Below are some tips that may help you manage your anger:
Be Anger Aware. It is important that you learn to identify where and when you feel angry. Write it down. Is there a pattern? Do you have consistent “triggers.” Can you begin to identify why you are so angry? Is anger masking other feelings such as embarrassment, hurt, or shame? Talk to someone you trust or a counsellor / psychotherapist about situations that make you angry. If you don’t know why you are getting angry, it’s very hard to learn to control your anger. Many people come to counselling for anger management. When looking at anger we look at our own internal fears and frustrations. Worry, stress, fear and that feeling of being out of control can lead to strong feelings of anger. Anger, in itself, is an expression of how we feel and is by no means negative. It becomes negative when we direct that anger in the wrong way towards others. It’s okay to feel angry and we can have much to be angry about. However, expressing that anger positively is part of what we work with in the counselling process.
Learn to Relax. Notice what anger feels like: do you get a knot in your stomach, a headache, tense shoulders? Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery can help counteract some of the physical symptoms of anger. However, you need to practice these techniques when you are not feeling upset. It is important to become “good at relaxation” before you can draw upon these techniques in the heat of the moment.
Change your Thinking. When you start getting upset about something, take a moment to think. Ask yourself, “Is getting upset going to fix anything?” Or, “Is this worth ruining my day over?” If you can recognize when you’re not thinking logically about a situation, you can replace these thoughts with more rational ones.
Problem Solve. Sometimes our anger and frustration are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives. In these cases, use anger diagnostically. Ask yourself “What is so wrong in my life that I feel furious, and what do I need to do to change the situation?” By focusing on problem solving during frustrating situations you can use anger constructively as motivation for positive change. However, it is important to recognise situations you can’t control or change. In those situations you may need to work on changing your perspective on the situation.
Communicate Effectively. The key to effective communication is good listening. Try listening to what is behind the anger or source of frustration. For example: Is your partner criticising you for coming home late from a stressful day at work? Instead of responding defensively, try to understand the underlying message or hurt. Maybe your partner is feeling neglected or unloved. By keeping your cool you can prevent the situation from escalating. Also, learn to communicate respectfully. Be careful of words like “never” or “always”. When we are angry we tend to jump to conclusions, often the wrong one. Slow down and think through your response. Is what you are about to say constructive?
See the Humour in Life. Anger is a serious emotion. However, with proper insight the frustrations of life can sometimes make you laugh. When used to address a frustrating situation or defuse your rage, humour can help you achieve a more balanced perspective. However, humour should not be used to mask anger, or become overly sarcastic, because then it becomes another unhealthy expression of anger.
Take a Break. If your anger seems to be building, remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes and do something else – take a brisk walk, listen to some music, or try your relaxation techniques. Your chances of resolving the situation in a productive manner greatly increase when you can approach it with a cooler head.
Modify your Environment. While you can’t control everything that happens in life, you can take steps to avoid unnecessary aggravation. Look at your daily routine and identify activities, times of day, people, places, or situations that are a source of frustration and anger. Then make some changes. Find an alternate route to work; shut the door to your daughter’s messy room; set up a time when you’re not too tired and hungry to talk about important matters with your wife; and most of all, make sure you have some “personal time” scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful.
Find Help with Anger Management
If you or someone you know struggles with Anger issues, it is important to know there is help available. Many people come to counselling for anger management. When looking at anger we look at our own internal fears and frustrations. Worry, stress, fear and that feeling of being out of control can lead to strong feelings of anger. Anger, in itself, is an expression of how we feel and is by no means negative. It becomes negative when we direct that anger in the wrong way towards others. It’s okay to feel angry and we can have much to be angry about. However, expressing that anger positively is part of what we work with in the counselling process.