The Complete Anger Management Guide
By Kate Skurat
Anger issues can interfere with your daily life. However, the good news is that you can easily manage your anger effectively and live a happy, fulfilling life with yourself and others.
This article explores the concept of anger in-depth to help you keep your life in order. You’ll learn what anger is, how people express it, and why you need to keep it in check. Importantly, you’ll discover some effective strategies for managing anger and how online therapy can help.
Let’s get started!
What Is Anger?
Anger is a healthy emotion, an antagonistic response toward a person or a thing you feel has deliberately done something wrong. It varies in intensity from a subtle irritation to full-blown rage and manifests both physiologically and biologically.
When you are angry, your blood pressure and heart rate increase. The same is with the levels of energy hormones — noradrenaline and adrenaline.
What Causes Anger?
Both internal and external factors can make you angry. For example, a person or event might anger you just as your personal matters can. Memories and flashbacks are also some internal factors that can push you to anger.
While anger is a frowned-upon feeling, it can be a good thing. It allows you to express your negative feelings besides motivating you to solve your underlying problems.
All the same, remember that anger, especially when excessive, can harm your physical and mental well-being.
How Do We Deal with Anger?
Aggression is our natural and spontaneous way of expressing anger. It is our basic reaction to perceived threats. It triggers actions that help combat things that attack us.
However, don’t allow your anger to control you.
As human beings, we use different processes both consciously and unconsciously to manage our anger. However, the 3 main ways many people deal with their anger are:
● Expressing: you show your anger to something or someone. Doing it in an assertive rather than aggressive way is healthy for you.
● Suppressing: you keep your anger on the inside, ignore it, and think of positive things. The idea here is to quell your anger. Emotional suppression is good only in short term
● Calming: it goes beyond simply managing your outward behavior and entails taking charge of your internal reactions. In this case, you take active steps to reduce your heart rate and negative feelings.
Why Do Some People Get Angrier Than Others?
There is no doubt that some people tend to get angry more quickly than others. Here are some reasons behind this:
● Genetic predisposition: studies have shown that some kids are born touchy, irritable, and more quick to anger.
● Sociocultural issues: society generally frowns upon anger. So it is hard for many of us to learn how to express and manage it healthily. As such, some of us tend to suppress it instead of processing and dealing.
● Family background: Most of the time, people who are quick to anger come from dysfunctional families and had issues growing up.
Why Should We Manage Anger?
It’s important to manage your anxiety and anger since they can often lead to aggressive behavior. For example, shouting at people and destroying things. Moreover, unchecked anger can lead to mental and physical health issues.
What Strategies Can Help Keep Anger at Bay?
Want to learn how to deal with anger? There are several practical steps you can take to manage your anger.
Various relaxation techniques can help you manage your anger well. There is a ton of information on such strategies online and in books, but these are some of the most common:
● Breathing exercises
● Guided imagery
● Meditation or yoga
Change Your Thought Process
In the moment of anger, your thoughts are usually exaggerated and irrational. So, you’ll tend to have little to no control over what you say or do in the heat of the moment. You may find yourself cursing, throwing tantrums, and even harming others.
One of the best anger management techniques is cognitive restructuring. Simply put, this technique is about changing self-confidence how you think.
When you feel yourself becoming angry, you try to substitute your thoughts with rational and positive ones.
Say, someone breaks something important to you accidentally. Instead of thinking, “What have they done?! Now they’ve destroyed everything!”, you can replace that with “Well, what’s happened is upsetting. I feel angry. However, it’s accidental and getting angry about it on a person won’t fix it or make me feel better.”
Be careful of words or phrases that could alienate others or destroy your. Things like “you will never be good at this” or “you’re always destroying things” are detrimental and should be avoided.
Remember, the more you work on your thought patterns, the better you’ll be at managing your anger.
Resolve the Underlying Problems, But Don’t Punish Yourself
In most cases, anger is a result of some problems or issues going on in your life. You can deal with anger by finding a solution to your problem.
However, some problems may not have solutions, and others may not go away right away. So, cut yourself some slack. Instead of expecting everything to resolve instantly, sit down and make a plan on how you’re going to deal with your issues. Then, give it your best shot.
Be Slow to Respond When Angry
People who tend to get angry a lot speak or act quickly and often based on incorrect assumptions. So, part of anger management is learning to take things slow.
Whenever you find yourself in a heated exchange, take a mental step back to think about what you want to say.
● Is it appropriate for the moment?
● Will I regret what I said later?
● What are they really trying to tell me?
Use this time to also listen to what the other person is saying to determine whether anger is the best response.
Counter Rage with Humour
Sometimes, a laugh or joke can actually help diffuse your anger. Humor can help you see things from a much more balanced standpoint.
Most importantly, it can take some of the rage off so that you respond more calmly. However, don’t use humor to escape your problems as that will, in the end, be self-destructive.
Change Your Physical Setting
Sometimes, just being in a particular place can cause or add to your anger and frustrations. So, just stepping out of your day-to-day environment, even for a short time, can help calm you down.
Include “me time” in your daily routine where you do things that you like or that help you relax. Such activities could be:
● Taking a stroll in the park
● Listen to music or watching your favorite sitcom
● Trying out new recipes
● Yoga, meditation, or deep breathing, etc.
If You’re Angry, Express it in a Healthy Way
Anger is a healthy emotion. It’s okay to express it. However, how you do it matters.
Here are some tips to help you when expressing your anger:
● Concentrate on the current problem and don’t bring up the past
● Take care of yourself
● Be fair: state your issues without disrespecting the other person
● Don’t focus on winning at the expense of the relationship
● Step back a little if things start to get out of hand
● Be open to forgiveness
● Be willing to move on if the confrontation doesn’t seem to have an end
Struggling with Anger? Anger Management Therapy Can Help
Anger can affect your career, relationship, health, and even overall well-being. If you feel that anger is negatively affecting your life, you should get help dealing with it and learning how to manage it.
A counselor can help you unravel underlying issues and guide you on how to control anger. If you’re looking for a therapist you can talk to at any time or place, the Calmerry online therapy platform can help.
Kate has a B.S. in Psychology and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and has been working in healthcare since 2017. She mainly treated depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, grief, identity, relationship, and adjustment issues. Her clinical experience is focused on individual and group counseling.
Follow Kate here: linkedin.com/in/kate-skurat