Do you have trouble keeping your anger in check whenever something goes wrong? Do even minor inconveniences make your blood pressure rise and cause you to lash out on whoever is next to you? If so, you might be the unfortunate possessor of a bad temper and getting angry has become part of your normal routine. However, you shouldn’t let anger define who you are. While the majority of people are no strangers to anger, sometimes this behaviour can get out of control, hurting you and the ones around you.
More often than not, getting angry doesn’t lead to serious problems. You might yell a little or say some things that you don’t actually mean and that’s where things end. However, in other cases, it can be a major cause of concern. Your anger might turn you into a verbally and physically aggressive version of yourself and make you do things you’ll later regret.
This is when anger management comes into pay. No, not the movie, but the actual techniques that will help you temper your behaviour and deal with the situation in an effective manner. To put it simply, anger management isn’t about completely eliminating anger, but about recognizing it and expressing it in a healthy and positive way. And the great news is that anyone can learn to master these skills.
Why you have to manage your anger
Anger encompasses a range of emotions, from mild annoyance to uncontrollable fury. It obviously has a well-deserved negative connotation, but there is a silver lining to it as well. Anger might prompt you to stand up for what you believe, step in when the situation calls for it and put things into motion, so in a way it can be the driving force for positive change.
But you can easily lose control of the situation when you get angry and become a threat to yourself and to others. If you’re not able to manage your anger, it can lead to destructive actions and take a toll on your mental and physical health. You could turn into your own enemy and isolate yourself from the rest of the world.
When anger becomes a constant in your life and you have to deal with angry feelings and outbursts all too often and at high intensity you have a serious reason to be worried. That’s why you need to take control of your anger before it starts controlling your life. Sometimes you can handle things on your own, but if you feel that anger is getting the best of you and you can’t cope with the situation by yourself, it’s wise to seek professional counselling for anger management.
Anger management tips
The best way to cope with these emotions is to have a plan in place, so when you feel anger starts to build up, you’ll know what to do, how to express it and turn it into a productive experience. Here’s what you could do:
Identify the triggers
If angry is your default mood, you might want to get to the root cause before you start treating the symptoms. Maybe standing in line is what makes you see red in front of your eyes. Maybe you lose it when you’re stuck in a traffic jam or maybe listening to your co-workers’ chatter and gossip simply drives you mad. You should learn what triggers your anger not so you could know whom to blame, but so you can prepare. If you are aware you’ll encounter a situation that causes you distress, chances are you’ll be able to manage it better and refrain from making a tragedy out of it.
Decide if your anger is useful or useless
Your anger can actually be useful to yourself or to others. If it’s caused by witnessing injustice or wrongdoing and it motivates you to stand out for someone, your anger could actually help you change the situation for the better, so you should express it accordingly. On the other hand, if it makes you feel miserable and doesn’t bring anything positive, you should try to control it.
Know the tell-tale signs
Even if anger seems to come from nowhere and takes you by surprise, there are always warning signs that announce it. You just have to pay close attention to them so you don’t feel completely powerless. If you know the tell-tale signs, you’ll get better at avoiding fits of anger. There are many physical indicators such as a fast heartbeat, sweating, feeling hot or breathless, clenching your fists or grinding your teeth etc. When you spot them, you have the chance to take preventive measures and steer clear from unpleasant reactions.
Take a step back
As annoying as it may sound, just breathe is still a valid method to keep anger at bay. When you find yourself in an argument or in a situation that makes you lose your temper, the best thing you could do is step back and take a break. Stepping away from the source of your distress will give you enough space to breathe and time to regain composure.
Talk to someone
Sometimes all you need is a reliable friend that is willing to hear your woes without any judgment. If you’re lucky enough to have someone in your life that you trust and has the ability to calm you down, don’t hesitate to talk to him about your problems. Expressing your emotions can help you lighten the burden and can bring you some peace of mind. Be careful though not to turn talking into a constant venting habit that could add more fuel to your anger.
Change your perspective
Trying to see things from a different perspective is another way to address anger issues. It might not come naturally, but take it as a self-development exercise. There’s more than one way to look at things and they say that if you can change your perspective, you can change your entire life. Although a less dramatic transformation such as getting your anger under control will do.