releasing stress and results in the release of endorphins, which can help to lift our mood and our outlook.
However, exercise alone is not enough – social support and adequate relaxation time are also important. Social support from the people around us can help us to discuss our feelings when we are frustrated or annoyed and can save us from pent-up anger and exploding in future. Anger can be distressing and isolating, and it is very important to speak up when you feel you are struggling. This includes speaking to your loved ones as well as seeking professional help.
Scheduling in relaxation time for yourself each day (such as reading, watching your favourite TV show or practising yoga) is also very important for helping us to unwind and feel calm on a more regular basis.
Did you know that in some cases, anger is a symptom of a mental health illness, such as anxiety or depression? And in other instances, anger may be the underlying cause of a mental health illness. If you are concerned you are struggling with anxiety or depression (or other mental health illness) in addition to anger, it is crucial you seek professional help, so you can get back to leading a happy and healthy life as soon as possible.
Being able to identify you are struggling to manage and control your anger when you feel very frustrated or annoyed can be difficult. A good place to begin is to learn the signs which may indicate your anger is an issue (please see our article How To Tell If Your Anger Is Normal: Signs You Are Having Trouble Managing Your Anger).
By applying the tips discussed in this article, you may be able to get a better handle on your anger and save it from growing out of control, and as a result, negatively impacting your health, relationships with others and your career. When left untreated, an anger problem can have devastating consequences, particular when anger is channelled into aggressive behaviour.
At Brain Wellness Spa, our team of friendly QNR (Quantum Neuro Recoding) Facilitators are trained in the effective treatment of anger. If you are finding it challenging to control your anger, get in touch with our friendly team today and book your first session to help you feel calmer once more.