Like happiness and sadness, anger is also an emotion, and you all feel it from time to time. In frustrating or threatening experiences, anger is a common response. It can also be seen as a secondary response to some other feelings like sadness, loneliness, or fear. In some cases, the reason or source of anger is hard to define, or you can simply say the emotion seems to arise from nowhere. Sometimes it seems perfectly normal to feel angry about the situation or people when you’ve been wronged or mistreated, but it is not necessary for every situation you feel bad about. That’s where anger management comes to play.
Anger can become a problem if you express it in an unhealthy way. Like there is a chance of harming yourself or others or when you are not in your control. Many times anger can turn out to be destructive leading to problems like
- saying things which you will regret later,
- yelling at your kids, partner, parents, and or
- merely arguing with people on road for silly reasons or no reason at all,
- threatening your co-workers,
- sending rash emails,
- developing health problems,
- abusing or even resorting to physical violence or fight.
When I talk about managing your anger it doesn’t mean that you can never get angry. Instead, it means
- learning to recognize the triggers or source,
- how to cope up with, and
- a healthy and productive way to express your anger.
As you know anger is an emotion and it can range from feeling mild irritation to intense rage. While many people categorize anger as a solely “negative emotion,” it can be positive also. Anger may help you to take a stand for yourself or others or may lead you to create social change which is necessary.
But when left unchecked, angry feelings can lead to aggressive behavior, like yelling at someone or damaging property. Angry feelings also may cause you to disconnect from the world and left alone by turning your anger inward, which can impact your physical health as well as mental health.
According to various researches, it is shown that cognitive-behavioral interventions are effective for anger management. These interventions will let you understand your thought patterns and how to change the way you think and behave. Psychology says your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected.
Your emotions can be fueled by your thoughts and behaviors or they can calm your emotions. So, it is better to change what you’re thinking and what you’re doing, if you want to shift your emotional state away from anger. After understanding your triggers well and without fueling your thoughts, the fire inside you will begin to diminish and you’ll feel calmer.
Identify your Triggers:
Do you have a habit of losing your temper, or are you aware of the triggers that inflict your anger? Long ques, traffic jams, bullying, snarky comments, or restlessness or tiredness are just a few things that might shorten your fuse?
While many times you blame other people or external circumstances for your inability to keep cool, whereas understanding the things that trigger you or your anger can help you plan accordingly.
In times of stress, you might think it is better to restructure your day that will help you manage your stress. Or, you might learn some anger management techniques in case if you encounter people or circumstances that you usually find distressing. Practicing these things can help you to feel calm or lengthen your fuse—meaning that a single frustrating episode won’t set you off.
Recognize Red Flags:
If you feel like your anger hits you in an instant. Just like a sudden rage, from calmness to frustration in mini seconds. But there are still likely warning signs to observe when your anger is on the rise. Recognizing those signs as early as possible can help you take action to prevent your anger from getting burst out.
You can observe physical warning signs of anger that you experience like your heart beats getting faster or your face feels hot. Or, maybe you find yourself clenching your fists. There might be possible noticeable cognitive changes. Maybe your mind races or you begin “seeing red.”
By recognizing these red flags, you get the opportunity to take immediate action and prevent yourself from doing or saying things that can harm you or others or create bigger problems. Learn to observe and pay attention to your feelings and you’ll get better at recognizing the red flags.
Manage Your Thoughts:
Angry thoughts add fuel to your anger. Thinking things like, “I can’t stand it. Today this traffic jam is going to ruin my day,” will increase your frustration. When you see yourself thinking about things that can add to your anger, try to reframe your thoughts.
Instead, you can say it in another way like, “There are millions of cars on the road every day, and sometimes, there can be traffic jams.” Focusing on the facts—without distorted exaggerations—can help you stay calmer in these situations.
You can also use positive affirmations and thoughts in place of negative ones. Saying, “I am calm, I’m OK” or “I Will take it easy,” saying this to yourself a few times can help you control your anger.
There are many different relaxation exercises you can focus on in order to reduce anger. The key is to find the one technique that can work best for you. Breathing exercises like Pranayam and progressive muscle relaxation Like Jacob relaxation techniques are two common strategies for reducing tension.
The good thing is, both exercises can be performed quickly and discreetly. So you can let go of stress quickly and immediately whether you’re frustrated at work or you’re angry at a dinner engagement.
It’s important to note, however, that relaxation exercises get better with practice. At first, you might not feel their effectiveness, or you might have questions regarding results for you. But with practice, they can become your instant techniques/strategies for anger management.
Explore Your Feelings
Create a “Calm Down” Kit:
If you tend to come home from work stressed and take out your anger on your family, or you know that workplace meetings cause you a lot of frustration, creating a calm down kit can help you to relax.
Engaging all your senses by thinking about different objects that you can look, see, smell, hear, and touch can help you to shift your anger and you can change your emotional state. So your calm down kit might include a picture of your favorite person or a beautiful landscape, scented hankey or hand lotion, a spiritual passage or message from your loved ones you can read aloud, and a few pieces of your favorite candy. Include things that you like and will help you remain calm.
In case physical objects are not possible you can also create a virtual calm down kit that you can take everywhere with you. These are things that you can call upon when needed and are more portable. For instance, soothing music and calming images, guided meditation audio, or instructions for breathing exercises could be stored in a special folder on your smartphone.
Getting Help – Talk to a Therapist:
If anger has been causing problems in your life and you’re struggling to tame your temper on your own, you might want to seek professional help. Some mental health issues also result in anger issues.
For example, PTSD has been linked to aggressive outbursts. In depression, people sometimes feel irritability and may find it more difficult to manage anger. It’s important to uncover any mental health issues if present that could trouble your ability to manage anger.
You can talk to a physician about your mood and your behavior. Your physician will evaluate if there are any physical health issues that are contributing to your problem.
If there are other factors like psychological, your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional, a psychologist, or counselor for further evaluation. Depending on your goals and treatment needs, therapy may involve individual sessions with psychologists as well as anger management classes with other candidates.
Talktoangel is an online mental health counseling platform. It provides counseling and therapy for anger management as well as various mental health issues. They are having a 20% discount on all session bookings currently.
Anger management is a skill that everyone can and should learn. Even if you are under the notion that you have your anger under control, there’s always room for improvement.